Kickstarter.

I am so excited to let you all know about my Kickstarter project, Quilted Tarot!

Quilted Tarot is a project where I’ll be making a wall-hanging quilt for each of the major arcana cards, photographing them, and turning them into physical decks.

If you don’t know much about tarot, or if you’re a tarot purist, many people use and create major arcana-only decks. There are many spreads you can use with only the major arcana, which will be included in the guidebook I’m writing to go along with the deck.

If you’re not into tarot and are only into quilting, this could be an interesting project to support from an artistic standpoint. The beautiful thing about quilting is that there is so much that can go into it – there’s the design of the piecing, the fabric, and the quilting itself that can all have deep and important symbolism for each card.

I’ve officially finished designing all the quilts for the major arcana! If you interested in this project, please take a look and support! If you know of anyone who is into tarot or quilting, it could be a great gift or just letting them know about it would be so great.

Here’s a video I made of all the designs except for the World, which is below, as I had finished it later.

The World card design

Thank you so much for taking a look! I’m really excited about this project. Kickstarter selected this project as a Project We Love, which I feel so honored by and I hope this gets funded.

Please follow this link to Quilted Tarot, or watch the video for the project, below.

Quilted Tarot on Kickstarter

Thank you again. I love you.

Love, Madeleine

Gay pride: Part 2.

In honor of Pride month, let’s make a lesbian pride flag!

Lesbian flag: the goal
Lesbian flag: the top
Lesbian flag: the result

I did this using scraps I had on hand, but you just need 3.5″ strips of purple, pink, white, orange, and red that are about 26″ long.

When the strips come together, it’ll measure 15.25″ ish. Therefore, the backing should be 15.25″ x 26″.

I didn’t make a quilt technically, there’s no batting or quilting.

To secure the flag to the fence, I sewed velcro to the backing and used double sided tape on the fence. Now, if I need to take it down or if I make something else I want to put up, I just have to put some Velcro on it!

What are you making for pride month?

Love, Madeleine

Scrap block tutorial.

I originally found this block on Pinterest but the website for it is now down. It’s a great way to use some of your larger, or at least longer, scraps!

The quilt I made is a throw measuring about 60″x60″. Each finished block is about 10.5″x10.5″.

Finished throw quilt with this block

Step one: Cut your scraps to size

You’re going to need 8 strips of equal size per block, which will be sewn into two squares.  So, I chose 2.5″ x 8.5″, so when they were sewn together it came to 2 squares measuring 8.5″ x 8.5″.  However, if you have smaller scraps you would like to use, just do some math and make sure when sewn together with a 1/4″ seam, it comes to a square.

Step two: Sew into Squares

Here are the two squares measuring 8.5″x8.5″ I have when I sewed the strips together.  Keep in mind that when choosing your order of strips, the two strips in the middle will be the colors in the middle of the block when it’s done.  So, skip ahead to see what I mean, but if you want the colors to match in the finished block, you’ll want the colors to match in the order of the strips.

I personally want them to match, so mine match.

Step three: Sew squares together

Make sure the squares are right sides together and are perpendicular to each other.
Sew a 1/4″ seam on each side.

Step four: Cut

Cut twice diagonally.

Step five: Arrange pieces

Now, here you can see why I had the two colors in the middle of each square match.  You can arrange these however you’d like, but this is how I’m doing it.  Actually, now that I think about it, it would look very cute to have the middle one color and the rest of the block an alternate color!

Step six: Sew rows

Step seven: Complete your block!

I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial! Comment below if you have any questions or comments!

Love, Madeleine

Quilt podcasts.

If you’re a quilter and are as into podcasts as I am, you’ll appreciate knowing a few of the best quilting podcasts out there. At least, the best ones I’ve found and listen to. Follow the links below to have a listen.

Craft Industry Alliance Podcast – This podcast isn’t just about quilting and quilters, though it does have quilters on as guests on occasion. I started listening to it when it was the While She Naps podcasts, but it has since been rebranded. The core of the show is about how to run a creative business and different makers’ journeys to that end. Abby Glassenberg is a great, gentle host who has great questions and is genuinely interested in what her guest is saying. I love the conversations.

Simple. Handmade. Everyday. – Kristen Esser is the host of this solo podcast. She has a few different sections were she talks about quilting, what she’s reading and watching, and generally how to keep a home. Sometimes she gets into other topics as well, but those are the main ones. She has a soothing voice and her episodes inspire me to quilt, yes, but also to do other things I probably should be doing more, like cleaning.

The Quilters Circle Podcast – Ashley Hough is the host who interviews different quilters about their quilting lives. I love these kinds of podcasts. They’re just straight interviews where you get to learn a lot.

American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast – Of magazine fame, this podcast is hosted by Lindsay Maylin and she talks to other magazine staff about various quilting topics. My favorite section of the shows are the Getting Sewcial segments where a quilter is interviewed. I also very much enjoy the Quilting Changes Everything segments where a philanthropic quilt story is shared. The tips and tricks are always fun to listen to as well.

Running Stitch, A QSOS Podcast – This is the newest podcast I’ve found and it might be my favorite. Quilters S.O.S. is the Save Our Stories project, which is an oral history project created by the nonprofit Quilt Alliance in 1999. The quilters are interviewed by the host, Janneken Smucker, but there are also segments of previous interviews either with the quilter or on the subject from the QSOS project. There aren’t very many episodes at the moment, but what there are include First Quilts, Quilts and Activism, Quilts and Civil Rights, among other important and meaningful topics.

Comment below with your thoughts on these podcasts. Do you have any other favorite quilting podcasts?

Love, Madeleine

My second quilt.

How it’s made

It wasn’t too much longer after my first quilt that I made this one.

I have a system for designing quilts now, but at the time I still pretty much shot from the hip. I found quilts on Pinterest.com that I liked and tried to copy them.

Found on Pinterest.com, the exact designer and maker of this quilt is unknown

As you can see, I only did an ok job.

The interlocking hearts was the goal, so since I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) use such small pieces, I decided to just embroider the idea over the two colors. But first, I had to base the colors on something and since this was my older sister’s wedding gift, I decided that was a good place to start. My sister’s favorite colors other than grey include the greens, which was easy to know since I’ve known her for a while. Her future husband’s favorite colors are blue, and therefore I chose these greens and blues for the hearts, each representing the individual. The greys represent their future life together and the opposite color is on either side of the hearts to show further the interlocking of their lives. Symbolism.

The first thing I did before picking out the fabrics or cutting was to find the backing. Similar to my first quilt, I went to a thrift store and found a queen-size flat sheet. This sheet was perfect for my sister because it was grey and made of jersey fabric, which always reminds me of her. Unfortunately for me, jersey is not the easiest fabric to work with and I didn’t know about basting yet either, so I’m sure the back isn’t very pretty to this day. But the nice thing about not knowing anything is that you’re not afraid to do these things. And so, I bought the perfect backing.

This quilt was before I discovered the rotary cutter and the ability to cut not only in straight lines but also bothering to make the blocks the same size. The fact that it came together as well as it did is a miracle.

Knowing that I needed to create seam allowances at this point, I overcompensated from my first one and sewed a 1/2″ seam allowance, which if you’re a quilter you know is double what a quilter will sew. And the top didn’t fall apart, I’ll tell you that much.

I decided to tie quilt because I didn’t think machine quilting or hand quilting was something I could do yet. After sewing the binding by folding the backing over to the front, I sewed cross stitches along the edges. And I was done!

Why it’s made

So, I made this quilt for my older sister as her wedding gift.

I love my sister the way I image most younger sisters love their older sisters. I wanted to be just like her when we were little and as we got older and she went to college and we grew apart, I missed her.

She had been with her now husband for quite a long time by the time they got married and the fact they were getting married wasn’t a surprise; it was a matter of time. But that wasn’t why I wanted to make something special for her. I wanted to make her this quilt rather than getting her a blender because I wanted to express to her how much she means to me. She’s who I looked up to and even though we haven’t lived in the same city in a while, I still love her and want to have a close relationship with her.

What was the first quilt you made for someone you love? Comment below!

Love, Madeleine

Importance of textiles.

[Textile arts] may be viewed as the products of technology, as cultural symbols, as works of art, or as items of trade.  The textile arts are a fundamental human activity, expressing symbolically much of what is valuable in any culture.

Randall Frost, The Significance of Textiles

Textile arts are one of the oldest forms of arts and crafts in human culture.  Textile arts include any kind of art that uses plant, animal, or synthetic fibers to create functional and decorative items.  Anthropologists estimate that early humans created textile pieces for practical purposes, such as for clothing or blankets, as much as 100,000 to 500,000 years ago.  As human culture and thought became more complex, so too did the art created from textiles.

As textiles have been a core of human culture, they have also been core to economic trade throughout the ages.  For example, the Silk Road trade routes brought Chinese silk to India, Africa, and Europe.  Wealthy individuals could obtain these imported textiles for clothing as well as decorative wall hangings, floor coverings, and furniture.  The Industrial Revolution and the invention of such contraptions as the cotton gin lowered the price of textiles so that more of society beyond the wealthy could afford to purchase textiles.  This created the advent of experimentation with textiles outside those of practical objects as was previously seen.

It is important here to mention the feminist and racial history of textile arts, especially in the United States.  Textiles arts have traditionally been considered women’s work, and still to this day the majority of persons who engage with this art form are women.  In fact, engaging with textile arts to this day can identify someone as a member of a particular social class, gender, or status in society.  In the 1960s and 1970s, female-identified artists began to reclaim the field of textile art and elevate it to a form of high art.

The mention of the cotton gin could bring any educated person to a thought of slavery.  The modern cotton gin was invented in 1793 by Eli Whitney, during a time of racist and forced slavery in the United States.  Eli Whitney was an inventor who by all accounts came up with the idea for the gin from a slave only known as Sam whose father developed a comb mechanism to separate cotton from the seed. Whitney simply turned this mechanism into a machine.  Without Whitney’s stolen idea, slavery was thought to die out in the United States. However, the cotton gin allowed for plantation slavery to explode: an estimated 4,000,000 humans were subjugated to slavery between the invention and the Civil War in 1861 through 1865. Truly, slavery didn’t fully end until the last slaves were notified of the passage of the 13th Amendment, months after the end of the war, on June 19, 1865.

Understanding this history and how interconnected our cotton is to slavery in the United States requires textile artists to hold anti-racist ideas. 

Anti-racism can be defined as some form of focused and sustained action, which includes inter-cultural, inter-faith, multi-lingual and inter-abled (i.e. differently abled) communities with the intent to change a system or an institutional policy, practice, or procedure which has racist effects.

Anti-racism Digital Library

Arts, crafts, and other creative outlets involving textiles owe much to the labor of the Black community.  This debt can never be repaid, but I will strive to create a space where textile arts are safe for all artists.

To start, here are two organizations I know of doing good work in the quilting space: WCQN and Color of Connection.

In the beginning, all textile art pieces were made by hand and thus were intensely laborious.  Modern use of machines and tools, such as the cotton gin and the sewing machine, has made the process less tedious. With these advances, textile arts are less often a necessity and can be an art of relaxation and creativity.  Textile art includes any artistic process that uses textiles, including: weaving, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, sewing, dyeing, quilting, and various other needle arts not mentioned.

My textile art of choice is quilting, but I also do embroidery and crochet on occasion. What is your favorite textile art? What has textile arts meant to you? Comment below!

Love, Madeleine

My first quilt.

How it’s made.

In the About section, I describe this quilt as a disaster. By quilters’ standards, that is absolutely accurate, but in the end it did end up as a quilt, so, what’s a disaster now? I didn’t follow any quilting rule or common practice and I ended up with an object that is unique, adorable, and fully my own.

The reason for the “disaster” word is that I had no idea what I was doing. I decided to make a full-sized quilt solely because I found a flannel sheet at a thrift store and it was a full-size flat sheet.

Step one: I started by cutting the shapes out of the t-shirts that I wanted to use. Yes, instead of cutting rectangular shapes that will easily go together, I cut around the images haphazardly with the hope that I would be able to put these random shapes together like a puzzle. After cutting out most of the shapes and trying to put them together, I did realize how this was silly. Thankfully, I hadn’t finished cutting out all the shapes and I had some shirts in my closet I was hoping to not cut up and ending up using anyway. Oh well.

Step two of having not a clue happened when I sewed the rectangular, non-cut up pieces together. Most, no, all quilters use a 1/4″ seam allowance. I think I used something like a 1/8″ seam allowance because I had no idea what a seam allowance was. Further, promptly after sewing the pieces, I put the top in the wash. You see, I had a table but for some unknown reason I opted to sewing on the floor. I also had two dogs. This was a hairy situation. I might have washed it a bunch of times actually, I don’t remember, but lo and behold, the seams were separating.

Step three took so long and was so labor intensive. Instead of going back and sewing larger seam allowances I decided to fix this by hand. I took size 8 pearl cotton and proceeded to cross stitch along the seams. Did it turn out very cute? Yes. Was it worth it? Sure.

Step four also took forever and was also a very cute choice. I decided to hand embroider all the odd-shaped pieces to the quilt top, which in itself isn’t a terrible idea. Not knowing what I was doing, I didn’t secure the pieces down at all. See the blue octopus-looking guy in the middle? Notice how part of him is scrunched up in one section? Also, notice how nothing is straight and everything looks sloppy? This is thanks to not securing the pieces down before trying to embroider them. However, a word I could use instead of “sloppy” is “charming” because damn. I think it’s very cute.

Once the top was done, step five if your counting, was to put together the quilt sandwich. “Basting” was not a word in my vocabulary, so I didn’t. I also couldn’t afford to buy new batting at the time and used batting scraps my mom happened to have on hand. “Binding” (step six) was also not a word in my vocabulary, but I did manage to fold the edges and sew them down.

Finally, to quilt the layers, I had to lay the quilt on the floor and secure the sandwich without any of the layers shifting. Not yet knowing any method other than tying it, I tied the quilt with far too few knots so that now after washing a number of times the batting is bunched in a few places.

Done.

Why it’s made.

I shared the above because I didn’t know anything and I didn’t do anything right. Despite this, I am so proud of how the quilt came out. If some of the shirts used weren’t so old they’re starting to fall apart, I would still use the quilt to this day.

That’s because, for one, it’s cute and I put a lot of work into it, but for two, each of the shirts included in this quilt had special significance to me. When I moved out of my parents’ house when I went to college, for some reason I took some of these shirts. I took shirts that didn’t even fit anymore. Some of them I’ve had since middle school.

A t-shirt quilt is such a special thing. It might not be as technically difficult as some other quilts, but every single piece of fabric in it holds meaning. In fact, a t-shirt quilt is the perfect entry point for anyone to quilting because it’s not technically difficult. I literally sewed my pieces sitting on the floor needing only to know how to sew straight lines.

What was your first quilt like? Did you take a class or did you just go for it like I did? Comment below!

Love, Madeleine

Hello.

I have decided to start this website and blog to track my quilts and my life.

I love designing and making these objects that have so much cultural importance. The act of making rather than purchasing an object is a precious thing. I’m located in the United States, and too often our capitalism has ripped this preciousness away from us. I’m hoping to show everyone the power of making – it is therapy, it is comforting, and it is a force for both individual expression and community engagement.

Of course I’m going to write posts about my quilts, the process and the product, but I also hope to write about what quilts and quilting mean to me and other parts of my life as well. I hope to connect with the quilting community in a meaningful way and anyone else who stumbles across this website. Feel free and indeed welcome to comment anything you’d like. This website is an expression and a documentation for me but I hope it will become more for the community as well.

Welcome.