9 Patch Circles

I love using colorful thread.  There is a good chance that you have gathered that if you have seen much of my work.  I also have a tendency to use it the most in matchstick quilting.  In the last few weeks I had been contemplating how I could infuse a quilt with colorful thread in an abstract way without using straight lines.  Ultimately the idea of circles took over.

9 Patch Circle front

This mini quilt is mostly a sketch to explore a quilting technique, so I kept the construction process as simple as possible.  Prior to quilting the circles were all held in place with Wonder Under fusible web and the small size (15″ square) made it really easy to throw on the longarm to quilt.

9 Patch Circles process

The quilting thread matches the fabrics and then infuses color into the adjoining fabric.  The color of the outermost section of the concentric circle flows out into the background through the quilting.  I stuck with 50wt thread for this because I wanted to make a lot of lines over a small area, and didn’t want too much thread build up.  I decided to emphasize the grid configuration of the circles and juxtapose the dominant curves of the circles with some straight lines.  Some simple, white matchstick quilting between the rows and columns of dots accomplishes this goal.  The quilting on this took about an hour, but most of that was thread changes :)

9 Patch Circle detail

The quilt is finished with a simple facing that matches the backing fabric.  I love using a solid backing on a quilt with lots of thread colors to show off all of that work.

9 Patch Circles back

Quilt Stats:

Title:  9 Patch Circles

Size: 15″ x 15″

Techniques:  Fused Applique

Quilting:  Free motion quilting using an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Assorted solids on a Kona Snow background with Kona Snow backing

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Thread:  Quilted with a variety of 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Facings to match the quilt background and backing

2017 Wrap Up and 2018 Goals

2017 has flown by and once again it is time to look at the year to come.  I must admit that I was a little hesitant to look back on my goals for 2017, mostly because I hadn’t looked back on them since they were written this time last year.  I was stunned that I managed to come pretty close on most of my goals, which gives me some hope for the year to come!

Review of 2017 Goals

1.  Write and Publish Quilt Patterns:  I did a block of the month with a local quilt shop, and I also did their Row by Row this Summer, so that is 13 patterns right there!  I also have a couple more patterns that are really close to being ready!

Bee Block Composite and RxR 2017

2.  Submit to Magazines:  Infused Plaid was a project in Modern Patchwork magazine near the beginning of the year, and Taking Flight was in the same magazine this Fall.  I have another quilt that is currently at the magazine office, and will be published at the beginning of next year.  In addition, a few of my quilts appeared in articles and gallery sections of other magazines including American Quilter and Simply Moderne.

Modren Patchwork Quilts 2017

3.  Enter and Attend Quilt Shows:  I did pretty well on this front.  The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts finished its rounds of the AQS shows with a third place at Daytona Beach.  Infused Plaid has done exceptionally well this year.  It was in six shows this year and received three first places and a “Best Use of Thread” award.  Six of my other quilts were in national/international shows this year.  I attended more shows this year than ever before.  QuiltCon in Savannah was fabulous, and I attended both the Spring and Fall AQS shows in Paducah.  I went to the MQX show in Illinois for the first time, and had a great time at the AQS Des Moines show demonstrating the A-1 Longarm in their booth.

4.  Teach Quilting Classes and Do Trunk Shows:  Check and Check!  I taught at both Sew to Speak and Dabble and Stitch this year, and did a few trunk shows at nearby guilds as well

5.  Grow Longarm Business:  This picked up a great deal this year, and lately I have been consistently busy

6.  Blog Consistently:  Most of the year was a fail on this front, but I joined in on the 31 Day Blogging Challenge this month, and while I have missed several days, I have blogged more than the entire rest of the year.

7.  Work with my Guilds and Groups:  I was the Charity Chair for the Central Ohio MQG this year, and we did a lot of sewing for Days for Girls, which provides reusable feminine hygiene products to help keep girls in school every day of classes.

Goals for 2018

1.  Write and Publish Patterns:  I am doing another block of the month this year, and this year’s project will be blocks that look like specific buildings around town.  I’m starting with the Dabble and Stitch building and then we will move to landmarks around the city.

Dabble and Stitch Sign

2.  Enter and Attend Quilt Shows:  Four quilts are going to QuiltCon 2018, two are headed to AQS Daytona, and several more are entered into other upcoming shows, so I am off to a good start.  I am definitely planning to attend the Spring AQS Paducah show.  I am hoping to make it to a couple more shows as well.  I loved demonstrating in the longarm booth at a show this year, so with any luck they may need an extra set of hands again!

Quilts already accepted to 2018 Shows

3.  Increase submissions and embrace both acceptances and rejections:  I plan to apply for everything I want this year.  I’m sure there will be plenty of rejections in there, but I am okay with that, and there will probably be some acceptances that come from it too!

4.  Do more trunk shows and teaching:  I will continue teaching at my local shops in the coming year, and I love doing trunk shows and teaching for guilds.  If your group is looking to round out the programming for the year, I would love to visit!

4.  Start a Newsletter:  I love getting newsletters in my email, and I am eager to start my own!  It seems like an awesome extension of the blog.  I am currently figuring out MailChimp so details will be coming soon!

5.  Work with my Guild:  Next year I will be the president of the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild, and I am hoping that we can come up with some awesome programming for the upcoming year!  If you are in our area, I hope you will visit our group!  We meet the second Thursday of each month at 6:30pm at an area library (the specific location varies).

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Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl is hosting a fantastic planning party link up that already has lots of posts to inspire everyone for the upcoming year!  I am linking up there, and I hope you will check out a bunch of other posts as well!2018 Planning Party

I hope everyone has a wonderful end to 2017 and a joyous and productive 2018!

Complementary Composition: A Michael Miller Challenge Quilt

Complementary Composition grew out of the 2017 Michael Miller/Modern Quilt Guild Challenge.  This is the third year I have participated in the challenge, and this is the first time that my challenge quilt has been selected for participation at QuiltCon.

Complementary Composition full

The fabric for the challenge is Our Yard, and it is super cute!  This actually proved to be a greater challenge to me, because I rarely make quilts that I can describe as cute or even pretty.  I love looking at quilts that are cute, pretty, darling, charming, etc., but I don’t tend to create work that I would use these terms to describe.  Now the question became- How do I incorporate these charming prints into my personal aesthetic?

Michael Miller Challenge Fabric 2017

When I am uncertain how to proceed with a design, I tend to turn to the elements and principles of design.  While the elements and principles of design never exist purely on their own, I find that sometimes narrowing my focus in the initial stages of a design helps to refine my overall vision for the project.  In this case, I initially focused on the element of color and the principle of scale.

There are so many bright colors in the challenge prints that it allows for interpretation in selecting a dominant color palette.  Blue and Orange has always been my favorite complementary color scheme (two colors opposite each other on the color wheel), and I thought that the vibrant combination would honor the energy evoked in the fabric prints.  To add visual dimension, I selected a lighter and darker version of solid color.  I was fortunate enough to make my initial fabric purchase for the quilt while in Paducah, KY at Hancock’s of Paducah.  They carry most of the Michael Miller solids, so I was able to make my color choices with the fabrics right in front of me.  When purchasing solids for a project, I try to photograph the ends of the bolts just in case I need to order more, which did happen during this project.

Michael Miller Solids

The official challenge only required that two of the prints in the line be incorporated into the finished quilt, but as a personal challenge, I wanted to use each one included in the bundle that was sent out.  In order to make this work with my aesthetic and the color scheme of the quilt, scale was going to be an extremely important aspect of the design.  The most graphic print in the bundle is the black, grey, and white print which is the most closely aligned to my aesthetic.  This would be the dominant print.  The black and white leaf print on the mustard and aqua backgrounds is closely associated with the striped print, and I liked that the spacing of the print give the eye a place to rest in the background and allows it to work with the solid fabrics surrounding it.  I knew that this print was a prime candidate for fussy cutting to highlight the leaf image.

Complementary Composition fussy cut detail

The busiest prints were going to be the most challenging to work in, so they were going to be used in the smallest pieces.  The 1/8″ slivers of these fabrics create energetic lines and break up large expanses of the solid fabrics.

Complementary Composition Piecing Detail

This quilt is constructed using a structured improv technique.  The pieces are measured and trimmed as they are sewn, but there is no predetermined design for the piece.  I started the process by constructing blocks loosely based on Log Cabin/Courthouse Steps style blocks.  Many of the blocks are built around a fussy cut square or a simply pieced block.  As the blocks were completed, I added them to the design wall.

Complementary Composition Design Wall

Once I decided the blocks were balancing within the design, I filled in the open areas with strips of fabric.

Complementary Composition Echo Quilting

For the quilting of the piece, I wanted to emphasize the linear qualities of the piecing by using a mix of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal straight line quilting as well as echo quilting.  The echo quilting highlights a visually contained shape while the vertical lines give a sense of strength that is balanced by the calming force of the horizontal lines.  Mixing in strong diagonal lines gives a greater energy and a sense of the unexpected to the overall design.

Complementary Composition Use of Challenge Fabric

The binding is a mix of solids with just a small section of striped fabric to draw the eye back toward the center of the quilt.

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Complementary Composition

Size: 63″ x 69″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Structured Improvisational Piecing, Fussy Cutting

Quilting:  Linear Quilting using an A-1 Longarm equipped with digital channel locks that can be set to any angle

Fabric:  Michael Miller Our Yard Prints and Cotton Couture Solids

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Thread:  Pieced using Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Bias binding in a mix of solids and striped print cut at 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

Four Quilts are Going to QuiltCon!

QuiltCon notifications went out this week, and I am ecstatic that four of my six entries are going to travel to California!

Lateral Ascension is in the Minimalism Category

Lateral Ascension full

Pivoted Plaid will be joining the Negative Space Category

Pivoted Plaid full

Overlay is one of my favorite quilts that I have made, and it will be seen in the Modern Traditionalism Category.

Overlay front view

It is particularly thrilling to have Complementary Composition accepted into the Michael Miller Challenge Category.  I loved the quilts that I have submitted to this category for the past two years, but they never made the cut, which makes finally having one accepted all the more exciting!

Complementary Composition full

While I won’t be in Pasadena this Winter, I love that I will still be able to share my work with everyone who will be in attendance!

Here is a list of all my QuiltCon 2018 entries.

Overlay: A Riley Blake Challenge Quilt

Overlay is the quilt I created using the Rockstar line from Riley Blake fabrics for the Modern Quilt Guild challenge last Spring.

Overlay front view

I focused on the red and white prints because I liked the idea of using such a classic color combination (such as the popular red & white quilt exhibition!) in contemporary prints.  The design of the quilt also embraced the juxtaposition of classic and contemporary.  The first step for this project was to make a traditional quilt top using a Flock of Geese block.

Assembled Blocks for Overlay

Once the top was complete, I started deciding which areas would be obstructed by the circular overlays.  To assist with this process, I made circles from printer and craft paper so I could experiment with scale.

Overlay Placement 1

Overlay Placement 2

Once the right scale was achieved, I used the paper pieces as templates to cut the fabric pieces.

Overlay Placement 3

After determining the final layout, I cut corresponding circles from quilt top that had a radius 1/2″ smaller.  Then I machine pieced in the circles- thats right- there is NO APPLIQUÉ in this quilt!

For me, the quilting is where my vision really comes to life.  I wanted the texture to tell the story of the quilt even in the sections where the overall pattern is obscured by the circles.  For example- if you were to paint a mural on a brick wall, the color changes with the design, but the underlying texture remains the same.  In this quilt, the Flock of Geese design is carried through the entire quilt top using the quilting.

Overlay front detail

Where the white portions of the Flock of Geese block would fall, vertical matchstick quilting is used. In the red areas, organic mixed motif quilting is used.  The thread color matches each fabric used on the front of the quilt.

Overlay Back

The back of the quilt is a mix of red, white, and aqua Riley Blake fabrics.  A facing finishes the edges of the quilt so there is no visual border trying to contain the circles that appear to float off the edge.

Overlay Back Detail

On the back of the quilt, you can really see some of the thread color changes that blend in on the front of the quilt.

I was able to enter this quilt into the county fair, and it received a first place and a best of division award!

Overlay County Fair

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Overlay

Size: 47″ x 63″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Matchstick and Mixed Motif Free-motion Quilting using an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Riley Blake Rockstar Prints and solids on the front, assorted Riley Blake fabrics on the back

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Thread:  Pieced using Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with 50wt Aurifil in three colors to match the fabrics used

Binding:  Facing in coordinating Riley Blake prints

This quilt was entered into QuiltCon 2018