Texture with Textiles – Mosaic quilt

Mosaic-style quilt

Mosaic Quilt

I quite liked this quilt from a distance – up close there were elements I wasn’t as happy with, but they weren’t integral to the quilt design itself I think.  I think this could be fun to do in my own way… (especially if I have leftover fabrics from another project..)

Mosaic Quilt

The presenter talked about simply fusing down a line of the dark purple fabrics, and then surrounding that line with colours on either side.  She mentioned that she didn’t quitehave the colour she needed, so she ended up swapping some fabric with one of the students in the class as well to get the look she was after. I think this would be a really cool project to do that way – with a bunch of other people all bringing in fabrics in related colours to get more variety… She also chatted about how she did the quilting – using a thread colour that would not show up especially on either the background or the purple colours.

She used an orange tone which from a distance definitely didn’t show up on any of the fabrics.  However up close it was a bit more obvious where the quilting was. However, on top of the colours, she added a variegated pink/purple decorative stitch.  This isn’t the look that I like – I think that if I would make this quilt – this isn’t something that I would want to replicate. I think that this would be really cool with a cool blue background, with dark blue and coral ’tiles’…

Other than the quilting – she relied entirely on the fusible to hold the fabrics to the base fabric, again suggesting that this is not a quilt intended to be washed much – rather just a wall hanging.  I wonder if it is possible to make something similar that would hold up to repeated washing without the fabrics pulling away from the base fabric or starting to fray?

This session was taught by Carola from Carola’s Quilt shop in Gibsons, BC as part of the Texture with Textiles workshop session at the Creative stitches show.  Click the texture link for the other projects I photographed at the session and some of my comments about them.

Mosaic Quilt

Mosaic Quilt

Mosaic Quilt

Texture with Textiles

In an earlier post I mentioned the workshop I took at the Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive! show called Texture with Textiles. Since there were a lot of photos (to help me remember some of what was illustrated techniques were) I decided to make up  posts just for the session. This session was taught by Carola from Carola’s Quilt shop in Gibsons, BC, and she started the session with a landscape quilt she made from one of her classes in her shop.  She also showed off a number of other projects and talked a bit about each, and the different techniques she used to make them.

Landscape quilt – background and elements

Landscape quilt

It’s not a great photo – but basically there are six layers to the landscape – with a large yellow sun and a tree over the sun – and then a stream of leaves blowing off the tree and across the landscape.  The sky is heavily beaded, and other parts of the quilt are also embellished a great deal.

Landscape quilt

The instructor had a really great technique to make the curved seams of the landscape. Basically with the curves, you would have to baste the curve seam allowance, press under the seam allowance, remove the basting stitch, and then top-stitch/applique the fabric down. The instructor’s method was sort of the same steps – just getting twice as much done at once!

  1. First, get two fabrics (they don’t even have to be the ones that will be side-by-side) and put them right-sides-together, sewing a gentle curving line at least 1/4″ away from one edge.  Use wash-away thread in the bobbin for this (that part is really important…).
  2. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ inch.
  3. Press the seam using a completely dry iron.
  4. Turn the fabrics right-side-out (so it’s a two-sided thing with one straight edge and one curved edge.
  5. Press the seam using a dry iron.
  6. THEN.. once the seam is pressed, press again with a steam iron – this will dissolve the wash-away thread.  The result – two fabrics with their curves pressed under in one step!

Landscape quilt leaf

Across the sky (coming from the sun, under the branches of the tree, and into the sky) was an orange silk ribbon swirl, which on the sky was beaded and sequined (though it wasn’t on the sun area).


The three-dimensional leaf – the centre “vein” sewn about half to 2/3 up. The leaves on the tree were made double-sided by fusing two different leaf-coloured fabrics together.  The edges weren’t sewn at all- so this isn’t a technique to use with something that will be washed. She illustrated how she made the leaves as well, making them three-dimensional by stitching a seam down the centre of the leaf, but not all the way.  This way the leaves could lay flat, curl, fold, etc…  She also talked about using a very fine polyester thread (rather than monofilament nylon thread) as  (nearly) ‘invisible’ thread to attach the leaves and for other elements intended to not be seen.

Landscape quilt – leaves and silk cocoon

Also on the tree and other areas of the quilt (like where leaves had ‘piled up’ were silk cocoons. I saw these at the last show I was at from a few of the vendors, but this time around I didn’t see any.  (Mind you, I also wasn’t specifically looking for them.) You can see a little bit here how the leaf edges have already started to fray just a tiny bit. Also here, the silk cocoon has a little silk-cocoon cap on it. It’s kind of cute, but not really my personal style.  Some of the silk cocoons have beads coming off them like a little tassel.

Landscape quilt – chain of leaves

Landscape quilt – stitched leaf

Landscape quilt – three dimensional leaves on the background.











Tree and bark

Landscape quilt – tree and bark (with lots of moss)

Carola showed that she used the chenille method for making the ‘bark’ on the tree. With the curved branches, some of the ‘bark’ is on the bias, while other parts are straight – so different parts of the tree are fraying more than others.

Landscape quilt – chenille example

Here is an example of how the chenille is created – click the image for a larger version of the photo.

Basically you layer a number of fabrics and then slice through the top ones, exposing the colours of the fabrics underneath.  In this case there is a patterned fabric on the bottom, then a red, then a yellow, a light green and finally the top fabric – a darker green.

In the example of the bark on the tree, she used an orange fabric at the bottom by the looks of things (I don’t actually remember from the example in person) then a medium brown, and finally a dark brown as the top fabric. At the beginning of her project she intended the tree to be a cedar tree (more below about that) but then the tree was adapted to be something a bit different.

The fabric frays when you cut it – though you can also use a nail brush or something else that irritates the fibers to accelerate the fraying.  Cutting the fabrics on the bias will lead to less fraying, while more fraying will occur if the fabrics are on the straight of grain.


Landscape quilt

The moss in the tree was originally intended to be the branches of a cedar tree – but Carola said that it was just taking too long and she switched up her plan (largely due to impatience).  Instead what she had worked on for the boughs became moss for the tree.  These were made by first tracing a real cedar ‘leaf’, and then tracing that onto water-soluble stabilizer.

From there she used a quilting-weight thread to trace the design (doubling-up the stabilizer) with thread two, three, and four times. The example to the right shows the leaf stitched onto stabilizer, and then when the stabilizer is washed away, what the result looks like.

Other projects

Other projects that Carola showed off included a mosaic-tile type of quilt which was pretty cute, a black-based quilt with lots of rectangles, a sunflower quilt (taught by one of her students) and a few others.  I’ve written the posts, but they won’t be posted up for a few days – so stay tuned!  (If you try to click the links before I post them.. they won’t work – you’ll just have to come back!)

Creative Stitches trade show

The other day I went to the Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive! trade show – a show I have gone to for a number of years (apart from last year, when they didn’t have one) and it was a bit of a ‘mixed bag’ kind of event – there were a lot of good things going on, but also a lot of things that could have been done better I think.


First off, I didn’t see ANY advertising for the show in advance.  A few days before the show my mother heard about it just once on the radio – which is a little too short notice for someone to adjust any weekend plans.  Luckily I have a bunch of time to use up at work, so I took the Friday off to go to the show (That was another strange thing, it was a Friday/Saturday show rather than Sat/Sun.) to still be able to keep my weekend plans intact.

I chatted with two people at the show as well, and they both had the same experience – one only heard about it ONCE on the radio, and the other never heard about it at all out in the community – she only knew about it from her friend who was an exhibitor. The show wasn’t here last year, so it seems like a strange thing not to have lots of advertising.


I often litter the calendar of workshops/classes with highlights and circles – there are usually so many things I want to see and do that I barely have enough time to shop as well.  This time around there were very few “must-sees”.  I started out with Texture with Textiles with the owner of Carola’s Quilt Shop, then attended Wool with one of the staff from The Quilt Patch (the list said it was Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks -but it was only one person, and I can’t remember her name!), and then I went to the main stage demonstration by Linda MacPhee from the MacPhee Workshop called Make it this Christmas.

I chatted with mum and she complained that the workshops she dropped into seem to be mostly ‘selling’ things rather than actually offering tips, ideas, inspiration or instruction.  I agree, but I understand that this kind of scenario is an effective selling tool – but the best ones mix up the “… and you can find this at my booth….” comments with useful ideas and inspiration.  Some do it better than others.

Landscape quilt

Texture with Textiles

This session was mostly a show-and-tell of projects that the instructor had (recently?) done in classes at her shop, starting off with a wall-hanging landscape quilt, then a number of other projects – mostly art/wall-hanging quilts. I don’t really think that techniques were anything I didn’t already know – but there may have been a few things that she applied in one way where I would have used another method – and hers was easier/more textural/etc.

I ended up taking a bunch of photos throughout the session, and rather than post them all here, I figured that I would make up a separate post to illustrate some of the techniques she showed (coming soon..). In order to remember things I liked, I ended up taking a number of photos.


Based on the description of this workshop I had expected something very different from this session than what it actually was.

“Have you often looked at wool, though you might like to incorporate it into a project, but are just not sure exactly how to use it? Join us to learn about felting wool, hand dyed wool, recycled wool and much more..”

I had not expected for the session to be entirely about wool applique for quilting projects for starters, and I was a bit bothered that the instructor kept referring to “felting” when I believe that she meant “fulling”.  I also wasn’t sure that some of her information was accurate, or more likely, that her information was complete.  I ended up leaving the session early because I felt that the information she was giving was less than what I already know about working with wool, and I’m not specifically looking to do wool applique anyways.

Make it this Christmas

This was the session that I was most interested in attending – it was listed as “quick and easy ideas” to make things as holiday gifts this year.  Since I’ll be hosting a holiday crafting session, and am still looking for ideas – I thought that this would be a good source of inspiration.  Unfortunately, although most of the suggestions would certainly be quick and easy – I didn’t think a lot of them were the kind of things I’d want to give away as gifts.  She showed items (for which she was selling the patterns, fabric, and accessories for) like:

  • tie-front tops (I can’t say I know anyone who wears a tie-front top right now)
  • fringe-top fleece toque (I would have worn it at 15 years old, but I don’t know if 15 year-olds today would wear it)
  • ruffle-trimmed rectangle of fleece (worn as a shawl/wrap)
  • cut-fringe slinky ‘boa’ (which might be ok for a child’s dress-up)
  • faux-fur shrug (even on the TINY woman modeling – this made her look like a wooly sheep…)
  • faux-fur trimmed shrug (this was actually nice)
  • cocoon coat (I liked this too – it was a square, folded in half. The sides were stitched up with a hole to create arm-holes, and the centre of the front was slashed to create the front opening.  The center slash was trimmed in faux fur.  It actually wasn’t a coat – more like a shrug, but making it longer and wider would work to make it more of a coat.  It actually might look really nice with that cut-work purple knit I have…)
  • two jean jackets made from old jeans (really dated)
  • sherpa/fleece mitts and slippers (kind of cute, but super-simple)
  • a length of faux fur cut to about 5″ wide with the full width of the fabric as the length called a scarf (ok as a costume, but cheap as a gift)
  • two tubes of fabric called scarves (One of these was made of the ruffle fabric – the kind generally used for rumba panties.  Linda used the full width of the fabric, cut about 18″ wide and sewed it into a tube, wore it double-looped. The other fabric was a very light-weight crinkle polyester, cut one meter wide and used the full width of the fabric to do the same – sewn into a tube and doubled looped.  Like the scarf above, I might do something like this for myself, but I wouldn’t call it a gift.)

There were other things that she showed off as well, but I don’t remember them.

So, while I had been hoping to come up with some great inspiration for gifts or for this upcoming gift-making craft day… I’m afraid I didn’t.

The exhibitors

So, with any trade show, the big point is to shop as much as anything else. I didn’t end up shopping as much as I have in the past – partially because I haven’t been sewing as much right now so I am not running low on a lot (in the past I stocked up on tracing paper which is hard to find – or at least the kind I like is hard to find – but I have lots right now and don’t need any more). I found a few things though – which I’ll document later…

I was glad to see some of the shops I like there again like the Sugar Pine Quilt Company (from Canmore) and A Great Notion (from Abbotsford), but I was disappointed that a few different shops weren’t there like Gala Fabrics (from Victoria, BC) or a shop that used to sell lots of Victorian-style brass stampings, lace, and other things (whose name I have forgotten).


While of course I was at the show for the sewing element – there were a LOT of scrapbooking vendors as well, and a good amount of space devoted to scrapbooking workshops and sessions.  I find this kind of awkward, because even though I like scrapbooking, I have no idea how people are using this space.  Is it a drop-in space? Do you bring your photos and materials from home and work with all of the tools? Do you buy a kit from one of the vendors and just do a layout (and then how do you know which of your photos will work with that layout? (I know that when I do a complicated layout, it is inspired by the photo, not the other way around…)

At the last few of these shows I have felt as though the scrapbooking is taking over the physical space, and this year was no different.  It felt as though there were fewer vendors than before, and the balance between quilting, sewing general crafting and scrapbooking was weighing very heavily on scrapbooking – though there were fewer scrapbooking vendors this year too I thought. There was only one vendor (that I noticed) that was selling primarily fashion fabrics.  The rest were all quilting shops (that were selling fabrics).


Overall I was happy to have gone to the show, though glad I only went for one day instead of two. I was mildly disappointed overall with the workshops, the variety of vendors, and the selection of things for sale (I hardly bought anything compared to previous years). Did you go to this year’s show? What did you think?

Jean chains

Ok, this comes from another goofy inspiration… in this case, my continuing obsession with everything Apocalyptica. In this case, the wallet-chains that cello player and composer Eicca Toppinen wears on stage.  Yes. I’m this big of an Apo-geek.

Eicca and Paavo

Really, I just had a chain belt that no longer worked for me (it’s hard to get them done up and undone quickly…) so I hooked super-large (and sturdy) split rings on the ends, removed the decoration from the hanging end, and popped on two clasps to either end with the split rings.

Now, I don’t carry my wallet in my back pocket like guys do – BUT when I’m out of my office at work, I have a bunch of keys that I can clip onto this instead of carrying them around with me. (Especially when I need my hands free for a camera/etc.) Easy-peasy-geeky-ness.


More ideas needed!

Well, I’m definitely in need of some inspiration lately, and once again I’m turning my eye to the blog-o-sphere/Twitter-verse/Facebook world!

I have an utterly fabulous masquerade ball to go to later this year (or at least I’m hoping it will be utterly fabulous!) and after looking in my closet, I realize I have ~nothing to wear~!  Of course, that’s a fallacy, since I have loads of cute things to wear – but nothing that really screams “masquerade ball” beyond a gown that I’ve already worn to a similar event with the same people a few years back.  I want something NEW.

Luckily, I have a fair amount of time (or at least it feels like that right now.. it likely wont the closer I get to the date without an idea…) to come up with something.

I already have a whole host of masks – feathered masks, lace masks, decorated masks, plain mask blanks ready to be decorated.. so the mask isn’t the problem – but rather the outfit. I’m thinking of something glamourous, slightly over-the-top, but without exposing too much skin.  Think Venetian masks more so than Mardi Gras..  I’m not opposed to something Steampunk-inspired, but that isn’t my first thought this time around. Lots of lace, or frills, or hoop skirts, or beads.. or…?  Georgian or Victorian-inspired seems reasonable, but I’m also toying with the idea of something inspired by Egyptian or Norse mythology-inspired.

So – please send me some ideas! Add your links, concepts and Pintrest boards to the comments below!