Monday, October 23, 2017

The Artist UnSEWn Featuring English Garden by Snow Leopard Designs

"The English Garden Collection" from Snow Leopard designs is inspired by my deep love for English gardens and English garden plants. For the inspiration for the collection I drew on a number of sources including 19th century botanical illustrations from my archive, as well as antique seed packets and catalogues and antique floral fabrics also from my archives.

The design: "Vegetable Garden" was directly inspired by antique and vintage seed packets. I have always found the style of these designs so visually pleasing and I wanted to try to convey this rich fullness of form, texture and colour directly to fabric.

"Strawberry Fields" was inspired by an illustration of strawberries in an antique volume in my collection called "The Floral World". I had bought a whole set of these books in the late 1980s and had often thought how wonderfully the strawberry print would transfer to fabric to make a simple and striking design.

"Begonias" was developed from an antique English textile document in my archive that was first printed in the 1890s. I loved the crisp sharpness of the drawing and the outline so reminiscent of late Victorian England.


Pelargonium was also developed from a late 19th century textile document in my archive. I have always had a passion for Pelargoniums and geraniums with their amazingly patterned leaves and jump at any chance to include them in my designs. I also developed an all over pelargonium leaf pattern to lie under the different blooms as a background texture. This pattern was then also produced as a separate semi plain fabric: "Pelargonium Leaves" where it works as solid colour to co-ordinate with the other designs in the collection.

"Garden Peonies" was inspired by a selection of antique woodblock prints in my archive that I put together to create a dense and lush all over texture of exuberance. I just love painting up this type of design and the satisfaction I get as each new colour is added from my paintbrush to the paper is hard to describe.
"Rose Bower" is a lovely little classic English rose print that I found in the late 1980s in a large old leather bound volume of English fabrics from the 1850s. It`s the sort of "filler" design that works so well with the larger patterns in quilts and on it`s own for multiple other uses such as bags and clothing etc.

Finally to round the collection off I included "Cherry Tomatoes". It is based on a lovely little woodblock print from the 1920s that I found recently. I thought that it would work so well in quilts as another texture to both frame and complement the larger prints.

For the colourways. I wanted fresh and vibrant colours that were also naturalistic and where every design and colour would work well with every pattern in the collection. I see the collection being used for a number of craft and furnishing projects including full blown flamboyant quilts that are literally full of the perfume of English gardens, to clothing, bags and all manner of household furnishings including curtains, cushions and bedding. I just hope that you have as much fun working with them as I did painting them.

Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark

Monday, October 02, 2017

Long Arm Quilting Workbook by Teresa Silva

Achievable and Encouraging – Long Arm Quilting Workbook by Teresa Silva
Photos courtesy of F+W Media

My job as the Inspiration Manager for FreeSpirit is to take our beautiful fabric collections and create quilts to inspire shop owners and quilters to fall in love with our fabrics.  Teresa has quilted for me, always with stunning machine quilting which I, as a quilter, aspire to and admire.  So when asked to review her new Long Arm Quilting Workbook, I jumped at the chance.

I have long considered purchasing a long arm machine but always ask, “Can I do this?” “Would I be able to learn how to create the beautiful stitches that make a quilt a work of art – stitches that turns quilt tops into quilts?”

For anyone who shares my thoughts when considering a long arm machine, this book is for you! It is chalk full of everything you need to consider from batting to marking pens and needles to rulers. She delves into thread and endorses polyester and poly-wrapped thread which many have considered taboo. Most importantly, from my perspective, she confirms that your quilts deserve premium, high quality fabrics.

The book is full of techniques including practical considerations in selecting the right machine, whether a mid-arm or a long arm.  Teresa encourages you to shop for a reliable local independent retailer who will teach you how to use your machine and be there to assist with questions and repairs.

Best part, the variety of techniques presented in such detail allows a complete novice to open the book and start playing.  Teresa tells you to practice the techniques on your home sewing machine before you even consider buying a long arm. From whole cloth to pieced quilts, she openly shares what she has learned along the way, encouraging your confidence and making the techniques achievable. 

She sprinkles wonderful tips throughout the book such as doodling in a journal thus teaching yourself to draw and hanging your quilts with hand sewing needles so as not to disrupt the beauty of your work of art.  Her gallery of quilts speaks to her outstanding work and expertise, making this truly a coffee table worthy book. 

FreeSpirit is stop one on this blog tour.  Follow along and hear what others have to say as well.  I am certain they will find this book equally as inspirational. In the meantime, comment on our blog and tell us your long arm aspirations.  We will select one commentator to win a copy of Teresa Silva’s Long Arm Quilting Workbook . . . your long arm quilt dreams will come true with this book!

-Sharon Thornton

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Friday, October 6, 2017
Monday, October 9, 2017
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Friday, October 13, 2017
Monday, October 16, 2017
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Quilting is My Bliss

A few quils from Teresa's Longarm Quilting Workbook

Blog Tour-Grand Prize 1

Blog Tour-Grand Prize 2
Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark

Friday, September 29, 2017

National Sewing Presents Shannon Newlin

Shannon Newlin shares her National Sewing Month Story! 

Early memories of sewing begin with my grandfather.  During his free time he enjoyed working on projects....from home additions to sewing clothes.  He made the sweetest floral dresses for me when I was a little girl. Even tiny details like sewing in a tag that said "made with love" were so special.

When I was old enough, I was taught how to sew by hand and then later by machine.  In middle school I took Home Economics and made my first skirt using a pattern.  I chose a beautiful corduroy fabric because it had flowers on it  - of course!  I completed a fully pleated skirt, and it turned out to be the heaviest garment I owned.  Needless to say I learned a lot.

In high school I continued to make many garments for myself...dresses, pants, tops...but I never used patterns again.  I would just stretch out the fabric on the floor and trace myself! Somehow it worked and I was able to express my fashion vision through sewing; if only Project Runway existed back then!

Today my creative energies are devoted to painting and designing patterns for fabric. I love this process.  One aspect that excites me is knowing it doesn't end with the development of the fabric, but continues on to another creative inspired journey of which I’m happy to be a part.

Make sure to sign up for a chance to win fabric from Shannon Newlin along with our Coats Quilt+ thread! You will also be entered for a chance to win our Grand Prize giveaway featuring SEW many goodies including a Janome AMH-100 Machine!

Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark

Thursday, September 28, 2017

National Sewing Month Featuring Tina Givens

Tina Givens shares her sewing story for National Sewing Month! 

My first memories of needle and thread was 12” talking doll. She was beautiful but her clothes were shockingly ugly to me. So I planned and proceeded to remove her clothes and remade them in my own ‘style’. I stitched each garment by hand and was delighted at my work. I started dreaming of the way a needle can magically go in and out of cloth, and piece parts together. This thrilled me and after begging my grandmother and mother to let me learn on the machine, they finally sat me down and taught me the basics. All to happy to provide me with a new hobby! I was so excited I almost passed out. Once I’d experienced the machine there was no stopping me. They ensured I had a stock of fabric when I was young to prevent me from cutting up the curtains, sheets and anything else I could find!

Make sure to sign up for a chance to win fabric from Tina Givens along with our Coats Quilt+ thread! You will also be entered for a chance to win our Grand Prize giveaway featuring SEW many goodies including a Janome AMH-100 Machine!

Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark

Monday, September 25, 2017

National Sewing Month Featuring Amy Butler

Amy Butler shares her sewing story for National Sewing Month!

My first sewing project was more of a gluing project, and so began the early makings of me as a sewist. My grandma would let me paw through her beautiful scrap bags of fabric for hours in her cozy attic sewing room. I loved being in that space. G’s house was older with charming dormers that let in just the right amount of warm light. Every summer I would get time with her just the two of us, for a whole week. She’d go out of her way to make me feel special; cutting my toast into triangles, giving me my own little pots of tea and letting me explore her craft room, art supplies and fabrics. When I turned 7, G taught me how to sew on one of her rougher machines. I’ll never forget that first time she let me play in her material. I spent hours making a full collection of summer clothes for my neighborhood friends by cutting, gluing and taping together some pretty stylish halter tops. Their clothes fell apart immediately but they appreciated my efforts, and I’ll always remember that outpouring of creativity and how good it felt. I created a photo collage here with 7 year old me and a pretty accurate photo of G from that era. The fabric scraps in the background are from my Grandfather’s silk ties. G made them into a gorgeous flying geese quilt after he passed and I’m lucky enough to be the keeper of that quilt.

Make sure to sign up for a chance to win fabric from Verna Mosquera along with our Coats Quilt+ thread! You will also be entered for a chance to win our Grand Prize giveaway featuring SEW many goodies including a Janome AMH-100 Machine!

Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark