29 December 2012

The Painted Pebbles Quilt (with tutorial!)

I had an idea for this bubbling in the back of my head whilst I was making my log cabin quilt and so I started in on it right after.
The Painted Pebbles Quilt-designwall


It's a Painted Pebble Quilt and it was pretty quick to make.
The Painted Pebbles Quilt


 This quilt is based on this lovely painting by Garima Dhawan of Garima Studio.
garima_edited-1

I first saw this painting on Pinterest without a name attached (damned orphan images!) I was really pleased to finally learn the name of the artist when it showed up over on the Creature Comforts blog. And then I found Garima over on Facebook, and asked if it would be okay with her if I shared my quilt on the blog and showed her painting and then posted a tutorial with a tip jar. She said go for it! Hooray!

I think what really needs explaining on this quilt is the process I used to get the pebbles into their blocks. I have no idea what the method I used should be called or if I invented it. I’ve tried googling around for appliqué methods and I haven’t found it presented elsewhere, but that might be because I just don’t know the proper name.

 Anyway, I think my brain cooked this up from two things:
(1) Have you seen Lucie Summers’s Porthole Quilt? I don’t think she ever said how she made this or posted a tutorial, but I freakin’ love this quilt and have stared at the pictures enough to have my guesses on how it was made. I think I’m doing something very similar to what Lu did (but I’m guessing.)
porthole quilt block
 (photo by Lucie Summers, used with Lucie's permission)

(2) Jenna (of How to Be Jenna and The Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild) has done some really lovely appliqué on her recent projects and they are using a method she calls “sew-and-turn appliqué.”  She just posted a tutorial on her method over on her blog (Sew-and-Turn Applique Tutorial) which you should check out! The applique method I’m about to describe is the reverse of Jenna’s method.


So, here it is: TUTORIAL TIME!

1. Preparing the Background:
a. Cut a 15.5-inch square of your background fabric (in this case a text fabric with a gray background).
Reverse Applique Step


b. Cut a 10-inch square (approximately) of a fabric (hereafter called the flipping fabric) that matches the main color in your background fabric (an even darker gray would be great!)

c. Trace a pebble shape onto the 10-inch square of fabric, being sure to leave at least an inch of fabric between the edge of the drawing and the edge of your fabric.
Reverse Applique Step


2. Assembling the background:
a. Place the 15.5-inch square right-side up on a work surface.
 b. Place the 10-inch square of flipping fabric on top of it with the traced pebble shape showing.
 c. Rotate the pebble to desired angle then use masking tape to adhere the edges of the flipping fabric to the background fabric using masking tape (I'm using a 1/2-inch wide tape).
Reverse Applique Step


d. Using a smallish straight-stich (a 2 or 3 for stitch length on most machines is advised), stitch ¼-inch around the edges of your traced line. Leave several inches of thread tails at the beginning.  Go all the way around your pebble, keeping a smooth line. Do not worry too much if your stitching wanders a bit away from the line, so long as the line is smooth and you're reasonably close.
Reverse Applique Step

e. When taking your block away from the machine, leave several inches of thread tails attached to your block.
f. Pull thread tails to the backside of the quilt block (either by lifting the last stitch on the back and pulling the small loop through or by threading a hand needle with the top thread and sewing it through to the back). Tie off the thread tails (knot them) and then snip them.
Reverse Applique Step

I use Aurifil Mako 50wt thread (Aurifil on the orange spool) for all of my piecing. This is a really strong, thin thread and so my knots and stitches hold tight and do not create any bulk or bumps in the patchwork.

3. Flip that fabric!
a. Pull the tape off. If there's a lot of excess flipping fabric, trim it down.  I like to leave an inch or two all the way around.
Reverse Applique Step

b. Place the block on your rotary cutting mat and cut out the pebble shape in the middle. Cut about 1/2-inch inside your stitches.  I do this with my 45mm rotary cutter; you may be more comfortable using scissors.
Reverse Applique Step

Sidenote: I saved all my pebble shapes, rather than throwing them in the scrap bin. I’m going to use Jenna’s method to appliqué the pebbles onto another quilt! I stitched them together right after cutting them free.


c. Clip the seam allowance, being careful not to cut all the way to your seam.
Reverse Applique Step


d.  Set your seams by pressing the block.
e. Begin flipping the flipping fabric by folding it into the open hole and around to the back. It's easiest to start with the straightest part of the pebble edge.  Be patient with the fabric and move slowly.  Use the iron to press as you go.  You may find it useful to use a rolling motion with your fingers to get the seams in the correct position.
Reverse Applique Step

Once you've gone all the way around, your background is ready!
Reverse Applique Step


4. Make your patchwork pebble.
Make your patchwork at least 1-inch bigger in all directions than the hole it is going to fill.  I played around with a few variations on these pebbles and discovered that with these bright colors and the texty background prints, it worked best to keep the pebbles simple...one piece of bright fabric with a solid stripe across it (or a solid chunk in corner). I think fancier pebbles might work with simpler backgrounds.
Reverse Applique Step



5. Attach pebble to the background
a. To put the pebble in the hole, lay the prepared background fabric upside down on a work surface and then lay the pebble over the hole, making sure to cover the entire hole with at least 1/4-inch overlap on all sides.

b.Tape down the edges of the pebble, making sure no tape is to close to the edges of the hole (at least 1/4-inch away from the edge.)

c.  Place block right-side up on your machine and stich around the edge of the hole (about 1/8-inch looks great!)  Leave several inches of thread tails at the beginning.  Go all the way around your pebble, keeping a smooth line.  When taking your block away from the machine, leave several inches of thread tails at the end.
Reverse Applique Step

d. Pull thread tails to the backside of the quilt block (either by lifting the last stitch on the back and pulling the small loop through or by threading a needle with the top thread and sewing them through to the back). Tie off the thread tails (knot them) and then snip them.

e. Trim excess fabric. Press block. Trim block down to 15x15."


Reverse Applique Step





6.  Fantastic!  You're done!  Nine pebbles in 15x15" backgrounds will make a 44x44-inch square quilt top (a baby quilt).  Make more blocks for a larger quilt!

The Painted Pebbles Quilt

I'm already thinking of new color schemes for this quilt...what about mixed prints for the backgrounds and solids for the pebbles?  Multiple sizes of blocks mixed together?  There are so many possibilities!




If you use this tutorial, remember to credit me and consider leaving a tip!


Anyone is free to use this tutorial to construct a quilt; However, if this is where you got your design idea or where you learned this method, you should credit me, Rossie, with inspiration and please link back to this blog post (The Painted Pebbles Quilt with Tutorial).

 If you use the tutorial and feel so moved, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar (no obligation). Rest assured, the money goes into my business account and I will pay taxes on it through the business.

Why do I post tutorials with a tip jar?
(a) I often feel that quilt patterns are over-priced, especially if I can tell just by looking at something how it was made. I am almost never willing to pay $8 for a PDF quilt pattern. However, I would be willing to give someone a dollar or two for using the idea they brought to my attention, I think you might be like me.

(b) I'm a copy-leftist. As such, I don't think it is possible or moral to claim ownership over most ideas or to try to control an idea.   I'm interested in people's willingness to volunteer payment for inspiration.

(c) I have bills to pay.  When this goes reasonably well, I can post more quilts on my blog, rather than keeping them secret while waiting for them to show up in magazines or books.

31 comments:

  1. I like it! That's an old trick from the garment industry.
    Imagine that hole being the opening to a pocket on a fashionable jacket. You could get really interesting shapes with a contrast "window" that way. It's fun for quilts, though.

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    1. Ah, very cool! I knew I'd seen similar effects out there in the world!

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  2. Cool idea. I am using the other technique on some "circles" maybe I should just call them pebbles & quit worrying about round perfection.

    This technique reminds me of "facing" which is a sew term & is used on necklines & such. (I have also seen something similar used to "finish" and art quilt.

    Love the pebbles.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I almost called the "flipping" fabric the "facing" fabric, though I have no idea how I would know that term...I have no patience for garment sewing and I never do it. Perhaps I was a tailor/seamstress in another life!

      Pebble perfection for the win! The trick is to get them "off" enough to look intentional and not so far off that it looks forced.

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  3. When flipping the facing fabric I've found it useful to press the seam open, as best I can, using a rolled-up towel. Cool quilt.

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    1. Thanks for the tip! It's funny the things we keep handy in our work spaces...gotta add a rolled up towel to the list!

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  4. I took the Portholes class Lucie Summers taught at the Fat Quarterly Retreat last summer. Your technique is much the same as she taught. If you want multiple layers just make smaller holes to go underneath. I love that pebbles painting.

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    1. Ah, good to know! She doesn't end up with a seam on the top, though, as far as I can tell. Isn't that painting great? Love love love it.

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  5. Lucie's method for the quilt is in this magazine, which I just happened to win in a giveaway and read this week: http://www.interweavestore.com/Quilting/Magazines/Modern-Patchwork-2012.html

    I think there is a seam on top of hers. Your tutorial is much more thorough than the pattern in the magazine! Here's another link for the interfacing/flip applique method too - right now I'm collecting tutorials, apparently - maybe soon there will be enough concurrence in seeing them for me to actually try sewing some! http://www.thequiltingedge.com/2012/12/easy-circles.html

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    1. Oh, thanks for the link! I think I may actually have that magazine deep in the bag of Quilt Market booty...or maybe someone I know has it? Anyway, I'll try to look at it! Even if it is the same, I thought it was super cool to see that irregular shapes could be made!

      I wonder when it would work best to flip interfacing and when to flip fabric. Hmmm....

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  6. I'm confused by your math. 3 15 inch squares do not equal 34 inches... 43 by 43, maybe, but not 34 by 34.
    Love the tutorial, clear directions, but I'm math major and your numbers confused me. Looking for ways to use 'excess' fabric. Possibly will try it with smaller squares. Thank you so very much for sharing.

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    1. Ach, you're right. Once you account for seam allowances 14.75+14.5+14.75=44
      I'll go fix that now!

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  7. Wow taht is an awesome quilt and a wonderful tutorial!! Thank you!

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  8. Gorgeous. You've given me an idea of what to do with some precious Liberty lawn squares that I've been saving.

    I wonder if the six minute circle technique (by Dale Fleming) would work here (there's an excerpt from her book on Google Books that contains the full instructions here or there's another tutorial here.) It would prevent having the seam on the top. Or, you could use your technique and then sew the stone fabric on the same way that the circle fabric is attached in that tutorial (see step 10 in the book.) That too would prevent the seam line on top. I've used the technique to make irregular/oval shapes and it worked pretty well.

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    1. I've also done the six-minute circle. I find the glue just too tricky! It always ends up everywhere when I play with glue!

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  9. I love doing circles this way. I too had seen a similar tutorial on RicRac years ago (http://vintagericrac.blogspot.ca/2010/08/teaching-your-grandma-to-suck-eggs.html)... she'd figured it out as a means to make a hole for a stuffed animal's tail in pants... lol. I've always called it a porthole after the ones I'd seen on flickr. Nice organic feel to yours though! :) I love the pebble look!

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    1. Thank you! It's so fun to see all the applications and variations on this technique!

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  10. I love this! But even more, I love the cooperation and respect for the inspiration piece -- you did this the right way when so many people don't. And the results are wonderful.

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    1. Thank you, Amy! I truly believe nothing is original and that the bright people are the ones who show their sources!

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  11. STUNNING. I remember sewing facing onto dress necklines when I was little, but this makes me want to begin quilting. It's almost enough to turn my attention and bit of free time away from knitting! Thank you (always) for the inspiration.

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    1. Thank you, Nora, for encouraging me in return!

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  12. Love this - such great work in translating idea to fabric…!

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  13. Really wonderful tutorial - and good on you for finding the artist of that great print. Love this quilt!

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  14. Brilliant idea! A really innovative way of making blocks!

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  15. This is fantastic. Similar, but with a completely different look to a reverse appliqued curve. Feels most polished, plus it allows for more organic shapes.

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    1. Yeah, I'm loving the possibilities this opens up!

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  16. Just made a small donation because I love this tute

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