Op-Art: Mini Quilt #26

One of the remarkable things that happens when we quilt is that we start to see quilt patterns everywhere we go and in everything we see.  I had been thinking about making a quilt based on op-art for many years- ever since high school when I made a pen and ink op-art painting in art class.  It is fascinating to me that alternating different size and color rectangles can trick the eye into seeing dimension in a 2-D object.OpArt Quilt front view

The largest segment of this quilt finishes at 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ and the smallest is 1/4″ x 1/4″.  I started this quilt top by strip piecing alternating rows of black and white fabric.  Each strip of fabric became more narrow as I worked toward the center of the quilt and then grew progressively larger again.  Since this quilt is symmetrical I was able to cut the strip pieced segment into perpendicular strips in the same manner as the initial strip piecing.  I then flipped every other row over so the bottom square became the top.  This created the grid pattern.OpArt detail

Quilting lines move diagonally in both directions across each black square in the quilt.  This creates a subtle design that does not distract from the main optical illusion.  The backing and binding is the same black fabric that appears in the front grid.OpArt Quilt

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Op-Art Grid

Size:  20″ x 20″

Techniques:  Machine piecing

Quilting:  Linear quilting running diagonally across each black rectangle using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  American Brand Solids in black and white

Batting:  Warm and White ( In retrospect, I think I should have used a black batting (even though there are white segments on the front) because the white batting seems to be bearding through the fabric a bit.)

Thread:  Pieced using polyester 100wt InvisaFil by WonderFil in light grey and quilted with black 50wt cotton quilting thread

Binding:  Coordinating black binding, cut on the bias in 2″ widths, machine stitched on the front, hand stitched to the back

What was new?

Creating an optical illusion in quilt form

Quilt 26 / 50

Quilt 26 / 50

Goal #3 is finished!

Goal #3 is finished!

 This week I’m linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She, Pet Project Show at Pink Doxies, Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts, Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, and Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Please stop by to see all of the awesome work being created!

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

This summer, I am thrilled to have joined up with a group of amazing new quilt bloggers for the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

The hosts this year are:

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group

I am so happy to be a member of Cheryl’s group, The New Bees.

New Bee Button

I really encourage you to stop by the other New Bees members who are posting this week:

I started blogging in December of 2014 and the first quilt that I shared, Petals in the Wind (Low Volume Fail, Pastel Win!), is still one of my favorites.  This quilt has been accepted into the American Quilter’s Society shows in Syracuse, Grand Rapids, and Chattanooga this year.

Petals in the Wind

Petals in the Wind

Modern Log Cabin is the first quilt that I made after I returned to quilting last year.  It is a “potholder” style quilt that reverses from grey to blue.  This quilt was exhibited at the AQS show in Paducah earlier this year and will also be in the Modern Quilt categories at Grand Rapids and Chattanooga.

Modern Log Cabin

Modern Log Cabin

My pet project for 2015 is to make 50 mini quilts over the course of the year.  So far, I have completed 23/50.  Mini Quilt Mania gives me a format to experiment with a variety of quilting techniques without having to commit to a large project- it’s like keeping a sketchbook!  Details about this project as well as a full list of the mini quilts can be found in the Mini Quilt Mania post.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

π, pi, PIE!

π, pi, PIE!

Embellished Spring

Embellished Spring

Marsala Mini Quilt

Marsala Mini Quilt

Rainbow Roundabout

Rainbow Roundabout

Fruit Crush

Fruit Crush

May Flower

May Flower

Yellow Rays

Yellow Rays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you’ve seen a bit of my work, would you like to hear how I got here?

How did you learn to sew?  My Mom started teaching me to sew before I was even in Kindergarten, so the details are a little hazy.  My first quilt was completed when I was about eight, and once I was old enough for 4-H,  I did sewing projects every year for the next decade.  As I grew older, I moved away from quilting and toward clothing construction.  Quilting by hand was just so painfully slow, and after finishing one twin sized quilt, I was done.  In high school I did make a couple of machine quilted jackets that I received student awards for at the American Quilter’s Society Fashion Show in Paducah.

What did you do then?  I went off to college to get a BFA, and since I could sew, I was assigned to do my work-study job in the costume shop of the Drama Department.  I ended up double majoring in Painting and Theatre Design and Technology and later went on to earn an MFA in Scenic Design.  I have worked with many theaters over the years, including ten seasons with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and have worked at a few universities as well.

What has Theatre taught you about sewing?  I am pretty sure I can sew almost anything at this point.  I have created custom patterns and constructed clothing for almost every historical period, sewn stage curtains and drapes, done upholstery, and devised stage props ranging from drawstring bags to a 25′ long pleated, cylindrical (and very phallic), pink velour pillow with tassels at the ends.  Knowing that something very specific has to be created within a certain time frame means  there is little time to worry about messing it up- at some point you just have to dive in and make it happen.  You also become really adept at solving the “challenges” that seem to develop with each project.  This is excellent preparation for devising quilt patterns!

How did you return to quilting?  I was at a job where I wasn’t required to sew a lot, and I thought that maybe I would sew something for myself.  I wandered into a locally owned shop and was stunned to see all the new quilting fabrics.  Pair that selection with fact that machine quilting is now far more acceptable (even expected!), and I was hooked!

Quilting Tip:  Every once in awhile create your own challenge.  Limit it to a small, quick project like a mini quilt or simple bag.  Restrict parameters  so once you start so you will have already limited the choices you have because sometimes having infinite options can really slow us down.  I like to preselect a project, color scheme, and time frame.  An example could be:  One weekend to create a quilted bag using only the colors of black, white, grey, and green using fabrics and supplies already on hand. These small projects can force us to think creatively and can help improve our problem solving “toolbox” for other larger projects.

Blogging Tip:  At the beginning of the year  I created a eight inch square mini quilt that I have used as a background image for all blog “signage” that I have needed.  It provides a consistent element within the blog, and I always have an image available for posts that don’t have a feature quilt picture.

Random Facts:

  • Right now I do freelance work.  Most recently, I worked as a draper (costume pattern maker) for the Summer Nutmeg Series of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre.  If you would like to see photos, please check out their Instagram at https://instagram.com/ctrepertorytheatre/  This summer we did Les Mis, Peter Pan, and Xanadu.  The metallic silk chiffon dresses for Xanadu are especially fun- so shiny!
  • I have traveled to 29 US states and lived in Ohio, Missouri, Utah, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Indiana
  • My favorite food is a pretty even tie between pizza, saag paneer, and any sweet baked good
  • Growing up I raised chickens (mostly White Plymouth Rocks)
  • When I sew I almost always watch Netflix (Downton Abby is a favorite) or listen to a podcast (I’ve been catching up on Modern Sewciety)
  • My most commonly requested baked good is a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Yum!

I have been thinking a lot about gathering inspiration for quilt designs and color schemes and will probably be writing a post on this soon.  What are your thoughts?  Where do you find your inspiration?  Do you tend to be more inspired by quilt related items (books, magazines, quilt shows, etc.)?  Or do you tend to draw more inspiration from seemingly unrelated sources (art, nature, architecture, etc.)?  Is it a combination of these?

Thank you so much for coming by, and I hope to have you visit again!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Petals in the Wind

My second entry to this Spring’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival is Petals in the Wind (also known as Low Volume Fail, Pastel Win!)  This was the very first quilt I shared on this blog, and I am really happy to be able to show it again!

Petals in the Wind blog full view

With this quilt, I was interested in creating a sense of movement and explore the use of negative space.  In this instance, the idea of negative space has a very literal interpretation.  Each area of the quilt was created as a separate segment.  When these pieces combine, there are open area designed into the quilt.

Cassandra I Beaver Low Volume Fail Detail B

 

Each section is constructed using curved improvisational piecing, heavily quilted with lines that emphasize the curves of the piecing, and the edges bound prior to joining it with other sections of the quilt.  If you are interested in reading more about the design process involved with this quilt, please stop by the original post for Petals in the Wind.

Petals in the Wind detail a

A Spring breeze has many small gusts which join together to gently rustle through young foliage and toss colorful petals through the air.  By creating the quilt in sections, I hoped to add to the visual movement of the piece and create a feeling of that Spring breeze.  The open spaces represent moments of calm on a windy day.

Petals in the Wind detail b

In this quilt, the petals are represented by hexagons appliquéd throughout the quilt and in the spaces between segments.  The hexagons are created by folding a circle (I have shown a very similar technique in this post), then embellishing the shape with a fabric yo-yo, cotton and silk threads, and glass beads.

Petals in the Wind detail c

This quilt will be in the Art Quilt Category of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival.  The Festival is currently open for entries and nominations for viewer’s choice.  Please stop by to see all of the lovely quilts that have been entered, and come back between May 22-29 to vote for your favorites in every category!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Petals in the Wind

Size: 66″w x 47″h

Techniques:  Machine Improvisational Piecing, Hand Appliqué, Hand Embroidery, Glass Bead Details

Quilting:  Machine quilted using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics: 100% cotton prints and batiks

Batting:  Warm and Natural cotton batting

Thread:  Cotton machine quilting thread

Binding:  Bias, cut in 2″ strips from fabrics used in the quilt.  Machine stitched to the front, and hand stitched to the back

What’s Next for this Quilt?  Look for this quilt at the American Quilter’s Society show in Syracuse, NY later this year!

 

Graffiti Feathers: Mini Quilt #16

For a lot of my recent quilting, I have been creating designs that can be executed with a walking foot.  I love the results, but constantly turning my quilt and having to bury threads was getting a bit old!  So for this week’s mini quilt I decided some free motion work was in order!

Graffiti Feathers front view

I was just a couple inches away from finishing the binding on this quilt when it started to pour down rain, and it has been raining ever since.  For now I have to settle for indoor photographs, but I will update them when I can get better shots outside.

I knew I wanted a bunch of negative space to free motion quilt in, but I wanted to try working with a quilt top that had a design element of it’s own.  Knowing that I wanted to incorporate feathers into the quilting design, I thought that a single, colorful, stylized feather might make an interesting focal point.

First, I drew the feather design on freezer paper using the same drawing technique I would use to free motion quilt later.  Then I refined the feather and cut out the petal shapes, labeling them carefully as I went.  Once it was time to bring fabric into the mix, I adhered Wonder Under to the back of my fabric scraps before ironing the freezer paper patterns to the front.  The finished petals adhered nicely to the white Kona Cotton base fabric, and I did a machine blanket stitch around all of the edges to further secure the pieces.

Graffiti Feathers Detail

Since so many of my recent quilting designs have involves tons of starting and stopping (and burying of thread tails!), I thought it would be an interesting challenge to never stop quilting (unless I ran out of bobbin).  This was my first attempt at graffiti quilting, and I didn’t mark any of my designs ahead of time.  Using a variegated thread was also a new experience and the aesthetic effect worked really well in this context.  I had a spool of Gutermann cotton quilting thread that I had been given at some point.  I liked the coloring of the thread, but I thought it felt thinner than other brands of 50 wt thread.  It also left behind way more lint than other cotton threads I have used.  I normally love Gutermann thread, and use the Mara 100 for clothing and other general sewing, as well as a lot of quilt piecing.  I would not buy the cotton machine quilting thread again, so I will be seeking out a different brand of variegated thread to try. It was very freeing to do whatever design I wanted, waiting to see what the design wanted at that moment.  I think I’ll be trying this technique again!

I like how the quilting looks on the solid white back.  The binding is a scrappy mix of fabrics also used for the feather design.

Graffiti Feathers back view

Quilt Stats

Title:  Graffiti Feathers

Size: 19″x19″

Techniques:  Fusible appliqué with machine blanket stitching

Quilting:  Free motion quilted on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics:  Front base and backing- white Kona Cotton, Feather design- misc. warm colored scraps

Batting:  Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Red Variegated, 50 wt, Gutermann Cotton Machine Quilting Thread

Binding:  Scrappy binding, cut on the bias in 2″ strips, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

What was new:

Graffiti Quilting

Quilting with Variegated Thread

Quilt 16 / 50

Quilt 16 / 50

Goal #2 is Finished!

Goal #2 is Finished!

Marsala Mini: Mini Quilt #13

Pantone’s color of the year for 2015 is Marsala, a warm red with brown undertones.  Every year, I look forward to finding out the color of the year, and I knew that this year I would explore the color in the form of a quilt.  I was even more excited when I heard about the Pantone Quilt Challenge at On the Windy Side and Play Crafts.Marsala Mini Front View

The Pantone website features a quote by their executive director, Leatrice Eiseman, describing marsala as a color which “enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us into its embracing warmth.”  The challenge for me was that marsala isn’t a color that I’m particularly drawn to.  However, I learned long ago that there is no “ugly” color- it is all in how you use it.  I certainly wouldn’t label marsala with the U-word, but it is skating a bit to close too brown for my taste, and so many red-brown fabrics can look depressing or even dead.  Fortunately, last fall I picked up several fat quarters of marsala-like fabrics from a clearance bin.  Maybe my subconscious is better at picking up color trends than the rest of my brain, but I was sure glad that I had these when the color of the year was announced!  I mixed those with a few other marsala-y reds to come up with my basic palette. Marsala Fabric

When I am not immediately inspired, I will often do some sort of free writing or word association with the topic or theme.  For me marsala is associated with things like wine, curry, tomato sauce, roses, lipstick-  sensuality, volume, and curves come to mind.  The more I thought about this color, the more I thought that marsala calls out to be used in an Art Nouveau inspired design.

In looking at some Art Nouveau research, I landed on this tile design.  For me, the curves of this design seemed to be the perfect match for marsala.ANTD-080_i

I popped the image into the computer to create three graphics that would help in the creation of this quilt.  The first was a line drawing for the main pieces of fabric.  I printed this image on freezer paper so I could cut apart the image, iron the pieces to fabric and press the seam allowances around the paper.  This allowed me to assemble the quilt top using English Paper Piecing style techniques.Marsala Mini line drawing a

Over the line drawing I added a layer showing the smaller pieces of fabric that I would later add using wonder under.  I also printed this off on freezer paper to make it easier to cut these shapes.  (Hint:  Freezer paper won’t stick well to the paper backing of wonder under.  I ironed the wonder under to the back of the fabric and the freezer paper to the front.  It was really easy to cut these fairly small shapes, and you could even leave the freezer paper in place to add stability to the fabric after the paper wonder under backing is removed.  Once the fabric is ironed in place you can peel back the freezer paper.)Marsala Mini line drawing b

The final graphic I created was a color image which I used to help determine general fabric placement.  After quite a bit of experimentation, I decided that marsala paired beautifully with oranges and deep, muted violets, blues, and greys.Marsala Mini color

The main construction of the top was done entirely by hand.

Main Marsala top construction with tan appliqués in place

Main Marsala top construction with tan appliqués in place

With the main construction complete, I adhered the smaller pieces to the quilt using Wonder Under before using a machine blanket stitch to sew around the edges of the appliqués.Marsala Process B

Here is the back view of the quilt top- I just love seeing “behind the scenes” on this sort of construction!Marsala Process B back

The quilt back is improvisationally pieced using marsala colored fabrics.

Marsala Mini back view

Marsala Mini back view

For the quilting I decided to do fairly heavy quilting echoing each shape in the design.

Marsala Front detail

Marsala Mini front detail

Marsala Mini back detail

Marsala Mini back detail

I am pretty sure that this is my favorite mini I have done in this series, so I am really glad that I went out of my comfort zone to embrace marsala!  What do you think of marsala?  Are you making a project using marsala this year?

Quilt Stats

Title:  Marsala Mini

Size: 13″x17″

Techniques:  English paper piecing, machine appliqué, improvisational piecing

Quilting:  Echo stitching done using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics:  Kona in wine and charcoal; Alison Glass prints; Basketweave, Whisper, and a couple other prints from Riverwoods Collection by the Troy Corporation; Carolyn Friedlander Botanics print; several prints and batiks from unidentified fat quarters.

Batting:  Warm and White Cotton Batting

Thread:  Pieced with Gutermann Mara 100 color 245 (a warm clay/taupe color), Machine appliquéd with Gutermann Mara 100 in color 257 (a dark plum sort of color), Quilted with Connecting Threads Essential cotton thread in Red

Binding:  Strips cut on the bias in 2″ widths, machine sewn to the front, hand sewn to the back

What was new:

Using English paper piecing techniques on irregularly curved shapes

Quilt 13 / 50

Quilt 13 / 50

Goal #12 is Finished!

Goal #12 is Finished!

I’m linking this post up with Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt InfatuationFabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, Pet Project at Pink Doxies, Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She, and Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.  Please stop by to see all of the lovely work being created!