Columbus Cityscape Block of the Month: Zoo

Columbus, Ohio is home to a world class zoo, and I am excited that July’s block of the month will focus on this amazing location!

Zoo Polar Bear Block

The zoo is a heavily themed location, with much of the architectural styling based on other locations around the world.  I knew that I didn’t want to copy anything that has already been reinterpreted, so I started thinking about what comes to mind for this particular zoo.  Near the top of the list is their highly successful (and ecologically responsible) polar bear breading program.  In late 2016, three polar bear cubs were born at the zoo, and the photos I used for this block were from the following summer.  The cubs are nearly grown up now!  I am pretty sure these photos are of Amelia Grey and her mother, Anana.

Polar Bears

I wanted a good profile angle for the quilt block, and this photo was the winner.  To start the design process, I added the photo to an AutoCad document, then traced the major sections of the bear to find the shapes that would best create the form in fabric.  Red lines tend to show up well on most photographs.

Polar Bear Design Process

In the quilt the polar bear is in the top left corner, so she can overlook the city!  The pattern for this block is available exclusively from Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  I will also be doing a free demonstration of paper piecing for this block Sunday, July 8, 2018 at 1pm at the shop.

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You can find out more about the polar bears at the Columbus Zoo by reading about the four cubs born at the zoo.  This article talks a lot about Nora, the first cub born at the zoo, but they also talk about the three cubs born in 2016.  There is also a lot of good information about polar bears in general.

Beautiful Ohio Row by Row

The international shop hop, Row by Row, starts tomorrow!  This is the third year I have designed the row for one of my local quilt shops, Dabble and Stitch, which is located in Columbus, Ohio.  The patterns for all blocks in the Row by Row are available for free at participating shops, and kits are for sale if you would like to use the same fabrics as the sample blocks.  This year’s theme is “Sew Musical.”

Beautiful Ohio Finished

The official state song for Ohio is “Beautiful Ohio,” and this song is the starting point for the row.  I located the sheet music for the song, and placed a circle over each note for the signature phrase.  When these notes are connected they formed the shape of the rolling hills of central Ohio.

Beautiful Ohio detail 1

Simple foundation paper piecing is used to construct the main portion of the block, and the circles and wording are added with applique.  I chose to use needle turn applique, but I included additional lines on the templates for raw edge applique, so each person can choose which process to use.

Beautiful Ohio detail 2

“Sew Musical” was a particularly challenging theme since music is experienced mostly through your sense of hearing and quilting is a visual and tactile medium.  The quilting stitches provided an opportunity to add much needed movement to the block.  A spiral of quilting emanates from each circle, and once the spirals intersect, echo stitching completes the machine quilting.  To add a different rhythmic feel to the piece, large stitch hand quilting is added between lines of machine stitching.  Several colors of thread in 12wt and 28wt were used to complete the project.

Beautiful Ohio back detail

Facings finish the edges of the sample block.  Since this block captures just a single phrase of the song, I wanted to allow the lines of the design to continue without a visual frame.

Beautiful Ohio back

Quilt Stats

Title:  Beautiful Ohio

Size: 9″ x 36″

Techniques:  Foundation Paper Piecing, Needle Turn Applique

Quilting:  Machine echo quilting using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008 domestic and large stitch hand quilting

Fabric:  Assorted cotton prints and solids

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt, 28wt, and 12wt cotton Aurifil in multiple colors

Binding:  Faced with print matching the quilt backing

Bonus!

Here are the blocks I have designed in previous in previous years.  Both patterns are still available through Dabble and Stitch.

2016 Theme:  Home Sweet Home

Columbus Skyline

Quilted Columbus Skyline Row Mini

2017 Theme: On the Go!

Lane Avenue Bridge

Lane Ave Bridge Full

Give and Take

Curated Quilts magazine issues a mini quilt challenge for each issue, and I love to see all of the amazing submissions.  Until now I have never contributed an entry, but I enjoyed making Synthesized Slivers so much, I was eager to participate in another challenge.

Give and Take front

Curated quilts provided a theme of Connections/Improv and a color palette which included cream, yellow, mustard yellow, navy, moss green, and grey.  We could use as many or as few of these colors as we liked, and I ended up using all of the colors except for cream.  Navy, grey, and mustard yellow are represented in the fabrics, and the quilting done in navy, grey, moss green, and yellow.

Give and Take detail 2

With the theme of connections in mind, I wanted to use roughly equal amounts of grey and navy fabrics with gear-like wedges intersecting where they meet.  When cogs come together, they set off a series of reactions that is greater than either component on its own.

Give and Take detail 1

The quilting is dense matchstick stitching that both echos the pieced designs and integrates additional curves.  The majority of the navy and grey sections are quilted in coordinating 50wt thread.  For areas that needed extra emphasis I used 12wt green and 40wt yellow thread.

Give and Take back

Quilt Stats

Title:  Give and Take

Size: 12″ x 12″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Improvisational Piecing

Quilting:  Matchstick echo quilting using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008 domestic

Fabric:  Assorted solids and one print by Carolyn Friedlander

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt, 40wt, and 12wt cotton Aurifil in four colors

Binding:  Faced with navy solid matching the quilt backing

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