Florabunda! by RJR Fabrics and ‘Connect the Dots’

I am calling this quilt, ‘Connect the Dots!’, because it does just that!

I made this quilt with several intentions in mind. First, I wanted to demonstrate how Florabunda! can be used. Then, I wanted to make connections with the offerings of my good friends.

This quilt pairs Florabunda! with Jamie Fingal’s Hopscotch. Hopscotch is a huge line of low volume prints in a plethora of colors and values. It was easy to choose fabrics from this line. Jamie’s prints help elevate the visual impact of Florabunda!

I couldn’t be happier to say, Jamie is a good friend of mine. Using her fabrics alongside mine is meaningful to me in so many ways.

Jamie and I often meet up and share a meal with friends at Quilt Festival, retreats, and venues we might teach at together. I cherish the friendships and female connection these dinners cultivate. We all meet up, as friends and fellow artists, to laugh and toast. We celebrate milestones together. We are good friends. Jamie curates a show called Dinner at Eight along with Leslie Tucker Jenison (also on this Hop and an RJR Designer). Jamie shows up and makes good things happen. 

Then, I have been improving my more traditional quilting skills by exploring Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s books, taking her classes and using her templates. I used Victoria’s Bow Tie template to make ‘Connect the Dots’.

In making this quilt, I learned about and fell in love with sewing curves. I thank Victoria’s teach style and skill for this.

If ever, you have told yourself that, ‘curves are too difficult’ for you? Buy the Bow Tie template along with the Mirror Ball Pattern, read the pattern from start to finish, twice. Cut one block, sew one block. That’s it. That’s what I did. It’s so easy. I am disappointed I ever told myself curves were difficult. I could have been making dotty quilts a long time ago! 

All of which is to say, I see love, and female friendship, and a shared love of quilting, when I see these fabrics and templates used together.

This truly is  a #quiltwithlove connection. 

The other things I learned in the making of this quilt? 

  • free-motion stitch in the ditch <—useful! At one point, the dots were PUFFY, no more.
  • free motion machine quilting <— I had been on a matchstick quilting kick, no more.
  • Franken-batting <—I had several 2′ strips of cotton batting floating around, time to use it up!!! I did not know there was a great descriptive like this though, so. I am using it!

Don’t forget to check out my post about my June 2018 Quilty Box! I am hosting a Quilty Box GIVEAWAY and think you should win it! The Blue without You GIVEAWAY is still open too. Please leave comments on both posts. 

Check out the New Florabunda! Pinterest Board! So many pretty projects there!

Debby Brown is giving an A La Mode Cutie pattern away too! 

June 7–Tiffany Hayes
June 9–Sara Mika
June 10–Lyric Kinard
June 11–Kathy York
June 11–Teri Lucas
June 13—Tiffany Hayes
June 13–Jamie Fingal
June 14–Debby Brown
June 14–Heidi Kelly
June 15– David Gilleland
June 15—Melanie Testa <— Here!
June 16–Melanie Testa <— Right Here!

 

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Jamie Fingal uses Florabunda! by RJR Fabrics

Jamie Fingal is an artist, textile designer, friend, and fellow MistyFuse fanatic. Check out her FB and insta here. 

For the Florabunda! Blog Hop Celebration, Jamie contributed this 18×18″ square wall art piece, called  Hexi Spring. Knowing Jamie as I do, this a raw edge appliqué using Mistyfuse, our preferred fusible. 

Mistyfuse is an extremely light weight fusible webbing that comes in black, white and ultraviolet, read about the differences on the Mistyfuse web site. They also sell what they call a Goddess Sheet, which is a silicon ironing cloth, perfect for use with fusible webbing . The Goddes Sheet comes in many  sizes, you can cover an ironing board with one, an especially good thing for fusible fanatics! (I mention this because my Quilty Box offering contains -both- of these items. The web release of my Quilty Box will occur on the 16th).

But I would like to back up and say, I love that Jamie has photographed with great wall art piece by clipping to a gate! As you may know, I have begun to photograph my work in city setting, because well, I live in New York City!

Please check out Jamie’s post about working with Florabunda! here.


Check out my Instagram account to catch up on other Florabunda! GIVEAWAYS!! There are two on Insta! This one. And this one Remember to comment this post to win a copy of Tiffany Hayes, Blue without You! A pattern made specificlly for Florabunda!

And as a reminder, here are all the participants in the hop:

June 7–Tiffany Hayes

June 8–Deborah Boschert

June 9–Sara Mika

June 10–Lyric Kinard

*June 11–Kathy York 

June 11–Teri Lucas

*June 12Susan Brubaker Knapp  

June 12 Leslie Tucker Jenison 

*June 13—Tiffany Hayes 

June 13Jamie Fingal 

June 14–Debby Brown 

*June 14–Heidi Kelly 

June 15– David Gilleland 

June 15—Melanie Testa <— Here!
 
June 16–Melanie Testa <— Here!

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Random thoughts on fabric and quilting with Florabunda!

It has been so much fun learning to use Floribunda! in quilts. Florabunda! pairs nicely with other designer lines in the RJR Fabrics catalogue.  

For instance, I think it pairs beautifully with Jamie Fingal’s Hopscotch line, an expansive and colorful array of low volume, super-fun prints.  (Jamie is a Florabunda! Blog Hop Celebrant and her work will be featured soon).

I’ve made a bowtie quilt as my offering to the Hop (I will showcase this on the 16th), which combines both our lines. It feels good to know there are so many options to expand Florabunda!’s reach. 

Over the course of the last few months, I have made three or four quilt tops using Florabunda! and I am learning so much. The prints compliment and contrast to one another in interesting ways. Its allowed me an understanding of what I might do differently in designing and printing my next portfolio of textile designs. 🙂 I also see where I might interject more value options in the single color prints/low volume prints. 

To go from designing, carving, cutting, mixing, printing, securing a commercial line of fabrics, THEN, being able to use them in quilts? Build preferences? Figure out how better the next line of fabrics? This is a dream come true. This is my dream.

I have true #gratitude. #quiltwithlove 

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Stitches pile up, life and CraftNAPA: an update

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It has been more than 2 weeks since returning from the magical event called Craft NAPA. I feel blessed to have participated. I stood among friends, watched their connection to one another, ate chocolate covered strawberries and drank deep cups of coffee while also teaching and meeting new friends.

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This is the view from Pokey’s art barn. Like so many of you, I have watched the blazing beauty that Pokey spins wherever she goes. To watch her build this barn, to see Crafting a Life unfold, to participate in her first event is an amazing endeavor. I feel gratitude, and I am honored to know her and to be able to lend my talents to her efforts.

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Indigo Perez is such a lovely person. I have watched her unfurl her wings and fledge the nest of my good friend Judy over these last few years. I have to say, Indigo is so talented, such a good person, I couldn’t wait to hug her. 

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Here are Pokey, Larissa and I. Both of these women are crazy mad talented. Larissa took my, You Can’t Resist This! soy wax resist with paint class. Her color sense and use is amazing. Not to mention, she now owns a class sample I donated to raise funds for Okizu, an organization that helps families affected by childhood cancers. 

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Jamie Fingal, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Pokey, Judy Coates PerezJane LaFazio and I recreated a photograph we took perhaps 8 years ago at MIU in Long Beach Quilt Festival. What an amazing group of people. This photo mash up was taken by Jamie.

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Midge and Libby became fast friends. I now own pieces of art made by each of these women. Happy sigh.

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Cheryl Sleboda and I were able to connect too.  She is a powerhouse. Smart, sassy and fun. Go check out her website! I bought one of her skull tShirts!

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You Can’t resist This!! Class photo.

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Journal Embroidery class photo.

Unfortunately I did not get a photo of my Small Works/Big Impact class. I am sorry about that. 

My take away from participating in this great event? I can see Craft NAPA being a creative home away from home, one that I look forward to visiting yearly. The food offerings, 8 Noodle, OxBow Market, the Napa Valley Art store? The community and commeraderie in this event sparkled bright. I hope I am asked to teach again, and I would love to take a class too.

There are so many more photos that I could have put in this post. I think I am going to upload them to Facebook instead. 🙂 Great fun, friendship, learning, and wine blending! So good, I still feel the glow of having had a great time.


 

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Upon my return and in wanting to establish creative balance after the participating in this great event, I have been stitching away the days. I am compiling a new class content for The Clever Guild. It feels great to be engaged with my creative process again and I look forward to providing opportunities to connect and learn from one another. I hope you will follow along as I dust off the site and start having some fun with it.

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I am hoping a few of you might volunteer to take the class (for free-of course), I would love some help in making sure the content is amazing. Stitch work, questions and participation is required. If you are interested, please leave a comment on this post and I will contact you with more information.

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I have been pushing the limits of layering and stitch and am quite pleased with my results. The Gather your Sew-plies purse is a great format to learn about and play around with stitch. The main purse piece is 6×14″, which makes it large enough to make a great purse, but small enough that filling it with stitch is an enjoyable affair.

Please speak up if you would like to be on my Journal Stitch crew.


 

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And then we get caught up to last night, when Joules Evans arrived in Brooklyn to attend the opening at Site:Brooklyn called American Road Trip. This is the first time Joules has had a piece shown in a gallery, and for it to be a great Brooklyn Gallery is no small feat. Congratulations Joules.

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To celebrate Joules’s accomplishment, Isis Charise photographer of Grace, Joules and I attended the opening and then walked over to Bar Tano to toast, eat and be merry. These women have been a strength and a balm to me. 

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Life is better than good.

 

A video posted by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on