Hungarian Picnic

Summer, sunshine, picnics in the park – what could be better? Well, I would add happy memories to that list and for me, some of those are showcased in “Hungarian Picnic”, my latest project for Quiltmania’s Simply Vintage magazine. I’m happy to share that it’s featured in the Summer 2018 issue!

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Hungarian Picnic, image courtesy of Simply Vintage, Summer 2018

Now, I don’t usually think of my quilting style as “vintage” and this is my first time in this particular edition by Quiltmania, but I guess if I think of vintage like good old Webster does as “of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality” I’ll go with it! I think the folks at Quiltmania were spot on yet again with the photography and styling of this project. It evokes warm memories for me – and of a very special time in my life when I lived in Hungary.

I don’t have the honor of actually being Hungarian, I’m more of a voluntary adopted daughter! I was there teaching English for a year after college but really spent most of my time soaking in all of the “gulyas leves” that I could, learning about a beautiful, rich European culture, and loving the spirited and generous people I was surrounded by.

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Hungarian Picnic, by Tonya Alexander/Quilted by Tracey Fisher

One of the simplest things that reminds me of that time of my life are the beautiful motifs found in Hungarian embroidery and pottery. My luggage was full of both when I made my way home and I always find the colors and forms inspiring. This project seemed like the perfect way to feature some of those.

Each region in Hungary is represented by it’s own unique style of embroidery. This design is inspired by and is reminiscent of iconic motifs notably from the area of Kalocsa. See the little red pepper in the border? That’s the tell-tale sign of Kalocsa embroidery and it’s symbolic of Hungary’s probably most famous export – paprika!HP_1

Project construction features quick and easy, scrappy nine-patch blocks set with a single “solid-ish” background fabric. I chose to do wool felt applique for a rustic but bright and colorful applique border – stitched by hand during the summer on my front porch, no less! You could, of course, substitute any favorite applique technique, switch out for cotton fabrics, fuse, needle-turn, take your pick!

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I am an absolute convert to free-form feather motif quilting featured on this project by Tracey Fisher. I think she was a little skeptical when I said I wanted feathers all over this since she knows traditional feathers aren’t my norm, but fortunately she obliged and added her amazing talent and free-form styling. Now I can’t imagine it any other way! I think the feathered quilting echoes the embroidery forms across the field of grid nine patch blocks in a particularly pleasing way for me.

So, if you already subscribe to the always beautiful and inspiring Quiltmania publications, you’re in luck, you hopefully already have your copy. Or, look for Simply Vintage at your favorite local quilt shop before they sell out –  they’d love to see your smiling face 🙂

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Happy summer stash quilting,

Tonya

Family Tree

Family trees come in all shapes, forms, and sizes and so does this “Family Tree”, my latest project for Quiltmania’s Simply Moderne magazine. I’m happy to share that it’s featured in the new Summer 2018 issue!

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Family Tree, image courtesy of Simply Moderne Summer 2018

Now, I know typically family trees aren’t this bright or bold, but when I think of all of the colorful characters and fun family memories that make up my own family tree – this doesn’t seem so far off! Really, it’s about the vibrant colors of life that it represents.

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I dove deep into the scrap bucket for this one using an assortment of bright prints as well as solids for the leaves and nested them in a mix of black/white print fabrics. The stack of black/white fabrics on my stash shelf was the result of a fun shop-hop fabric hunt. I love a mission – especially when there’s fabric shopping involved! Mixing brights with black/white prints is a go-to combo that will always look great, no matter which colors you choose.

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For carefree summer quilting, I opted for fusible applique and finished with a machine blanket stitch in matching threads for the leaves. The bright pop of hot pink of the flange binding adds another layer of interest to this project and keeps the black print fabrics from feeling too heavy or serious. It’s a surprisingly simple technique and a fun one to try if you haven’t before.

The quilting was a bit of a lark on this one. I echo quilted around all of the leaves and then changed up the quilting motifs in each of the squares.  Black and white fabrics are very forgiving so give yourself permission to mix them up and try something new – remember, this is supposed to be fun!

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So, if you already subscribe to the always beautiful and inspiring Quiltmania publications, you’re in luck – check your mailbox and it should be there any day. Or, look for Simply Moderne at your favorite local quilt shop on shelves soon – they’d love to see you’re smiling face 🙂 FamilyTreeCouv-SM13-GB

Happy summer scrap quilting,

Tonya