Infused Plaid

If you follow me on Instagram, you will probably recognize “Infused Plaid” since it is one of my favorite quilts and has traveled quite a bit.  However, I recently realized that I had never blogged about this quilt.  Since this week is the Blogger’s Quilt Festival over at Amy’s Creative Side, I thought I would take the opportunity to have a more in-depth look at this quilt.

Much of quilting is done in a standard routine.  There may be slight variations depending on the specific project and the person making the project, but it usually looks something like this:

  1. Design/create a pattern, or set personal parameters if it will be an improv project
  2. Select fabrics
  3. Construct the quilt top
  4. Choose a quilting design
  5. Layer the quilt backing, batting, and top through basting or loading on a longarm
  6. Quilt the project
  7. Trim and finish the quilt edges.

For Infused Plaid, I decided to mix up the process by starting with designing the pattern of the quilting stitches first.  Then, based on where each color of quilting stitches intersected with the same color, I placed a rectangle or square of matching fabric that would be pieced into the quilt top.

Drafting of the Infused Plaid design

Following the design process, most of the construction of the quilt is done in a standard manner.  The quilt top construction is fairly straightforward and goes together quickly, but the design doesn’t come together until the colorful quilting stitches are added.

This quilt was basted on the longarm machine and then quilted with a walking foot on my domestic Bernina.  For this project, I basted with regular thread, but I since started basting with water soluble thread.  It is amazing to not have to pull out basting stitches!

When I do matchstick quilting, I quilt all one direction first, then quilt any stitching lines that go in the opposite direction.  The dominant, colorful quilting is done first by marking the lines using a 60″ ruler and a roll of masking tape.  In the negative space of the quilt, I place parallel lines of masking tape approximately four inches apart across the quilt to indicate where the first set of quilting stitches will go.  I stitch on either side of the masking tape and remove it as soon as I possibly can.  Next I place a line of stitching about halfway between the previous lines, then halfway between those lines.  The process continues until the lines are approximately 1/8″ apart.  Finally, I mark and stitch the colorful lines running in the opposite direction to complete the plaid design.

Infused Plaid is mostly about the use of quilting thread.  The brightly colored threads are stitched using 28wt thread on the top of the quilt and 50wt on the bottom.  The heavier thread creates a stronger design on the top of the quilt, while the thinner thread in the bobbin helps keep the quilt softer and allows more thread to be loaded onto the bobbin.  The rows of white matchstick stitching is done with 50wt thread on both the top and bottom of the quilt.

As I quilt, I try to make the lines as perfect as possible, but when minor (inevitable) variations occur, I never take them out to redo that portion of the line.  I prefer to leave these moments as a reminder that this is still a hand crafted item.  If the final quilt would become too perfect, it would look like it was constructed by an automated machine rather than a human being.  The “flaws” are what gives this type of quilt some character!

Dense quilting, particularly if it is done on a domestic machine, can result in a quilt that doesn’t want to lay flat.  To deal with this issue, I block my matchstick quilted quilts.  The planning for this process starts very early on when I make my quilt top, because I like to make my top at least a couple inches larger than I hope the quilt will finish.  Since I work with so much negative space, I can to this without worrying too much about how trimming the edges will effect the overall aesthetic.

As soon as a quilt like this is finished, I soak it to prepare for blocking (and remove water soluble basting thread if it was used).  Then I “stretch” the quilt on a simple wooden frame that I staple the edges of the quilt to.  The biggest concern at this point is to make sure the lines of colorful stitching remain as straight as possible.  While the quilt is wet, it is easy to inadvertently distort the lines of stitching.  The stapling process is done on the floor, but once it is complete, I can stand the frame up to allow for better air circulation.  Sometimes I even take the quilt outside for awhile to dry.  It usually only takes a couple hours to dry, but I try to leave the quilt on the frame overnight to make sure that it is completely dry.  I hadn’t taken any photos of Infused Plaid while it was on the frame, so the quilt you see on the frame below is Pivoted Plaid, a close cousin to Infused Plaid.  (What can I say?- I really like plaid!)

To continue the visual lines of the plaid design all the way to the edge of the quilt, I used facings to finish the edge of the quilt rather than a visible binding.

Infused Plaid has been shown in quite a few venues.  It started by being a project in Modern Patchwork magazine.  Then it went to QuiltCon in Savannah where it received a first place in the Negative Space category.  Next it went to the American Quilter’s Society Spring Paducah show where it won a first place in the Modern Quilt category.

It went to several more shows and was included in the book Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century.

Infused Plaid in Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century

Recently, Infused Plaid joined its new home as part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  The museum collection focuses on quilts made since the 1980’s, and I am thrilled that this is the first modern quilt to join their amazing collection!

Infused Plaid at The National Quilt Museum

Quilt Stats

Title:  Infused Plaid

Size: 61″ x 61″

Techniques:  Traditional machine piecing

Quilting:  Matchstick quilting using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008 domestic

Fabric:  Kona Cottons

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 Cotton Poly Blend

Thread: Quilted with 28wt and 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Faced with fabric matching the quilt backing

Diamond Placemat

The charity that the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild is working with this year is Meals on Wheels.  We are making placemats that are distributed to recipients along with their meals to brighten things up.  Our Charity Chair has been issuing challenges this year to encourage participation and encourage members to use these projects to stretch their quilting skills.  This placemat is from one of these challenges.

Diamond Placemat

We were each given a line drawing of a traditional quilt block that we reinterpreted into a placemat.  I received a block called “Diamond Quilt Block.”

Diamond Block

My reinterpretation is fairly straightforward.  I stretched the traditionally square block into a rectangle, but then I had some fun with the quilting.  I matched the quilting thread to the pink, green, and white sections of the block, and extended the stitching out to the edges of the block.  Each stitching line pivots to create a triangular form.

Diamond Placemat detail

The pink and green stitching is done in 28wt thread and the white is 12wt, but the bobbins thread is always 50wt thread in the color matching the top thread.  This still allows the design to show up nicely, even on the tone on tone print that I used on the back of the placemat.

Diamond Placemat Quilting detail back

I have several bias bindings that I keep made up and ready to go for small projects, and I chose this one because it enhances the energy of the diagonal quilting lines.

Diamond Placemat back

The labels for our guild quilts are Spoonflower Prints with our guild name and Logo.  We each sign the label so the recipients know who made their placemat.

Placemat Label

 

I won’t be writing a full pattern for this project, but if you would like to make your own, you can download the templates below.  This file is templates only, and the template on the final page needs to be assembled prior to cutting your fabric.

Diamond Placemat Templates

Placemat Stats

Title:  Diamond Placemat

Size: 12″ x 18″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Machine echo quilting using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008 domestic machine

Fabric:  Kona Cotton Solids on the front, print backing and binding

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread: Quilted with 50wt, 28wt, and 12wt cotton Aurifil in pink, green, and white

Binding:  Striped bias binding, cut 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front and hand finished on the back

I’m an Aurifil Artisan!

I am so excited that I am now able to tell you that I am an Aurifil Artisan for 2018!  Aurifil is my favorite quilting thread, and I use it on both my domestic and long arm machines.  White is probably my most used thread color, but I tend to use lots of bright colors too.  Did you notice that I actually have three CONES of bright pink thread?!  And yes, I do need that much!

Aurifil Spools

You may have noticed that I love to incorporate colorful threads as major design elements.  Here are a few of my favorites.  The first, Resonance, was in the Aurifil booth at Quilt Market this Spring.

Resonance front view

Pivoted Plaid is now touring with the Best of QuiltCon Exhibit.

Pivoted Plaid

Infused Plaid is one of my all time favorites, and it was included in the Modern Quilt Guild book, Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century.  For this quilt, I designed the quilting design before I designed the piecing of the quilt top.

Quilt Show

Looking back a little further, The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts, was the first quilt that I began embracing the use of thread as a major design element.

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

I already have more designs in the works that will highlight thread as a major design element, and I can hardly wait to get started!  Hopefully, I’ll be adding a lot more empty spools to my collection this year!

Empty Spools