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Christine's Color Connection

A newsletter for quilters in love with color

May 2018      

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The Quilter's Color Club has lots of info on every aspect of color. You can find used copies on Amazon, or buy it as a print-on-demand book from C&T Publishing.
Welcome Spring (Achoo!) 
I hope your spring is as gorgeous as ours. Late rains lessened fears of another drought and gave us lush growth. Which leads to heavy pollen. Which means lots of sneezing. Oh well, it's the price we pay for living on this green earth.

I've retired from Artistic Alchemy (the Zephyr retreat group) but will continue teaching on a lighter schedule and will be in touch more often. After 20 years on the road, I decided it was time to cut back a little and sew/quilt more. A good plan, I hope you agree!

I chose this photo of Indian Paint Brush and Lupine for my intro because it's roughly a triad of red-orange, yellow-green, and blue-violet. The color wheel is never far from my thoughts.
Foliage Market Bag  
For those of you who follow the Artistic Alchemy blog, this post is an extended version of my article about my new collage-and-surface-stitched bag, with more photos and tips.

The "ingredients" for my bag included Marcia Derse prints, batiks, and (of course) a Kaffe Fassett stripe. (A few other fabrics that made it into the finished bag aren't in this photo.) Notice that the fabrics vary in
1) color 
2) pattern 
3) how open or dense the patterns are.  Because surface stitching blends patterns and colors, it's good to err on the side of more contrast rather than less.

I typically build the collage on a foundation of all-cotton osnaburg, a slightly nubby, old-fashioned and inexpensive needlework fabric. You can also use all-cotton muslin, but with either one, make sure it's not wrinkle-resistant because you want your collage to shrink a little and become crinkly. I prewash osnaburg because it shrinks so much, but not muslin or the fabrics for the collage.

I cut straight-edge pieces of different sizes and shapes. Notice that mine aren't perfectly square or rectangular. (I have yet to do a collage with curved pieces. Someday . . . .) Trapezoids like the ones shown are great shapes for collage; they're a bit quirky, and quirky is good in my book.

I add some longer, slender shapes, and a few pieces with "chunks" cut out of them.

I begin to arrange the pieces on the foundation at different angles to get a feel for how the colors and patterns look together. (Note that I also used a layer of muslin under the osnaburg to give the bag body.) Keep in mind that nothing is settled at this point. I ditched the stripe on the left, for example. 

I layer the pieces so that some are over and some are under adjoining pieces, with no gaps. You don't want any osnaburg to show.

I especially like a "spinning" arrangement, where three pieces overlap like this:

Just when you think you can't mess with it another minute (and believe me, that happens), it all comes together. The next step is to use tiny dots of glue (I like Roxanne's Glue Baste It!) and pins to tack down the pieces at their edges, followed by a longish, narrow zigzag stitch to secure them. The zigzagging is tedious, but it's well worth the effort to keep the pieces from shifting.

Tip: Here's what my zigzag stitch looks like on a muslin scrap. You just want to secure the edges; no satin stitching allowed! 

With everything "nailed down," I stitch a wavy grid in both directions using variegated thread. (I like King Tut and Mettler.) The lines in this muslin sample are about 4 inches apart.

The completed collage, with some stitching, which is a bit difficult to see here. 

A closer look at the stitching. I do even more than you see here, "going where I haven't been," until the spaces between stitching are about 3/8 to 1/2 inch.

Tip: I try to avoid stitching over the same spot again and again, as in the mid-to-upperl left area below. 

When the collage feels like one piece, I wash, dry, and cut out my new "fabric." For this bag I trimmed the piece to 18 inches wide and 30 inches long. I cut each black strip 30 inches long.

I sewed the side seams, then "boxed" the bottom. If you don't know how, check out this link for making a boxed bottom on a bag .

Here's one side of my finished bag.  

For the lining I chose a back-and-white stripe for contrast and a visual connection to the straps.

Tip: I added a  1-inch-wide strip of the Kaffe Fassett stripe to the upper edge of the black-and-white piece, lined the bag, then rolled the lining up a bit to make the stripe look like binding. 

The other side of the bag.  

The boxed bottom.

The light was unusually warm the morning I took this shot, so the color isn't that accurate, but I loved the luminous look.

But wait, there's more you can do with collage and surface stitching! Jean Wood, a quilter living in Mexico, sent this pic of herself and Janet Avery wearing their collage vests. Well done, ladies. Excellent collage work!

Speaking of vests, my patterns are on sale ($9 instead of $14) through June. The tissues were printed by Simplicity, and there are how-to photos and illustrations in my directions. You can see them in my Store.

The Crossover Collage and Turkish Delight patterns have the same tissue. Crossover has a raw edge binding with button loops. Turkish has a double-fold binding and includes directions for the Hong Kong Seam Finish.

Other images of Turkish Delight. You can wear it with the fronts turned out, for faux lapels.  
Or, do the same with the other side.

I used an ombré for the lining.  

And because I used the Hong Kong Seam Finish (directions included), it's truly reversible.

When I went to a book signing by Kaffe Fassett wearing this vest, he looked up and said, "My Turkish delight fabric!" That's how my vest got its name.

I hope I've whetted your appetite for fabric collage and surface stitching. If you make a bag, a vest, or anything else, please send me photos so I can enjoy your work!

About This Newsletter   

If you've received this newsletter, you may have attended one of my workshops or bought one of my books, patterns, or color wheels. It's easy to opt out, below, but I hope you'll stick around to see what's in store. It's all about color, using it, enjoying it, and sharing it with other quilters.


Thank you! 

Contact Info

Christine Barnes