Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Tips and Tutorials Tuesday - 3D Aloe Plant Appliqué

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl used to run a special linkup called Tips and Tutorials Tuesday, which is still a great collection of useful resources on her blog, so if I'm going to publish a tutorial, why not do it on a Tuesday?


My Funky Succulents quilt is, essentially, a reimagined Succulents Sampler just to show a different possible layout for the 3D appliqué. I made it before teaching a workshop on this technique, but in it I decided to replace the snake plant with the aloe for a change. So, the aloe was not covered in the workshop and to make up for that I shot step-by-step images of the process; it's about time to get them out.

So here we go. Make your own cute little succulent in a pot, it can be wall art on its own or a part of something bigger, and I hope it will give you ideas for more fun stuff. Best thing is - it's really really easy.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Floating Squares

It's been a long time since I updated the blog as I find Instagram more immediate and less time-consuming (if you are there, I'm @lena.pugachova, please have a look, say hi and follow to see what's going on). However, sometimes I feel the pics are not enough and I want to tell at least something of the story.

I rarely make large bed quilts and I always find the process daunting, especially quilting them on my little Janome. In this case I had the additional complication of very limited time. I had planned it for long time and chosen the fabric long time ago - it's Summer Flowers batiks layer cake by Robert Kaufman Fabrics and I added it to my wishlist at www.fatquartershop.com as soon as I saw it, because I know my sister-in-law loves sunflowers and I thought she would love the colours, too. The quilt was meant for her birthday.

 I bought the fabric in Black Friday sales, but I only started making the quilt in February, what with moving house and setting up a new sewing spot, which is now in the bedroom, in a sunny recess under a big south-facing window (the master bedroom, btw, is in the converted attic, don't ask me why, that's what "house type E" is laid out like). I have here a large IKEA table with plenty of drawers for all the bits and pieces.

So, because I had limited time and also because I didn't want to cut the fabric too much as it has some lovely large-scale patterns, I chose a simple pattern, one of those Gaye Grant demonstrated at the IPS Eastern Branch some time ago. Making the blocks was a breeze and even putting them together with the sashing wasn't too bad, it's the quilting that I was dreading as I had the whole thing laid out on the living room floor (with very little space left to walk around :))

Top tip: two layer cakes plus two yards of sashing fabric make a quilt big enough for a double bed; here it is on my bed for scale:

I decided to quilt it with the walking foot in flowy curvy lines to balance out the straight lines and squares. It was still hard and it isn't perfect, but I like the effect.

Another shortcut I took was machine-stitching the back of the binding. Usually, I hand-stitch it, but given the "mileage" here, I decided to go with the machine.

All in all, I managed to finish it in time, and even had a day to take some photos and wash it. After washing, the quilting texture became more pronounced and the whole thing looks scrunchy-er and fluffier.

Some more photos if you haven't had enough (I couldn't get a full straight-on photo as I couldn't possibly hang it straight anywhere):

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, 31 January 2020

Funky Succulents

I finished this piece some time ago with the then-upcoming 3D workshop in mind, now the workshop is finished (and a great day all in all!) it's about time to publish it.

It is really a variation of the Succulents Sampler, with most of the plants the same, but just a different idea for layout, giving each little character more space to shine (and a brighter pot).

The Cactus:

The Echeveria:

The Aloe:

And the Fern:

As the aim here was not to use a different technique for each, the aloe is made in the same way as the echeveria and, because it was not covered in my workshop, I will be posting a tutorial on it shortly, watch this space.

I wrote about the background and quilting of it earlier here.

I really love how bright and funny they turned out, but to appreciate the 3D nature of them you really need to see them in person, it's hard to judge in the photos. Let's try to look at them from different angles:

Hope that adds a little bit of brightness to your day, especially if it's winter where you are.

Linking up to:
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie

Can I get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, 15 November 2019


It is most fitting to post about this quilt today as we are going to see the production of Swan Lake by Ballet Ireland tonight.

It was made for the IPS exhibition on the theme "There's always one" that took place as a part of the Knitting and Stitching Show last weekend. I thought long about the possible interpretations of the theme, and most of what came to mind was humorous, I don't know why I opted for the more sinister idea in the end.

It is done as raw edge appliqué, without bonda web or anything, as I thought the frayed edges would render the feathers and the whole surreal experience better. So the figures are quilted at the same time as they are appliquéd, so that stitching adds to the shape and detailing.

I also love how the background fabrics work here - Fossil Fern, one of my favourite collections ever - it has splashes and feathery fern leaves, all you can wish for to render the turmoil of the transformation.

I quilted the background in swirls and spirals to add more movement.

We went to see it in the exhibition, which was great - so many different interpretations and different techniques used. You can see some images from the exhibition on IPS Facebook page.

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Sunday, 3 November 2019


Another backlog piece that I made in a hurry and had no time to post about. It was made for the "Threads without borders" EQA challenge and it got into the Festival of Quilts EQA gallery in summer.

The idea was to represent the Earth as a cosmic ball of yarn, with all sorts of stuff intertwined and brought together so that it cannot be pulled apart.

The hardest thing, as it often happens, was selecting the fabrics to form the gradients of colour for each "strand" so that they finally come together as white. The top is all machine-pieced, so putting it together did't take a long time.

The quilting is also simple, with parallel curvy lines to suggest some sort of yarn texture, and the background is quilted in spirals (which is hard to see in the photos, I know).

I like the way those "strands" draw you into the center, and the fact that they can be interpreted as roads or something else. I don't often do abstract pieces, but this one was fun.

I was lucky to catch it hanging at the Festival of Quilts as a part of the Irish exhibit (each country had three quilts on display). One the one hand,  they looked really cool together and set Ireland apart from the rest of the gallery; on the other hand, mine was definitely the weakest link, as Tomomi's and Paula's ones are brilliant both conceptually and technically.

Linking up to: Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie

Monday, 21 October 2019

Baby Butterflies

I was very good this summer and got out several UFO projects to turn into baby quilts. Here is a glimpse of my design wall at the peak of activity:

The blue and white had been packed away as a top for about four years, now it's finished and donated to a charity (Heart Children Ireland). I didn't even take photos of it finished, but I really like it.

The buttefly blocks for a long time were my go-to samples for the curve piecing workshop, the orange one features in the curve-piecing tutorial here on the blog. Now the time has come to put them to good use, so I made them into another baby quilt (just in time for a little baby girl born last week).

I used some of the butterfly fabrics to make an improv curve-pieced border (as the corner blocks have actually also been used for a workshop demo).

 As I like bed quilts to be soft, I did very little quilting, a couple of lines in the wings in matching threads...

... and overall loops with tiny stylised butterflies in white.

(Not sure you can actually see the quilting as everything is so bright and busy)

Monday, 14 October 2019

The Year Round

I didn't realise that I haven't yet posted anything about the quilt I made last February for our branch exhibition "Seasons in the Park". The reason I remembered about it is that I have recently taken out the quilt in question to put it on the wall for its seasonal stunt.

In one of the previous posts I showed the process of making the background for it, it's a mosaic of 1'' (finished) squares and the technique is described in my tutorial here (it's not my idea, it's a technique all around the internet). The fun of it was playing with the colours and creating a nice watercolour-like colour transition.

I quilted the background in a kind of organic stippling in matching threads and then made a simple appliqué on top trying not to overwhelm the background, just add a little interest.

I used two different techniques for creating the 3D elements. The spring part, cherry blossom petals are made with synthetic chiffon, with the edges melted on a tea-light, which not only seals the edge, but also makes the shape curl like a real petal. Some of the petals are sewn onto the background with invisible thread and some are attached to it with a short piece of invisible thread, so they move around with any movement of the air.

The autumn leaves are made of quilting cottons treated with PVA glue to seal the edge as well and make them stiffer and able to hold the shape better. some are also hanging on invisible threads.

All in all, I really like how it turned out, the subtlety of it (which is not usually my style, to be honest).

The exhibition this quilt was in turned out really lovely, too. It took place in the Phoenix Park Visitor center, in a large room with stone walls, which set out the quilts really well. The light was not too good for photography, but spotlights on the quilts lit them well. If you want to have a look at other quilts from the show, they are in the gallery on our branch's website.

Linking up to Can I get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...