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.

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

Improv Trees

This weekend I had the opportunity to teach my first improvisational piecing class at Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  And it happened to be one of my all-time favorite improv inspirations- winter trees!  Talk about being perfect for this time of year!  In the sample piece I used a lot of bright colors.

Improv Trees Sample

I love using unexpected fabrics for the trees, especially irregular stripes or splotches.  We spent the first part of class selecting fabrics, and the students made fabulous selections!  Here are a couple student projects.  I tend to get pretty wrapped up in the class itself and forget to take photos, but I can assure you that there was a lot of awesomeness going on!

For the tree fabric strips she selected a print of trees!  Don’t you love how the print looks all cut up?

Improv student process shot

Here is a finished top.  The tree fabric used in this one was a popular choice and looked terrific with a bunch of different backgrounds.

Improv student project

 

I really hope I have the chance to teach this class again!  If you would like to see another example and read more about the process, please check out another improv trees mini quilt I did awhile ago.