Urban Cabins

Earlier this year a quilt group I belong to, The Columbus Modern Quilters, issued a challenge based on a photograph one of our members took in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  (You can see the photo and challenge requirements by clicking the link above.) In the image, parking garages with painted murals stand out against a bright blue sky.  We were challenged to use this photograph for inspiration in creating any type of sewn project.  Urban Cabins is my interpretation.

This quilt is entirely improvisationally pieced, although I did use rulers to help with construction.  I began with fabric bits from my scrap bin, and incorporated larger pieces of fabric as the project grew.  In the original photo, I loved how the brightly colored murals enlivened the surroundings even though they only took up a small portion of the image.  To capture this overall feeling, I included centralized areas of color that spark into their more subdued surroundings.  Concrete and sky colors of tans, greys, and blues dominate the most surface area of the quilt, but the bright colors give the piece life

With so much of the quilt being comprised of similar subtle colors, texture, both visual and physical, played a significant role in completing the design.  The use of both prints and solids create visual shifts in texture, while physical changes between cotton and linen create further interest.  Occasionally a selvage edge is exposed to further enhance the textural variations.

For the quilting, I decided to use evenly spaced, vertical lines to pull the design together, while not overpowering the design of the quilt top.  Vertical lines evoke the energy and feeling of a bustling downtown environment.

I was excited to discover the perfect backing fabric in my stash.  I had purchased it on clearance a long time ago, knowing it would make a great quilt back at some point.  I liked how the bold print varies across the width of the fabric, giving it a mural-like vibe that relates to the original inspiration image.

A facing was the perfect finish to this quilt.  With an energetic design like this, I think it is important to allow the viewer’s eye to continue all the way to the edge of the quilt without the visual barrier of a binding.  Fortunately, I had just enough backing fabric to line up the printed motifs on three sides of the quilt.  I would have loved a perfect match, but there wasn’t that much extra fabric!  The fourth side had black circles, so a solid black fabric worked to finish the edge.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Urban Cabins

Size: 30″ x 40″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Improvisation

Quilting:  Straight line quilting with digital channel locks on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Cotton and linen solids and assorted cotton prints

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Faced with the remaining backing fabric and one strip of solid black fabric.

 

 

 

Composition

I am honored to be an Aurifil Artisan for the second year, and I am particularly excited to participate in a series of challenges that showcase the way their thread is used.  The first challenge is to use our welcome pack of thread to create something new.  (We were actually asked to try a different thread weight, but I have already used them all on previous projects!)  I decided to create a mini quilt that is mounted on an artist’s canvas.  I have been wanting to try something like this for awhile, and this was the perfect opportunity for some experimentation.

My thread choices tend to fall into two categories: bold and colorful, or a perfect match.  The fabrics for this composition were subtle and mostly dark in value.  Three narrow slivers of metallic linen were the lightest fabrics were the lightest values in the piecing.  The deep values provided the perfect canvas to experiment with very subtle shifts of color and thread weight.  The thread colors I selected were 2600 in 12wt, 2905 in 40wt, and 2605 and 2510 in 28wt.  I also added a black 50wt for piecing that I had in my thread stock.

12 and 28 weight threads are particular favorites for bold quilting, and they worked well in this piece too.  I particularly liked how they played with the green 40wt thread which blended the most value-wise to the main fabrics.  My only regret is not using a different batting for the project.  I made the mistake of grabbing an unidentified scrap, and I wish that I had used a black batting to prevent bearding on the dark fabric.  At least I’ll remember to pay more attention next time!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Composition 1

Size: 8″ x 10″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Walking foot quilting on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  Cotton solids and tone on tone prints

Batting:  Unidentified scrap- big mistake!

Thread: Aurifil in 50wt, 40wt, 28wt and 12wt

Binding:  None! The quilt is mounted to an artist’s canvas frame.

 

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.

Columbus Cityscape Block of the Month: Franklin Park Conservatory

The Franklin Park Conservatory is situated just east of the core of downtown Columbus, Ohio and creates a botanical hub for the city.  The main building depicted in this quilt block is primarily a greenhouse structure that hosts plants and artwork that melds with nature.

Each section of the conservatory replicates a different climate and highlights the plant life found in those areas.  Outside, a spectacular children’s garden engages visitors of all ages.

Interspersed throughout the building are installations of Chihuly glass.  This sculpture is the upper portion of a tunnel so you experience the piece by walking below it.

Each winter the conservatory transforms to a winter wonderland covered in colorful lights.  One of my favorite parts of this display are the trees that have their root systems reflected in lights along with their branches.

A hot shop is also part of the conservatory year round, and this tree was created with glass made on site by the artisans doing demonstrations and offering classes.

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.