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

Columbus Cityscape Block of the Month: Art Museum

June is the second month of the Block of the Month Quilt I have been designing for Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  This year we are creating representational blocks of city landmarks, and this month’s block is the Art Museum.

Art Museum Block 2

The Columbus Museum of Art recently opened a new addition which houses galleries of contemporary art and traveling exhibitions.  I enjoy seeing how designers incorporate contemporary architecture with historic buildings.  In this case, a glass enclosed hall joins the two sections of the building, giving a slight visual break between old and new.

This is one of the longest buildings included in this quilt, and I couldn’t get far enough away from the museum to take a single photo of the facade.  This image is a composite of two photos that I used to draft the block.

Art Museum Composite 2

I drafted each block in AutoCAD Light, and I start by tracing over the reference image.  The most challenging part of the process is determining which architectural details are critical to the story of the building, and which details can be omitted.  When drafting in AutoCAD, you can zoom in to draft details that are too tiny to measure.  For foundation paper pieced blocks, I don’t want any pieces narrower than 1/8 inch.

Art Museum Drafting Process

Finishing at 14″x52″, this is one of the largest blocks in the quilt.  The background for the quilt is a Grunge print, and the buildings are all solids.  The only exception to the solids rule are for banners that adorn many of the buildings in town.  The art museum typically has two banners on either side of the central archways.  For the specialty prints, I selected a floral to represent the historic wing of the museum, and a geometric print to represent the contemporary wing.

Art Museum Detail

The entire quilt includes twelve major landmarks and two street signs.  It is constructed using mostly foundation paper piecing and traditional piecing.  You can still sign up with Dabble and Stitch if you would like to join in the fun!  As an added bonus, I demo a portion of the current block one Sunday afternoon each month.  This month the demo will be June 3 at 1pm.

Quilt

 

Synthesized Slivers

A few weeks ago, I came across a call for entries for the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge hosted by Quilt Expo.  It has been awhile since I have done a mini quilt, and I was feeling the need for a relatively quick finish, so I jumped in.  One of my friends has been giving me a hard time about my extreme dislike of brown fabric, so I decided this would be a good challenge to incorporate my least favorite color.

Synthesized Slivers front

My initial fabric pull centered around a stack of quilter’s denim made by Art Gallery Fabrics.  I had received the fat quarter bundle during QuiltCon 2017, and I had been waiting for the perfect project to come up.  I love the utilitarian texture the fabric has and the value shifts between fabrics were seamless.  I did add a few other fabrics in to serve as accent pieces.  These included a bright green solid, metallic linen, and a silk/cotton blend.

Synthesized Slivers Fabric Pull

I started the quilt by constructing small blocks in a variety of sizes using background fabrics in a range of colors and values.  The slivers of accent fabrics finish at 1/8″ wide.  I used a ruler to cut the slits in straight lines, but only actually measured to square up each block after the slivers were added.

Synthesized Slivers process

At this point, my friend saw the progress and informed me that tan is most definitely NOT Brown, even though I still insist that it is ;).  In keeping with the challenge, I went out and purchased a small cut of chocolate brown Kona.  There wasn’t a speck of true brown in any of my stash!

Synthesized Slivers quilt top

After constructing a few more blocks, I started putting everything together.  I think this is the most challenging part of the process, but this top came together, and only required a couple partial seams.

Synthesized Slivers with Monty

Monty is my cat that demands likes to be held constantly.  I was taking photos right after he had woken up from his first afternoon nap, and he really wanted my attention!  If you manage to look past the cat, you can see the back of the quilt top.  I made sure to press all of the sliver seam allowances toward the background to make the slivers recede a bit.

Synthesized Slivers back of quilt top with monty

This is a small quilt so I quickly pin basted it and selected six colors of Aurifil to match the background fabrics.

Synthesized Slivers thread choices

I wanted to accentuate the angles that are incorporated into the design, so I used echo quilting to highlight the design of each block.

Synthesized Slivers quilting detail

The back is the same bright green accent color used on the front of the quilt.  I like how the different thread colors add value shifts to the back of the quilt.  I didn’t want to frame the quilt in with a binding, so the edges are finished with facings to match the backing fabric.

Synthesized Slivers back

I am so glad that I made this quilt, and even I think the brown actually works in it!

Synthesized Slivers angled quilting detail

 

Quilt Stats

Title:  Synthesized Slivers

Size: 22″ x 19″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Improvisational Piecing

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

Fabric:  Art Gallery Quilter’s Denim, Kona Cotton, Metallic Blend, Silk/Cotton Blend

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt cotton Aurifil in six colors

Binding:  Faced with Kona Cotton matching the quilt backing

Resonance: A 100 Day Quilt Project

My 100 Day Quilt project was a success, and I want to thank everyone who followed the progress on Instagram!  Resonance is the ultimate result.  It was named in reference to the quilting stitches which echo out from a central point.  If you would like to know more about the start of the project, check out the first post about the 100 Day Circle Quilt Project.

Resonance front view

Constructing the blocks for the quilt took the most time- 89 days.  Most blocks had two-three concentric circles, but several included multiple circles set near each other.  Here are a couple of examples:

Block 89

Block 8

The next two days were spent trimming the blocks to their finished size.

Trimmed Blocks

Laying the quilt out was a bit tricky.  Since it was too large for my design wall, I cleared out the kitchen and arranged the blocks on the floor.  This photo was taken with my phone touching the ceiling, and I still couldn’t get far enough away to capture the entire quilt design.

Block Layout

After a couple more days, the quilt top was finished.

Quilt Top

There were 13 different colors of thread used to quilt the project.  A different thread was used for each fabric.  This extended the color beyond the edge of each circle, and ensured that the back, as well as the front of the quilt, would show each color change.  I knew that I would want lots of lines of stitching around each circle, so I decided to use 50wt thread so I could do lots of stitching without excessive thread build up.

Quilting Thread

Here is the quilt loaded and basted on the longarm.

Loaded Quilt

The quilting process took quite a long time.  I quilted each circle from the inside out to prevent bunching in the fabric, so there were a lot of thread changes.

Circle Quilting Process

Once the circles were quilted, I did large scale bubble quilting in the background.

Quilting Process

 

Resonance Detail 1

 

Angled Quilting Detail

There were more than a million quilting stitches in this project.  I’m pretty sure that is a personal record!

Stitch Counter

The binding is mostly white, with some sporadic shots of color.

Binding

I love the way the back of the quilt looks!

Resonance back view

To cap it off, Aurifil asked to use this quilt in their booth at Spring Market this past weekend!  This is my first quilt to be included at a Quilt Market, so I was very excited!

Photo courtesy of Sylvia of Flying Parrot Quilts

Photo courtesy of Sylvia of Flying Parrot Quilts

Photo courtesy of Aurifil

Photo courtesy of Aurifil

Quilt Stats

Title:  Resonance

Size: 79″ x 79″

Techniques:  Hand Applique, Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Free motion quilting with an A-1 Longarm machine

Fabric:  Assorted solids and white-on-white prints

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt cotton Aurifil in 13 colors

Binding:  White Kona Cotton with colorful inserts, cut on the bias at 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front, hand finished

Zenith

Each year the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild issues a color challenge.  For the past two years the challenge has been the same: Combine the Pantone and Kona colors of the year into a single sewn object.  My project for last year’s challenge was an improv quilt inspired by the Franklin Park Conservatory.  The quilt I made for this year’s color challenge is also improv, but it is more structured this time around.

Zenith front

In 2018 the Pantone color of the year is Ultraviolet and the Kona color is Tiger Lily.  Among our group this combination had both lovers and haters.

2018 challenge colors

 

I could definitely see the potential, and wanted to embrace the violets while pushing the piece toward warmer tones.  The beginning of my fabric pull looked like this.

Zenith fabric pull

Around the time this challenge was issued, the Columbus Museum of Art was hosting a special exhibit which included this oil painting, The Bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, by Georges Lacombe which was painted around 1902-1904.  The color range in this painting was exactly what I had imagined when I saw the challenge colors.

Georges Lacombe painting

The quilt top was constructed using structured improv- I measured and used rulers, but the placement of each piece of fabric was determined on the fly.  About 2/3 of the quilt went together quickly, but the lower left corner was problematic.

Zenith process 1

 

Zenith process 2

After over a month of struggling with it, I finally came to terms with the fact that I just didn’t have the right pink fabrics to complete the top.  (How could I possibly be lacking pink of all colors!)  Once I added more pink solids to the palette, the top was easy to finish.

Since the quilting is done on a 120 degree angle, and the piece isn’t particularly large, I decided it would be easier to do the quilting with a walking foot on my domestic machine.  It is almost matchstick quilted.  The machine stitching is randomly spaced from 1/8″ to 1/2.”  Once the machine quilting was finished, I added large stitch hand quilting in the larger gaps between the machine stitching.  It was important to me that the quilting stitches add personality to the quilt, so I used a range of thread colors and weights.  By the time the quilting was finished I had incorporated 50wt, 40wt, 28wt, and 12wt thread into the quilt.

Zenith detail 1

Zenith detail 2

Zenith detail 3

The majority of the fabrics used in the quilt are solids, but there are a few prints worked into the design.  One of those prints, a Tula Pink stripe, was perfect for a bias binding.  I combined this print with some yellow solids to finish off the quilt.

Zenith binding

Quilt Stats

Title:  Zenith

Size: 53″ x 69″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Structured Improvisational Piecing

Quilting:  Almost-Matchstick machine quilting on a Bernina 1008 domestic, large stitch hand quilting

Fabric:  Assorted quilt shop quality, 100% cotton solid and print fabrics, and backing of wide-back Tula Pink Print

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt, 40wt, 28wt, and 12wt cotton Aurifil

Binding:  Tula Pink stripes and yellow solids, cut on the bias at 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front, hand finished

This quilt is entered in the Pantone Color of the Year Challenge at Bryan House Quilts and No Hats in the House.  Click the links to check out all of the fabulous entries!  My country of residence in the United States.