Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I’ve been playing again.
I’ve been making smaller versions of the Sugar Block of the Month Club blocks. This project is partly inspired by fact that Amy Gibson has left final quilt design up to each quilter. That set me to thinking about how I could do something different and interesting with twelve pretty basic blocks. Around the same time I took a look at the March lesson from the Craftsy Block of the month, and Laura Nownes was talking about drafting and using it to resize a block.
Though I’m pretty comfortable with quilt math and don’t generally bother to draw everything out, this seemed like a good exercise to work on in front of the TV. The drawing above is for the quarter size block. That is, I reduced a 12 x 12 finished block to a 6 x 6 finished block.
Here is the same scaled down version of the January block.
Apparently some quilters are afraid of drafting, and that’s a shame because it can hold you back from designing your own quilts. The truth is, if you can draw it on eight to the inch graph paper, you can figure out how to cut it out with a quarter inch seam allowance. If you have never attempted drafting, just take a look at the March installment of the 2013 Craftsy Block of the Month. You will be surprised at how simple it can be. Then get busy thinking up your own blocks.
I kind of thought I was done with this experiment, but then I got to doodling and decided to draw a  3 x 3 block.
It seemed doubtful that I could manage crisp points on something so small, but voila! I think it would be fun to use all twelve blocks in three different sizes with quite a lot of negative space in between them all. It sure could lead to interesting quilting possibilities.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March On

It has been a gorgeous early  March day here in Atlanta and I've spent as much of it outside as I could manage. This morning our sweet Lady and I had a long walk around the neighborhood. She was determined to prowl a run down street at the edge of the neighborhood where she is likely to uncover discarded chicken bones, but I prevailed and kept us on prettier streets.
Then a wonderful friend who helped me to learn all about native plants and gardening in the South came to visit. We walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch, and had a peak at my sad post winter garden. The weeds are thriving from winter rains and a singular lack of attention on my part. I love gardening and especially like to watch the spring garden come to life, but for now at least my passion is focused in the studio with fabric and thread.
Which leads me to my third outdoor pursuit on this beautiful day. I photographed some quilt blocks. Following lessons learned from Caro Sheridan's Craftsy class "Shoot It! A Product Photography Primer", I found a spot with bright shade and an interesting but non-distracting background, hung up my closeline and went to work.
This is the Craftsy 2013 Block of the Month for March. I love the way the reds and oranges play off each other to create an optical illusion of  three dimensions. 

here is a closeup of the fabric which is from Robert Kaufman's Spot On collection

And this is the March block from Amy Gibson's Sugar Block Club.

Each of these blocks is so crisp and dramatic, it's hard to imagine what the finished quilt will look like. Amy is leaving the final composition up to each quilter. I have some ideas - thinking about making lots of additional blocks in quarter size and then using them as sashing. As my mother would have said, "We shall see".

And this is a good example of why you need to be aware of shadows and sunlight. It's a terrible product photo, but it does give you a sense of what a great day we had going on. Spring really is the best season Atlanta has to offer, and I'm going to have to find a way to balance outdoor time with my desire to be in the studio. Did I mention the studio is in the basement? And it has small little windows? Right. 

Monday, March 4, 2013


Do you remember when I was whining about my overflowing stash of remnants? Even after making



and a mug rug

I still had all of this left from the Ella’s Wish line.
Well I have just two words for you…

Charm Swap!

There goes the last of the green from that project,

and the greens from the Off Center Baby Quilt,

and a bit of the green from the Amy Gibson Craftsy Block of the Month.

Wow. That was kinda cathartic. We're going to have to do this more often.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fabric Friday: Canvas

Canvas [kan-vuhs] is a name given many fabrics. A closely woven cloth usually of cotton, but sometimes of hemp or linen, it is made in a variety of weights and is used for apparel, tents, outdoor furnishings, and sails (called sailcloth). 
It became popular after WWII for bags, sneakers, and casual wear. It is also stretched on frames and used by artists for oil paintings (artist canvas). 

Generally, canvas is printed after weaving, but some yarn dyed product is also available, especially awning stripe. 

Though an equally heavyweight cotton, canvas is different from denim because it is a plain weave rather than a twill weave.

The name duck is sometimes used interchangeably with canvas, but it is actually a type of canvas with a very tight weave mostly used for clothing and accessories. 

Another type of canvas is called drill, which is used for awnings, tents, etc. Ada or java canvas is made with an open weave and used as a base for needlework, as are cross-stitch or penelope. Hair canvas is an interfacing material. The finest grade of canvas is called mosaic.

Royal Navy Canvas and Merchant Navy Canvas in England are made in accordance with strict specifications, as is the United States Government Navy Canvas. 

In the U.S. canvas is graded either by weight (from 5 to 50 ounces per square yard) or by number running reverse to weight. That is, if a canvas is a number 10, it will be lighter than a number 5. The word canvas is derived from the Latin word cannabis (or hemp) which was the fiber for early canvas fabrics.