Black and White Quilt Design

This is an idea I have for a quilt design. I had been looking through some of my old sketchbooks and came across some of my old paintings of botanicals and patterns. I thought the patterns would be great on fabric, and that the fabric would be great for making a quilt. As a occasional quilter, that’s just how I think… pattern leads to fabric, fabric leads to quilt design, and quilt design (sometimes) leads to quilt!

vicky_katzman_quilt_design

Blockprint Quilt - Finished!

Here are pics of a quilt I recently finished and gave to my mom for her birthday. She loved it!

It's made of my old skinny jeans and squares of my hand-carved / hand-stamped fabric, so there's ALOT of love baked in... 

Read more about how I made it here.

From Block Print to Baby Quilt

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I recently made a baby quilt out of one of my block print illustrations. It's neat to think about all the stages involved in making something like this. I list them here so you can get a peek behind the process...

 1. It begins with an idea... 

2. ...which I then sketch out on tracing paper.

3. After refining the sketch to a point where I'm satisfied with every detail,

4. I transfer the final drawing onto a block of wood.

5. At this point, I carve the image.

6. Once the carving is complete, I ink the surface of the block... 

7. ...and print it onto paper.

8. When the ink on the paper is dry, I scan the block print image into my computer,

9. make refinements in Photoshop,

10. and save it as a JPEG file.

11. Over at my Spoonflower shop, I upload the JPEG,

12. select the amount and type of fabric I want the file to be printed on,

13. and purchase it.  

14. A short time later the fabric is shipped and arrives on my doorstep,

15. at which point I lay it over batting, which I lay over the backing cloth.

16. I pin the three layers together,

17. free motion quilt it on my sewing machine,

18. and bind the edges.

Done!

Below, my favorite thing about printmaking:

 I love...

I love...

 the anticipation...

the anticipation...

 of pulling...

of pulling...

 
 a print!

a print!

 This one has been scanned, opened in Photoshop, and colored blue.

This one has been scanned, opened in Photoshop, and colored blue.

 As an alternate, magenta.

As an alternate, magenta.

 

I go with the blue for my quilt top and have the image digitally printed onto KONA cotton at Spoonflower.

See the quilt making process in this blog post tutorial.

See finished quilt below!

 

"In the Beginning" Baby Quilt Tutorial

If you are reading this, you may be considering making this quilt. Of course, most quilt designs can be made from an existing stash of fabric, so before you go any further, I just want to give you a heads up that the making of this quilt requires a purchase at my Spoonflower shop (see below).

If you're up for that, read on! If not, please check back at some point in the future - because I have some designs brewing in my sketchbook that won't require a Spoonflower purchase...

This tutorial explains how to make the quilt pictured on the right, but it doesn't teach how to quilt. If you've quilted before, this will be no problem for you. If you've never quilted, check out the amazing tutorials you can find on YouTube, or better yet, take a class at your local quilt shop or community school (and then come back here!) Finished size of quilt is approximately 28"x38". 

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SUPPLY LIST

"In the Beginning" whole cloth quilt top

1 yard of turquoise 100% cotton fabric (I used KONA - turquoise)

1 yard of batting (I used Warm & Natural)

quilters ruler

rotary cutter

self healing mat

basic sewing supplies


 
 

STEP 1

The first thing you'll need to do is purchase the "In the Beginning" quilt top fabric which is available in my Spoonflower shop. You can do that here.

When making your selections from the pop-up menus in the shop (see screenshot below), make sure you select as below:

1. Choose Fabric: Kona Cotton Ultra ($19.00/yd)

2. Choose Amount: 1 (quantity), Yard (42" width)

When the fabric arrives from Spoonflower, machine wash, dry, and iron it.

 

 
 

STEP 2

Cut a piece of batting several inches larger than the fabric on all sides and smooth it out flat on the floor or a table top.

Take the fabric outside and spray the back with quilt basting spray.

Bring the fabric inside, center over batting, and place directly on top of batting.

Starting from the center of the fabric and working your way out towards the edges, use a circular motion to smooth the fabric out over the batting. The two layers will adhere.

Flip so that the image is facing down, and from the center

 

 
 

STEP 3

Using a quilter's ruler, rotary cutter and a self-healing mat, trim the edges of the fabric and batting. Leave a 1/4" white border around the entire perimeter.

Turn trimmed piece over (so that the image is facing down) and place on a large flat surface. Pat down (rather than smooth out) any areas that aren't lying flat. Spray with basting spray.

Lay backing fabric (wrong side up) on a large flat surface. Center quilt top with batting (image side up) over the backing fabric and place directly on top.

Flip entire sandwich so that image is facing down. Starting from the center of the backing fabric and working out towards the edges, use a circular motion to smooth the fabric out over the batting.

 

 

 
 

STEP 4

Trim the edges of the backing fabric. Leave a 1" border around the entire perimeter.

 

STEP 5

At this point you can quilt the three layers together by hand or machine. I did some light free motion quilting and just followed along the lines of the illustration, but you can do anything your heart desires!


STEP 6

To bind the quilt, follow the steps below...

 A. Fold backing border in half so that the raw edge aligns with the edge of the quilt top. Then fold border up and over the quilt top to cover the white border. Pin in place approximately every 2".

A. Fold backing border in half so that the raw edge aligns with the edge of the quilt top. Then fold border up and over the quilt top to cover the white border. Pin in place approximately every 2".

 B. When you get to a corner, fold corner fabric on a diagonal so that the bottom edge of the triangle that's formed sits parallel to the edge of the quilt top as shown.

B. When you get to a corner, fold corner fabric on a diagonal so that the bottom edge of the triangle that's formed sits parallel to the edge of the quilt top as shown.

 C. Hold the corner fold in place while you fold the backing border in half as (as shown in photo above) Then fold up and over the quilt top so that the inside border edges meet.

C. Hold the corner fold in place while you fold the backing border in half as (as shown in photo above) Then fold up and over the quilt top so that the inside border edges meet.

 D. The fold should lie on a diagonal and the corner should come to a neat point. You may have to play around with steps B and C to make this work just right!

D. The fold should lie on a diagonal and the corner should come to a neat point. You may have to play around with steps B and C to make this work just right!


STEP 7

Hand sew along the edge of the binding using a slip stitch to secure it to the quilt top.


I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and that is was helpful for you!

Quilting by Hand

I've been making quilts (sporadically) over the past 15 years, and had never attempted hand quilting until I'd completed piecing the top for this black and white. Stitching an entire quilt by hand had always seemed too time consuming, but somehow, this one seemed to cry out for the human touch. I'd already deprived it of curves and color, so I thought I owed it at least this much.

Turns out I LOVE the process, even more so than machine quilting. I found myself looking forward to working on it all day, a reward for completing all of my menial labor. Normally, at this time of night, I'd hold my computer on my lap and catch up on e-mails (which I now realize is a task better suited to my crisp, morning brain). At the end of a long day, I now find, nothing beats relaxing on the couch with a needle in my hand, and a quilt in my lap.

Quilting with the Girl Scouts

My daughter is a Girl Scout. She and her troop are so lucky to have two amazing women who volunteer to lead their troop. It's a major time commitment to be a troop leader, which is why I've never done it, but every year what I do do is volunteer my time to do an art based project with the girls. Last year it was nature journaling. This year - quilting! 

Time was limited to an hour and a half for our first meeting, an hour for our second meeting, and five minutes for our third and final meeting.

In the first meeting I planned to teach them to how to hand sew a four square block, in the second how to hand tie the quilt and make the quilt label, and in the last, a final viewing and photo before donating it to the local hospital. In between the meetings, I worked on the quilt at home to have it ready for the next. 

Here's how I prepared for our meeting #1:

First I cut four square pieces of fabric for each girl. I selected a range of fabrics from my stash, limiting the color range to that within my "yellow through red" drawer in order to have somewhat of a cohesive look.

In order to have some movement throughout the quilt, I chose both lights and darks. (If they were all light or all dark, it would have flattened the design which was not what I was going for).

Then, I cut each fabric into strips (I believe they were 4" wide) using a rotary cutter, and each strip into squares.

Since I'd be teaching them to sew by hand, I drew 1/4" seam allowance around the perimeter of each fabric square using a white chalk pencil (which doesn't seem to show up in photo above). This way they'd have a guide for sewing a straight line.

I then selected two light and two dark pieces of fabric and pinned them together using four pins and one needle. This saved time in having to distribute the pins and needles to each girl during our meeting.

I forgot to get picture of our sewing session, probably because I was very busy! Even with the help of both troop leaders, teaching 16 girls (9-10 years of age) how to sew was a great challenge.

 The difference in sewing skills amongst the girls in the troop made teaching them a challenge.  But these same differences are what gave the quilt it's uniqueness.

The difference in sewing skills amongst the girls in the troop made teaching them a challenge.  But these same differences are what gave the quilt it's uniqueness.

There were different skill levels across the group; a small portion of the girls had had sewing lessons in the past and knew the basics (how to thread a needle and how to align and pin right sides together). Most of the girls hadn't sewn before, but seemed like they'd had lots of experience with crafting in general, and were able to catch on quickly. For the remaining few, this seemed to be one of their first experiences making something with their hands. For their sake, I wish we'd had a smaller ratio of adults to children. One on one would have been best for them.

Even so, the girls couldn't have been more enthusiastic about the process. They were interested, engaged, and loved the experience. Better yet, most of them were able to complete their sewing by the end of our meeting.

At home I machine sewed all the blocks together, added a bright orange Kona cotton border and backing with a layer of Warm & Natural batting in between, and pin basted it all together in preparation for our next meeting.

 Pin basting the quilt with the help of my Girl Scout.

Pin basting the quilt with the help of my Girl Scout.

 Pin basted quilt ready to be hand tied in meeting #2.

Pin basted quilt ready to be hand tied in meeting #2.

Meeting #2 went a little smoother than the first. I'd explained the steps I'd taken at home to get the quilt to it's current state, and pointed out the three layers. 

Then, the main portion of the troop went on to an (unrelated) activity while another mom and I worked one-on-one with two girls at a time teaching them to tie the quilt.

Towards the end of the meeting, we all came together to make the quilt label. I had prepared the label fabric by ironing a piece of wax paper to the backside to stiffen the surface for writing on. Also, I had drawn out guide lines with a fabric pen to keep things neat.

 The troop decided what the quilt label would say, and then each signed their names.

The troop decided what the quilt label would say, and then each signed their names.

Knowing that we'd be donating it to our local hospital where it would be given to a sick child, they came up with the wording you see above. I wrote their message onto the fabric using a permanent pen, and then they each signed their names (going a little overboard with their decorative accents!) 

At home I finished the quilt by machine quilting three lines around the perimeter of the patchwork, sewing on the binding, and attaching the label. See end results below!

 Future generation of quilters showing off their first finished piece.

Future generation of quilters showing off their first finished piece.

What to Bring to a Quilting Bee

It's been three weeks since my friend and I started a quilting group (which we now call the Glen Rock Quilting Bee, or GRQB) and I love it! We meet every week for two hours in the town library. Each of us work on our own individual projects just as we would at home, except we are together, which is much more fun! I love seeing what everybody's working on, it's sooo inspiring. It's also quite educational - some of the women who have been quilting for many years are happy to share their expertise if one of us should need it. You don't get that when you're home alone in your work space!

The only thing I don't like about this weekly meet up is the fact that I need to pack up all my supplies to take with me, and unpack them all once I get home. But until I have two of everything I need (which is unlikely to ever happen) I'll just have to deal. Waaaaa! 

One think that helps (just like every other routine in life that requires a little thought) is having a list. A list assures that I'll remember to bring everything I'll need, while leaving my mind free to day dream - or whatever. The past couple weeks I've been scribbling my list on an index card and tweaking it. I think it's pretty much complete, but I'll be adding to it if I find there's anything else I need to bring.

If you, my dear reader, would like to print it out, feel free. Just keep in mind - we all have our own sewing needs (depending on the project or working style), so you should consider it a starting point to which you can add and cross off until it works for you.


Quilting Bee Packing List

 

Start off by packing current project including any cut pieces, fabrics, pattern templates, instructions, etc.

MEASURING & MARKING

  1. fabric pencil
  2. fabric marker
  3. pencil sharpener
  4. tape measure
  5. measuring guage
  6. pins
  7. pin cushion

CUTTING

  1. cutting mat
  2. rotary cutter
  3. quilter's ruler
  4. fabric scissors

SEWING 

  1. sewing machine
  2. extension cord
  3. thread
  4. needles
  5. bees wax
  6. thimble
  7. snips
  8. seam ripper

IRONING 

  1. iron
  2. ironing pad
  3. misting bottle

MISCELLANEOUS (for the group)

  1. member list
  2. fabric and batting scraps
  3. quilting magazines or books to pass along

 

 

 

Quilted Bookmarks

My sister Liz loves to read, and often works her way through 2, 3 or even 4 novels at a time. She keeps her books stacked on her nightstand, and on one of my visits earlier this year, this stack sparked a gift idea for her - a set of bookmarks.

Never one to hesitate on starting a new project, I immediately designed three bookmarks, each meant to appeal to her modern aesthetic and love of nature. I selected just two high contrast solid colored fabrics to give big impact to these tiny creations. The nature themed icons are bonded to the fabric using fusible web. I quilted fluid lines over the appliqué in attempt to add a sense of movement to the design. They're also meant to suggest the wind, the flow of water, and the flight of a bird. 

 

 The first three quilted bookmarks I made use two contrasting colors of cotton quilting fabric.

The first three quilted bookmarks I made use two contrasting colors of cotton quilting fabric.

vicky katzman quilted bookmark
 The middle bookmark is made with wool felt and embroidery. The bookmark on the right is lower in contrast due to the addition of two shades of gray.

The middle bookmark is made with wool felt and embroidery. The bookmark on the right is lower in contrast due to the addition of two shades of gray.

What I love about this project is that it's quick. I finished the three bookmarks I initially set out to make (see above left) and then went on to experiment with contrast, color and construction techniques (see above right). 

I made a pattern and tutorial for this bookmark project which is available here as a free pdf download. If you make the bookmarks, please send a pic of your work - would love to see how they turn out!

Nature Baby Quilt

When I was pregnant with my first child, I started working on his baby blanket while he was still in utero and finished it within the same 9 months. For my second child, I patched one together after he was born and completed it before he was out of diapers. My third child, who is currently 9, just received her baby blanket this year. Luckily, once I got around to starting the project, it took very little time to complete. I had already made the design (which had been inspired by my daughter to begin with). The illustrations I make are, for the most part, structured on a grid, which lends itself perfectly to the medium of quilting. All I needed to do was get the image printed onto fabric, layer it on batting and backing, and sew. 

vicky katzman baby quilt

If you have a third child coming into your life and can't find the time to piece together a quilt top, try using a cheater quilt top (which is what this is). If you like the one pictured above, you can find it in my Spoonflower shop. I'd recommend printing it onto the Kona cotton, which is what I did. One yard contains the entire design and costs about $19. When you look at the design you'll notice that the grid of images is 4 squares high by 5 squares wide. I wanted to make more of a square shaped quilt, so I trimmed off the first row. Maybe I'll use the extra fabric for a pillow top at some point, but for now, I'm just happy that my daughter loves her new baby quilt. 

vicky katzman lap quilt

Portrait Quilt

I did a portrait quilt project with my son's class. It will hang in the auditorium with the past years' wall hangings. Each child, 50 in all, used fabric markers to draw on the piece of 8"x8" white cotton fabric that I gave them. They came up with the descriptive words that border the portraits and I wrote them with the fabric markers and then colored in the background black. Sewing the squares together and ironing down the seams took many hours longer than I had predicted. I used basting spray and then safety pins to hold the three layers together while I quilted up and down the seams. I saved a bunch of time by buying the binding at Joannes. Lastly I sewed on the loops to hold the dowels at the top and bottom, the top for hanging from, and the bottom to weight it down. It will be hung up for class night in June. Here's a sneak peak...

 

 Detail.

Detail.

 I've used the blanket stitch on my machine before, but this is my first time trying it by hand. Can you tell?

I've used the blanket stitch on my machine before, but this is my first time trying it by hand. Can you tell?

 I like the back, pure color. Too bad it will never be seen once it's hanging on the wall!

I like the back, pure color. Too bad it will never be seen once it's hanging on the wall!