Tips for piecing squares precisely and saving time

I am working on a fantastic project — a Memory Quilt. Photos to come… It’s more traditional than I usually do, and I worked out some techniques that have made the work faster and more precise. The border is hundreds of black and white squares. I cut 2 sets of black and white strips with right sides together at once. Then I cut up the squares. The result is 4 squares arranged in sets just as they will be sewn. No need to sort them and arrange them. Just sew them together and don’t forget chain piecing. It’s so efficient and you save on thread. That is the first step.
Then I sew the pairs to each other. At first I was sewing two long rows and then attempting to butt all the seams. But if I sew pairs to each other, there is only one seam to butt each time. The sewing is quick and they always align.
I thought I would share this with all my quilting and fabric artist friends. Hope it saves all of you some time!

Here are some photos.

Strip piecing Chain piecing Checkered border

I’ve been published in Art Quilting Studio Magazine

art quilting studio magazineArt Quilting Studio magazine just came out with their Winter 2013 issue and guess what? I have a three-page spread in this issue. The topic of my piece is “From Photos to Quilts” where I discuss the process of creating quilts based on photos I have taken.
Here is the table of contents. It’s a quality trade magazine available at books stores, newsstands & online. Table of contents of Art Quilting Studio magazine

The next stages of my landscape or should I say, cat-scape…

Did I mention I plan to enter this miniature quilt into a challenge? It’s due next week. Quilting Arts Magazine is running the “Greatest Pet Peeve” Reader Challenge”. I thought it would be fun, since I live in a “cat house” and there are more than a few feline antics to choose from. I debated whether a cat in the fridge would be more amusing than a cat drinking from a coffee mug. My faithful audience, aka my family, told me that the cat in the fridge was clearly the choice!
Cat in fridge (prequilted)
So, here are the next stages I’ve worked up of my cat-scape. The first is before quilting. I’ve made real strides to show the depth into the fridge.

Cat in fridge (quilted)
The second shot is after quilting. I chose not to do an enormous amount of thread painting, because I wanted the items in the fridge to be recognizable. They are not artistic images; they are bottles of juice, containers of milk and pots.
I’d be glad to hear what you think! Do you see the three-dimensional quality of this work? Our fridge really looks this way. You can’t see the back!

The crab in its background

It took me quite awhile to figure out what to do with the area surrounding my Crab. I tried large stones, dark stones, light stones and all these pulled the focus away from the Crab. See…

Crab in progress2

So I got an idea that if the background became muted it would enable the Crab to pop more and would still have a feel of stones and pebbles. Enter, tulle in many colors. I have yet to finish all the thread painting, but I think this it the direction. Let me know what you think.

Crab in progress3

The crab come alive!

Every project goes through the same metamorphosis. I find a subject that inspires me. With gusto I go at the project. I choose the perfect fabrics. I do all the tracing and preparation work.  I begin to assemble all the little pieces of fabric, and I look at my project and think, “What was I thinking! This looks like a cartoon!”
Well, this crab project did not fail me. I got to the stage where I looked at the project and thought, this crab looks like ET! I started thinking a duck might work instead…
After a break, I was drawn to my sewing machine and began to add color and texture to the crab. Remarkably, it now actually looks like a crab! So, here is a photo in progress of my crab.The background needs attention, but at least I have something to work with now.

Here is a question: Should the background be lighter? Can you see the crab or is it too camouflaged?

Crab in progress

I would like to give credit to Aharon Zuckerman, who photographed this crab somewhere in Israel and then graciously said I could use it as the subject for a quilt. Thanks, Aharon.
This is the original photo.

Crab photo