Whole Circle Whole Cloth

I love a challenge, and this month Aurifil challenged it’s artisans to create a whole cloth mini quilt using a Paintbrush Studios Painter’s Palette Solid and a coordinating thread in our choice of weight.  I was sent Midnight blue fabric and a matching thread.  This first photo has the most accurate color so imagine that color when you see all of the indoor photos! 🤣

Whole cloth quilting isn’t something I do very often, so I decided to start the process with a little research.  Quilting tends to rely on pattern and repetition, so the books I pulled out had lots of art that embraces those principles.  I was also leaning toward 20th century art for inspiration, but I include some inspiration from earlier eras, just in case something caught my eye.

Ultimately I landed on these two Art Nouveau tile images to use for design inspiration.  I liked the circular quality of both designs, and thought that they would combine well.

I drafted the design on AutoCad, then printed it across two sheets of tabloid size paper and glued them together to form the entire image.  Then it was time to pull out my perk wheel to use an old scenic painting technique to create a stencil.  I placed the image on top of my wool pressing mat and ran the wheel along the lines.  For the tightest curves, I used a large safety pin to poke through the paper.

Once the holes were poked through, I flipped the paper over and used a fine tooth sandpaper to remove the bumps on the back of the template and make sure the holes were completely open.

Then came the moment of truth — would it work?  I taped the fabric to the table and the stencil over it, then pulled out my chalk pounce pad.  I ran it over the stencil in small circles to keep the dust down, then carefully removed the stencil.

It worked like a charm!  The lines were clear and easy to follow.

This project was the perfect time to give trapunto a try, so I started the quilting process by using batting and the top fabric with no backing.  Since I was using such a dark fabric, I selected a black batting by Hobbs.  Since the black batting doesn’t have a huge amount of loft, I used two layers for the trapunto.

Using a walking foot on my domestic machine, I quilted all of marked lines through the top fabric and two layers of batting.  At this point I was using a 50wt Aurifil so it would be easy to quilt over using the final 12wt thread, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is what it looked like from the front:

And most of the back (thanks Monty— I think he knows how hard it is to lint roll batting!):

The next step was to trim away the batting around the areas of trapunto.  I used scissors with a rounded tip for most of the trimming, and only pulled out scissors with a pointed tip for the tightest corners.

Trapunto has the best effect when the areas around it are densely quilted, so most of the quilt has dense free motion quilting.  For this part of the quilting I used 50wt thread on the longarm.  At this point in the process, there is backing fabric, one full layer of black batting, two layers of batting in the trapunto areas only (three layers total in those areas), and the quilt top.  The final quilting step was to use 12wt thread to outline each area and help that trapunto really pop!

After a lot of knotting and burying of thread tails, I trimmed the mini quilt so the edge of the quilt extended 1/4″ past the outer ring of trapunto.  The edges are finished with bias binding to hug the circular edge of the quilt.  If it was more practical, I would curve all my quilt edges.  I love binding a curve!

The image above shows the front of the quilt with the 12wt thread defining the areas around the trapunto.  Since I used 50wt thread in the bobbin, you can see the difference in the image below.  I think the heavier thread makes a huge difference in trapunto effect.  What do you think?

Quilt Stats

Title:  Whole Circle Whole Cloth

Size: 16″ diameter

Techniques:  Whole Cloth

Quilting:  Free Motion quilting on an A-1 longarm and walking foot quilting on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  Painter’s Palette Solid by Paintbrush Studios in Midnight

Batting:  Black Hobbs Heirloom batting

Thread: Quilted with coordinating 12wt and 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Bias binding, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

Ice Cream Quilt

Each Summer I design a Row by Row for a local quilt shop, Dabble and Stitch, and I loved this year’s row so much, I decided to make a wall quilt featuring the design.  The ice cream cone design evokes Summer, so it was a perfect design for this month’s “Seasonal” challenge for Aurifil Artisans.

The theme for this year’s Row by Row is: Taste the Experience.  I like to base each row design on something local, and this year the design depicts Jeni’s Ice Cream.  Jeni’s started here in Columbus, and the shops feature lots of fun flavors. The cone that served as the model for the Row by Row design is Wildberry Lavender and Brandied Banana Brûlée in a house made cone.

When transforming the ice cream block into a quilt, I thought it would be fun to extend the background into stripes.  By adding narrow stripes between the ice cream cone columns, the overall design of the quilt has a beach towel vibe that enhances the feeling of sitting out in the sun with a hot weather snack.

Custom quilting on the longarm was done with 50wt Aurifil in color that coordinate with each area of the quilt.  The stitching is a mix of free motion motifs and straight line quilting done with rulers and digital channel locks. The backing is a Tula Pink wideback fabric, and I love how, in this context, the print has the feel of melting ice cream.

This quilt went with me today to the Ohio State Fair for some photos.

It even met the famous butter cow!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Ice Cream on the Beach

Size: 48″ x 48″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Foundation Paper Piecing

Quilting:  Free Motion and straight line quilting with digital channel locks on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Assorted cotton solids

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Bias binding, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

 

Composition

I am honored to be an Aurifil Artisan for the second year, and I am particularly excited to participate in a series of challenges that showcase the way their thread is used.  The first challenge is to use our welcome pack of thread to create something new.  (We were actually asked to try a different thread weight, but I have already used them all on previous projects!)  I decided to create a mini quilt that is mounted on an artist’s canvas.  I have been wanting to try something like this for awhile, and this was the perfect opportunity for some experimentation.

My thread choices tend to fall into two categories: bold and colorful, or a perfect match.  The fabrics for this composition were subtle and mostly dark in value.  Three narrow slivers of metallic linen were the lightest fabrics were the lightest values in the piecing.  The deep values provided the perfect canvas to experiment with very subtle shifts of color and thread weight.  The thread colors I selected were 2600 in 12wt, 2905 in 40wt, and 2605 and 2510 in 28wt.  I also added a black 50wt for piecing that I had in my thread stock.

12 and 28 weight threads are particular favorites for bold quilting, and they worked well in this piece too.  I particularly liked how they played with the green 40wt thread which blended the most value-wise to the main fabrics.  My only regret is not using a different batting for the project.  I made the mistake of grabbing an unidentified scrap, and I wish that I had used a black batting to prevent bearding on the dark fabric.  At least I’ll remember to pay more attention next time!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Composition 1

Size: 8″ x 10″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Walking foot quilting on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  Cotton solids and tone on tone prints

Batting:  Unidentified scrap- big mistake!

Thread: Aurifil in 50wt, 40wt, 28wt and 12wt

Binding:  None! The quilt is mounted to an artist’s canvas frame.

 

The Value of Coral: A Work in Progress

Coral is just about the perfect color as far as I’m concerned.  It sits so nicely between pink and orange which is one of my favorite color combinations.  So when Pantone announced the color of the year for 2019, I was ecstatic!  So far this is my second project to incorporate Living Coral, and I have another in the works that has lots of coral pieces included in a wider color scheme.

I think a lot about value when I design a quilt, and success of this particular design depends on it.  A monotone interpretation of the color Coral helps create the illusion of dimension.  Living Coral has a value that sits near the middle of the value scale, so I selected two lighter fabrics and one darker fabric for the design.  Since coral doesn’t easily go to a really dark value without drastically muting the color, I selected a dark violet for the receding squares. The dark, cool color ended up setting off the coral nicely.

I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring a mostly monotone quilt with more traditional piecing techniques, and I can’t wait to finish it up!

Quilt (top) Stats

Title:  The Value of Coral

Size: 42″ x 56″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Fabric:  Solids

Thread: Pieced with 50wt Aurifil

This quilt top is my entry in the 2019 Pantone Quilt Challenge hosted by No Hats in the House and Bryan House Quilts.  I hope you will check out all of the exciting entries!

I am a resident of the United States

 

Anna Maria Horner & Aurifil Showcase Project

If you have followed me long, you may have noticed that I love a good challenge, so when Aurifil offered their Artisans an opportunity to make a project using Anna Maria Horner’s fabric and Aurifil thread, I was excited to sign up!  It is hard to commit to a particular project without knowing what exact materials you will be given, but based on Anna Maria Horner’s  overall design aesthetic, I thought that a pillow would be a fun project.

Three fat quarters and a spool of Aurifil were provided for the challenge.  I had requested 12wt thread because I intended to incorporate some large stitch hand quilting into the cushion.  I didn’t even think about the design of the pillow until the fabrics arrived because I knew I wanted the fabric to be the key inspiration for this project.  As soon as I saw the large floral inspired print, I was sure that it needed to be the focus of the design.

I had just enough large floral motifs to use one for the center of the pillow and a half motif for each corner.  To start, I marked where the center circle would eventually be cut out and placed the  corner motifs based on that mark.  I then used 80wt Aurifil to hand appliqué the motifs.  Once this was complete, I cut out the center circle and machine pieced the center circle into place using 50wt Aurifil.  To finish the construction of the top, I placed the central motif and used needle turn appliqué to secure it.

With the piecing and appliqué complete, it was time to begin the quilting process.  I selected a wool batting so the pillow top would have a bit of poof to it and really show off the hand stitching.  The quilting on this project really embraced decorative stitching, and I used it as an opportunity to try out several different techniques since the back of the quilting would be enclosed in the pillow.

I started by machine quilting around the circle and each floral motif.  I had 12wt thread on top and 50wt thread in the bobbin, and I loosened the tension slightly so I could have enough give to the stitching to wrap each stitch by hand with a strand of 50wt thread.  This resulted in a stitch that looks like a whipped backstitch, but it took a lot less time!

The rest of the pillow top is quilted using a total of seven colors of 12wt Aurifil that I selected to accent the colors in the fabric.  The bronze color was sent for this project, the light green came in this year’s Aurifil Artisan box, and the remaining colors had been used in previous projects.

I used a standard running stitch and several embroidery stitches to quilt the pillow including the closed fly stitch, French Knots, seed stitches, and variations of cross stitches.

The back of the quilted panel shows off how much stitching went into this project.

A yo-yo in the center of the floral motif completed the pillow top.  I thought that it would be fun to finish the center of the motif with the background print the motif was cut from!

To make the pillow cover easy to remove for cleaning, I inserted a lapped zipper into the backing fabric.

The final touch that I wanted to add was a piped edging covered with the remaining striped challenge fabric.  I love how the bias cut fabric looked with all of the angle changes within the fabric design.  This would make amazing quilt binding!

I selected a feather filled pillow form, and combined with the wool batting it creates a delightful feel for a throw pillow.