National Backwards Day!

Today, January 31 is National Backwards Day!  I decided to celebrate by taking a closer look at the back of some quilts and quilt tops.

The backs of quilt tops hardly ever get the glory that they deserve.  Here are some hand appliquéd circles . . .

Circle Applique back

And some machine pieced circles . . .

Stroll back

I love when the quilting transfers the design of the quilt to the back of the project.

Row by Row Back

 

Overlay Back

Franklin Park back

 

Sometimes the design isn’t completely transferred to the back of the quilt, but you can get a general idea of the quilt front.

Customer Quilt back

Pin Mini back

 

Occasionally I do simple, light quilting . . .

Simple Mini Quilt BackBut more often it’s heavy quilting that shows on the back of my quilts . . .  (these two mini quilts are the same design)

Star Block Back

 

Recently I even tried out using doubled batting, which really made the quilting design pop on the back of the quilt (as well as the front).

Secret Sewing Quilt Back

I frequently love the backs of quilts as much as the front!

 

Scatter

The same afternoon that I made the 9 Patch Circle Quilt, I also created Scatter.  I wanted to explore the visual effect of all-over organic placement of the circles compared to the more regimented placement seen in the 9 Patch Circle Quilt.

Scatter front

This is another “sketch” quilt, so prior to quilting the circles are held in place only through the use of Wonder Under fusible web.

Scatter progress 1

The quilting plays the starring role in this mini quilt.  It is a good thing that the quilt is small- even at this side I had an hour of active stitching time!  I selected a very dark 50wt thread to define the edges of the circles.  It reminds me of dark ink on paper painted with bright dots.

Scatter progress 2

For the background quilting, I wanted to define the space with a strong organic design that would echo the primary circles without overshadowing them.  Using white thread on the white background fabric to do the same stitching technique fit this need and it catches the light nicely, not to mention it feels amazing to touch!

Scatter detail

The edges are finished with a simple facing.  I love that the back creates a neutral version of the design!

Scatter back

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Scatter

Size: 18″ x 18″

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

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

100 Day Circle Quilt

Have you ever done a 100 day creative project?  I have heard about these so many times, and even participated in one of the sew-a-longs for the Tula Pink blocks, but I have never set out to do this type of project on my own.  As a confessed binge-quilter, it seems inspiring to work a little bit on a project everyday to end up with a major project.  Once I decided to do the project, there were two big questions: What to do? and When to do it?

Block 1

There were two quilts that I have been contemplating that would have worked well for a 100 day project.  The first is a form of structured improv quilting, and the second was a circle appliqué quilt.  The appliqué quilt ended up winning out since I am currently lacking a hand sewing project, and it is much easier to work on if I’m out of my sewing space.  Currently, I’m not scheduled to go out of town for the first 100 days of the year, but I do like a certain degree of flexibility.

Block 2

As I was deciding when to start the project, I was actually going to avoid starting on the first of the year so I won’t hear all of the statistics and news stories of how quickly people abandon their resolutions.  So why did I start this on January 1st?  I was looking at major days on the calendar, and realized that my birthday falls on the 100th day of the year.  I really don’t know how I had never realized this before, but that timing was too perfect to pass up.

Block 3

I am currently planning a quilt top that will have 100 blocks that each finish at 8″ square.  The first three blocks are shown in this post, and they have all been concentric circles centered on the background square.  I am not sure if I will continue this trend all the way through the project- there are so many other compositional options to consider, and I want to let the project evolve.  I am planning to use mostly solid fabrics, but there are going to be a few prints mixed in in the coming weeks.

I will be doing an occasional progress post here on the blog.  If you want to watch my progress daily, check out my Instagram feed or #100daycirclequilt

Botanical Wonders

The Columbus Museum of Art currently has an exhibit of lovely antique quilts with botanical themes on view through March 11, 2018.  I went to this gallery today, and thought you may enjoy seeing a few of these quilts from the 19th and early 20th century.

Botanical Wonders

  • Left:  Rosebud Wreath, 1865
  • Center:  Cockscomb Variation with Jester’s Plumes, about 1865-1885
  • Right:  Cactus Flower Variation, about 1860-1880

Cockscomb Variation

  • Cockscomb Variation, about 1860-1875

Hawaiian Quilt

  • Hawaiian Quilt, about 1925-1950

Tree of Life

  • Tree of Life, about 1945-1955

Album Quilt

  • Album Quilt, about 1850-1865

Princess Feather Medallion

  • Princess Feather Medallion with Urns of Flowers and Stuffed Work, about 1845-1855

Grapes and Vines

  • Left: Grapes and Vines, about 1925-1935
  • Right: Pink Dogwood with Butterflies, about 1925-1935