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.

QuiltCon Judging Feedback

Quilting is typically a solitary activity, so there are very few opportunities for feedback on your creations.  This is especially true if you are looking for critiques that will help to improve your work.  Entering shows with written feedback is one of the best means to get a fair assessment of your quilts, and QuiltCon typically provides very interesting comments since they have judges from a wider range of backgrounds.  The judging panel includes a certified judge, an industry professional, and a third judge with a strong artistic, but not necessarily quilting, background.  I also find it useful to read comments on other people’s quilts, so I thought that some of you may enjoy seeing what the judges had to say about my three quilts.

Complementary Convergence was in the Use of Negative Space category.

Ebb and Flow was in the Two Color Challenge category.

Synthesized Slivers was in the Small Quilts category.

I always appreciate the time that the judges spend looking at each quilt and offering comments on both the good aspects of a quilt and the areas that could be improved.  I can’t begin to imagine how challenging it would be to judge a show like QuiltCon.  It is so different than most shows-  A winning quilt is not necessarily the one with the most construction challenges. The emphasis on overall design combined with technical execution is what makes it one of my favorite shows to attend and enter.

Negative Space Handbook Blog Hop

Negative space is one of my favorite tools to use in my modern quilt designs, and I was ecstatic when Sylvia Schaefer released her book, The Quilter’s Negative Space Handbook.  In this book, Sylvia takes the concept of Negative Space and breaks it down into eight manageable sections for the reader to explore.   These sections can be used on their own or mixed and matched to develop your own unique designs.  While there is a project to illustrate each type of negative space, the reader is actively encouraged to apply each approach to their own original designs.  This combination makes the book perfect for all levels of quilters.  At the end of this post, you’ll have an opportunity to win a digital copy of The Quilter’s Negative Space Handbook, so I hope you’ll keep reading!

Sylvia has a great eye for negative space, and I have been a fan of her work ever since I saw her quilt, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes at an American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah one year.

The Persistence of the Disintegration of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer

A couple of years later we had our quilts (both using lots of negative space!) hanging side by side in the winner’s section of the Modern category at another AQS Paducah show.  This time it was Meeting of the Geese that I was admiring.

Meeting of the Geese by Sylvia Schaefer

Most recently, I was honored to quilt Northern Lights for the book.  The edge to edge motif is a digital download by Anita Shackelford.

Northern Lights by Sylvia Schaefer

The eight approaches to negative space design in the handbook are:

  1. Removing Elements
  2. Standing Alone
  3. Oversized Simple Blocks and Inverting
  4. Setting Rows
  5. Scattering
  6. Disintegration
  7. Making Shapes
  8. Extending Lines

I am looking forward to further exploring each of these approaches to negative space, but the one I couldn’t wait to try was scattering.  I have made several plaid quilts, and I thought some of Sylvia’s suggestions would be fun to try in creating a new design.  (Please check out this post about Infused Plaid to see how my typical design process differs from what I am doing here!)  In the book, Sylvia mentions using a random number generator to determine block placement.  This really caught my attention, and before I even went to the next page of the book, I googled “random number generator” and started sketching.

For this design, I started by setting a few parameters.  The grid is 34 units by 34 units, and I decided to place 34 colorful squares into that space.  I used a random number generator for each of the horizontal and vertical coordinates, then rolled a game die to determine the color of the square.  Since the linear matchstick quilting that creates the plaid effect will extend through the squares, each row and column was assigned a color for all future squares that were placed in them.

Once the main pieced section was developed, I decided that extra negative space would really set off the design.  Considering the concept of breathing space  that is introduced in the “Standing Alone” chapter, I decided that the top and right sides of the main section would be about half the width as the borders on the bottom and left sides.  Here is the quilt top, complete with borders.  I always make these plaid quilt tops a few inches larger than the desired finished size.  This allows me to block the quilt and trim it to the size that looks best.

When I add the quilting to this piece, I will be incorporating a third type of negative space usage to the quilt, extending lines.  I love to allow colorful quilting thread to take on a staring role, and this should be a an interesting way to infuse color into the surrounding space.  Hopefully, I will be sharing the final quilt with you soon!

Here’s the exciting part!  If you would like to win a digital copy of The Quilter’s Negative Space Handbook, just leave a comment on this post.  Any comment counts, but if you are looking for inspiration, tell us about your favorite quilt using negative space.  It can be a quilt you made, or a quilt created by someone else.  One entry per person, please.

One week from today, Monday, March 25, 2019, I will use a random number generator to select a winner of a digital copy of the book.

You can also order a copy directly from the author!

There is lots of inspiration at the other stops on the blog tour, so I hope you check out these other negative space inspired posts!

March 11 – C&T Publishing – blog tour kickoff

March 12 – Nicole Neblett – Mama Love Quilts

March 13 – Christa Watson – Christa Quilts

March 14 – Jessica Caldwell – Desert Bloom Quilting

March 15 – Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill – Whole Circle Studio

March 18 – Cassandra Ireland Beaver – The (Not So) Dramatic Life

March 19 – Yvonne Fuchs – Quilting Jetgirl

March 20 – Sarah Ruiz – Saroy

March 21 – Sarah Goer – Sarah Goer Quilts

March 22 – Sylvia Schaefer – Flying Parrot Quilts – tour wrap-up