Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Still Life in textures

Check out this Still Life quilt I made for a friend for Christmas. I love doing this stuff!

The pears are made up of different shades of green and pinkish fabrics and then stitched all over to blend the fabrics together. I added a reflection as if they are sitting on a glass table top. It turned out better than I thought and am very pleased with the results. Now all I want to do is make still life quilts!

Actually this is the type of work created in my new quilt art class so if you're interested, sign up. It starts January 17th. You can register buy clicking the button on the right or check out the Academy of Quilting. Come join me, its so much fun.

Website: Arbee Designs
Quilt School: Academy of Quilting
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Sunday, 28 December 2008

Applique and Quilting - my story

As an established quilter and designer, I often like to read about how others get started in the quilting world, where they began and why they are so passionate about quilting. Many times I am asked this same question - “how did I get started in applique and quilting?” – so I decided to write a post on my blog to share that information with my quilt friends around the world.

When did I first start Quilting? It began way back in 1982 when my mother-in-law wanted to learn to applique so she signed us both up for an applique quilt class. As a young dressmaker I had always worked with fabric, but never thought about making a quilt. This turned out to be a lot of fun and as you can see, I’m still doing it after all these years, but things have changed dramatically from that day and age.

When we went to the workshop we were told to think of a Nursery Rhyme, this being the theme of the quilt we would make. I chose “Little Bo Peep”, not sure why, perhaps it was because I was brought up on a sheep farm as a child or maybe I just liked the idea that a fence would look good in the foreground and was easy to make.

We equipped ourselves with cutting tools (scissors, no rotary cutter in quilting days back then) and fabrics, which included stretch knits, tulle, fleecy fabrics, felt and poly-cottons. Now I know you are laughing because we all know you just do not use these types of fabrics in quilting. In fact, as it was known, I didn’t have one piece of cotton fabric with me that day unless it happened to be a scrap from a skirt or dress I’d made previously.

During the workshop, we built up a small quilt, crib size. I had bright green poly-cotton grassy hills with a brown wooden fence in the foreground. On the hill behind the fence were some decent looking sheep made from wooly fleece fabric and dangly felt legs hanging below. I cannot quite remember if Little Bo Peep was present or not. All the applique shapes were zigzag stitched around, a sort of satin stitch but the zigzag wasn’t closed up enough to call it satin stitch, but it did attach the shapes to the background. There was no fusible webbing back then either. We stabilized all the shapes with iron-on interfacing. The pieces moved all over the place as we stitched (especially those stretch fabric shapes) and we worked around lots of pins, and I mean lots. Today, I use very few pins as I work, I could tell you why but I’ll leave that to your imagination.

That’s about all I can remember of my experience in the first applique class except that I truly did love my little quilt and was so proud of my effort. My daughters did too. Not only did they use it on their cribs (thanks to their mother) but played ‘house’ with it for many years later. Unfortunately, we no longer have this quilt. It was lost along the way somewhere in the many house moves we did. Neither do I have a photo, just a memory still stuck in my mind (of what I consider the most ugliest quilt in the world) that I can only share with words and a good laugh at the thought of how different the quilting world is today.

About the Author: Ruth Blanchet. To read more about Ruth’s progress in the quilting world, be sure to visit her website at
or join her at the Academy of quilting for some fun experiences in quilting and applique.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Double Sided Place mats

Christmas is right upon us and I know there is always those last minute things that need to be done. I wanted to share with you, one of my last minute creations. I'd invited friends for dinner on Saturday but had no time to replace the old used table mats so set about making some quickly early Saturday afternoon while giving instructions to my son on how to prepare the pork roast dinner as I sewed.

Of course, I don't do anything by half. All that trouble for a few days of Christmas wasn't for me so I made double sided place mats, Christmas on one side and every day use on the other. Now that's the way to go! You can really do anything and use them for various occasions. They are quick and easy. I had them made in no time at all with the exception of running out of binding fabric and needing to purchase more. No hand stitching on these and my binding technique looks great on both side. No doubt I'll put a pattern out soon!

The first photo is the Christmas side, the second is on the reverse side and the last is the four place mats on the table which is about to be set for dinner.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Bargello Quilting

I just had to share with you this award winning quilt made by one of my students in my Bargello Seasons online class. This quilt is the first project of four in the class, each Bargello increasing in difficulty as you work through the course. Jan won first price for her Spring Bargello at the State Fair in Western NC. Attached to the photo were her comments "Thanks again for a great class. Everyone who sees the quilts are blown away by the bargello style." Well done Jan!

This class is now open for registration. It begins 24th January. To find out more, please visit my website: More about Bargello Seasons...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Photo quilt

Not many posts in the past couple of months, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. In fact, I made this little quilt for a friend for his birthday. Photos include his daughter with their first grandson. It was fun to make so I wanted to share it with you.

But there's more, I enjoyed the process so much that I decided I would write an e-book on photo printing. It is now on the market and it includes the layout for this quilt with full instructions. You can find it here: How to Print Your Own Photos on Fabric

I hope you'll find it useful!