Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fat quarters, stashes and stitches ...

Typical pile on a quilter's floor

"Fat quarters, stashes and stitches
are part our quilting festivities"

That's the headline on my column this week in the Peninsula Gateway. It's a little tutorial for the general readership on the nuts and bolts and art of quilting in honor of numerous quilting events that are taking place in Gig Harbor in September and October. You should be able to read the column on-line by clicking here:

I'm posting a few photos for non-quilting readers who might wander this way. First, some STASH photos:

Quilters love to organize fabric in baskets ...

and in drawers ...

We save the tiniest scraps.

Quilt stores carry "charm packets," little squares of coordinating fabric perfect for putting together a quilt with dozens of different fabrics.

This is a "layer cake," a packet of coordinating fabric
cut in 10-inch squares.
Another great marketing idea.

But there's more than fabric in a quilter's stash:

Yarn is great for adding texture.

Chocolate candy wrappers come in all colors,
plus they're nice and shiny!

A friend helping me in my old "studio,"
which was a corner of the living room.

My column talks about the difference between traditional and art quilts. Here are some examples of traditional quilts:

One of my quilt groups makes these quilts
to donate to cancer patients.
Note the repeating block patterns.

A friend at a quilt retreat arranges blocks on the design wall.

Me, a LONG time ago in front of one of my traditional quilts using the "Hole In the Barn Door" block. It's also called "Churn Dash" and "Monkey Wrench" among others.

A pile of "crazy quilt" blocks -- another traditional technique.
Elaborate hand embroidery and beading
are part of crazy quilts.

And now for some art quilts, which are made purely as art, not as bed coverings:

"Chocolate Nirvana in Red," by Sherrie Spangler
This one uses chocolate candy wrappers
-- I had to eat a lot, but it was worth it.

"Garden Gone Wild," by Sherrie Spangler
Here is where all that yarn comes in handy.

Yours truly again, this time with two of my art quilts. I'm wearing some of my yarn in a sweater that I knitted. I accidentally felted the sweater and now it's about the size of my head.

"Starfish Rising," by Sherrie Spangler
(Currently on tour with West Coast Wonders quilt exhibit)

This art quilt uses beads, hand-dyed embroidery floss
and hand-painted fabric.

Detail above shows a quilt with purposely exposed batting
(the fluffy white patch) and dangling gold thread tails.

Quilting stitches add another layer of design
on top of the fabric.

I hope this helped illustrate everything I discussed in my column.

But what's a fat quarter?

Answer: Normally when you have a piece of fabric cut at the store, it is cut clear across the width of the fabric as it comes off the bolt (usually about 44 inches for quilt fabric). So if you asked for "a quarter yard," you would get a piece about 44 inches wide by 9 inches long. But a "fat quarter" is cut across half the width, so it's about 22 x 18 inches. You get the same amount of fabric, but in a different shape. Most regular fabric stores won't cut fat quarters, but any quilt store worth its stash does.

Have a colorful day!


maria said...


Interesting blog.

My mom did a lot of crazy quilts when I was growing up.


Judys Fiber Art said...

Loved reading your article for the paper. Pretty accurate, I would say. So glad that there is room for traditional and art quilts in most exhibits now days.

suziqu's thread works said...

Hi Sherrie - my first visit here thanks to Judy Ferguson. I am a crazy quilt fan and I thought that was a great little expose into quilting. You obviously adore colour just as I do. Your work is fantastic!

BarbsBlog said...

The woman who dies with the most fabrics (fibers, art supplies, etc) wins!!! Can't believe I have that same basket in your fiber picture... filled with yarn in my library!