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

 

Urban Cabins

Earlier this year a quilt group I belong to, The Columbus Modern Quilters, issued a challenge based on a photograph one of our members took in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  (You can see the photo and challenge requirements by clicking the link above.) In the image, parking garages with painted murals stand out against a bright blue sky.  We were challenged to use this photograph for inspiration in creating any type of sewn project.  Urban Cabins is my interpretation.

This quilt is entirely improvisationally pieced, although I did use rulers to help with construction.  I began with fabric bits from my scrap bin, and incorporated larger pieces of fabric as the project grew.  In the original photo, I loved how the brightly colored murals enlivened the surroundings even though they only took up a small portion of the image.  To capture this overall feeling, I included centralized areas of color that spark into their more subdued surroundings.  Concrete and sky colors of tans, greys, and blues dominate the most surface area of the quilt, but the bright colors give the piece life

With so much of the quilt being comprised of similar subtle colors, texture, both visual and physical, played a significant role in completing the design.  The use of both prints and solids create visual shifts in texture, while physical changes between cotton and linen create further interest.  Occasionally a selvage edge is exposed to further enhance the textural variations.

For the quilting, I decided to use evenly spaced, vertical lines to pull the design together, while not overpowering the design of the quilt top.  Vertical lines evoke the energy and feeling of a bustling downtown environment.

I was excited to discover the perfect backing fabric in my stash.  I had purchased it on clearance a long time ago, knowing it would make a great quilt back at some point.  I liked how the bold print varies across the width of the fabric, giving it a mural-like vibe that relates to the original inspiration image.

A facing was the perfect finish to this quilt.  With an energetic design like this, I think it is important to allow the viewer’s eye to continue all the way to the edge of the quilt without the visual barrier of a binding.  Fortunately, I had just enough backing fabric to line up the printed motifs on three sides of the quilt.  I would have loved a perfect match, but there wasn’t that much extra fabric!  The fourth side had black circles, so a solid black fabric worked to finish the edge.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Urban Cabins

Size: 30″ x 40″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Improvisation

Quilting:  Straight line quilting with digital channel locks on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Cotton and linen solids and assorted cotton prints

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Faced with the remaining backing fabric and one strip of solid black fabric.

 

 

 

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.

 

Forward and Back

This Spring one of the quilt groups I’m in issued a challenge to try out a technique called interleaving, and this mini quilt is the result.  The idea behind interleaving is to take two relatively simple quilt blocks, cut them into strips, and alternate the strips to create a single block.

Starting out, I had to keep reminding myself to keep things simple.  I have a tendency to add extra piecing to create interest, but this was not the place to add too many seams!  I wanted the color palette to evoke a feeling of a sunset over the ocean, so I decided to make one block with warm colors and the other with cool colors.  The first block is a machine pieced circle with the Pantone color of the year, Living Coral, as the center.  (I love this year’s color so much that it is appearing in a few more projects, too!)

The second block is three wedge shaped segments in cool colors.  Most of this quilt is made of quilting cotton, but I decided to incorporate a piece of Art Gallery denim into this block to add a slightly different texture.

Maintaining the overall circle shape was important to what I wanted to achieve in this design, so I knew I had to cut the blocks into 1″ strips. This width of strip means the finished area is equal to the seam allowance- 1/2″ exposed and 1/2″ of seam allowance.  When the strips of the two blocks are alternated, the circle shape is maintained.

The piecing is really the star in this design, so I decided to do simple stitch in the ditch quilting using Aurifil monofilament.

The faced edges of the quilt allow the linear design to visually continue to the edge of the quilt.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Forward and Back

Size: 19″ x 19″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Interleaving

Quilting:  Stitched in the ditch with a walking foot quilting on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  Cotton solids and lightweight quilters denim

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with Aurifil monofilament

Binding:  Faced with the solid to match the backing

This mini quilt 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