What a pleasure it has been to share a month of sewing goodness with you. Today we deliver another designer guest post from Tamara Kate designs. You may remember Tamara from an earlier post where she shared an image of the Janome MC8200 at home in her studio. Tamara is an accomplished designer with several lines available through Michael Miller Fabrics. Today, Tamara shares just some of what she has been making with her Big & Juicy Quilt Project.
When Debbie asked if I’d like to participate in An Apple A Day With Janome I immediately had visions of a big juicy apple quilt as a wall hanging… a single simple apple, bright and delicious. So of course, I said yes!
As a lover of colour, pattern and texture, I decided to make my apple a pixelated one in order to give it dimension and to keep the viewer’s eye interested and entertained. I knew I wanted to keep it at a manageable size (38” x 48”), so I thought 1” squares would be necessary to give the desired effect within that space.
This is how I went about designing it…
First I found a photo of a red apple, imported it into Adobe Illustrator, and then drew a simple grid of small squares over the top. I assigned darker or lighter shades of red to the squares within the apple and made the highlighted area into a heart. I did the same with the leaf and stem in shades of green, trying to keep the contour of the shapes as simple as possible, while still giving a bit of life to them.
In choosing fabrics, I wanted to keep the majority of prints simple and graphic, which meant using red-and-white prints, solids and two- or three-tone prints, with the odd exception (oranges, pinks and multicoloured prints) thrown into the mix to keep it interesting. To truly have the focus on the apple, I opted for fine black-on-white prints for the ground.
When one wants simple red or black printed quilting fabrics, there is no better source than Michael Miller Fabrics. Just look at this selection.While the reds might be similar in many of the prints, the difference in shape and scale of motifs creates the illusion of variety. This is the stack I started with.
I cut piles and piles of 1.5” squares and laid them out until I had an overall look I was happy with. I then sewed them together, one row at a time, pressed the seams and sewed the rows all together and pressed the seams again. Thanks to Janome I had a few saving graces for this task, as working with about 1800 tiny squares can become arduous:
- Firstly, the ¼” presser foot makes sewing patchwork seams a breeze. Fabric just glides along the foot edge so sewing goes a bit faster than usual.
- Using the knee lift is speedy and keeps one’s hands free to handle the fabric.
- The automatic one-touch thread cutter keeps things rolling.
After adding batting and a backing fabric, my next task was quilting. I opted for straight lines for the background, running the lines of stitching straight down the middle of each column of squares. This was a very simple task with no measuring involved. The AcuFeed dual-feed foot that I was using lined up perfectly with the sides of my squares, so I could just eyeball the sewing all the way along.
It takes me a while to figure out how I’d like to quilt my quilts. I need to look at them for a while. I know that I’m going to do some simple free motion quilting on the apple and leaf, nothing too distracting from the piecing, but that’s as far as I’ve got in the process. As I have quilted to the edges, I chose to bind it already in one of my own fabrics, the graphic Mountain and Valley.
If you would like to create a similar apple of your own, here is the graphic that I created that Big Juicy Quilt Layout (for personal use only).