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.

 

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.

Triple Dimensional Star

This Spring I designed a new quilt block.  In reality, I probably designed a couple dozen blocks, but this one actually got made up in fabric- not once, but twice!

Vote for your favorite block at the Paintbrush Studio Facebook page!

This is the small version of the block, and it finishes at 6″ square.  At QuiltCon, Paintbrush Studio handed out a curated charm pack of eight colors of their Painter’s Palette Solids, and asked the recipients to make a quilt block using those fabrics.  This star block works particularly well with a light and dark versions of the same colors, and I was excited that there were light and dark versions of both blue and orange in the charm pack.  I almost added another yellow to the pack to have the highlight/shadow effect in the central star (we were allowed to add in our own fabrics), but I ultimately thought the block was more dynamic with the green added to the mix.

Right now, all of the submitted blocks are up on the Paintbrush Studio Facebook page, and you can vote for your favorite block there!  All you need to do is comment on the photo of your favorite block.

I had a few scraps of the Paintbrush Studio fabrics, so I stitched up this little improv block.  It was after the deadline, so I didn’t submit it, but it is hanging out on the design wall waiting for me to turn it into something!

I made the larger, 12″ square, version of the Triple Dimensional Star for a guild color challenge.  Every year the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild does a challenge combining the Pantone color of the year with the Kona color of the year.  The 2019 colors are Living Coral and Splash.  What a happy combination! This year, everyone who participated in the challenge made a star block and we had a block raffle with the winner taking home all of the blocks.

Constructing all three of these blocks was a lot of fun.  Foundation paper piecing is one of my favorite methods to construct a block, and I find improv piecing a relaxing way to sew after all of the FPP precision!

 

Columbus Cityscape Block of the Month: Topiary Garden

The Topiary Garden in Columbus, Ohio is situated behind the Main Library and provides a lovely outdoor counterpart to the building.  This month’s block highlights this unique park.

Walking paths wind around the gardens with carefully sculpted plant structures.  This month’s block depicts a common topiary shape in a pottery planter.

This garden is most known for the topiary depiction of Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The figures are positioned looking over the pond, and allow you to see this recognizable image from many perspectives.  At the top of the hill you can take in the scene from the view of the painter.

This pattern is available from Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  If you have already purchased the pattern, you can access the extra templates here.  You will need the password included in the pattern instructions to access this page.  I will be doing a construction demonstration of a portion of this block at 1pm on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at Dabble and Stitch.