Infused Plaid

If you follow me on Instagram, you will probably recognize “Infused Plaid” since it is one of my favorite quilts and has traveled quite a bit.  However, I recently realized that I had never blogged about this quilt.  Since this week is the Blogger’s Quilt Festival over at Amy’s Creative Side, I thought I would take the opportunity to have a more in-depth look at this quilt.

Much of quilting is done in a standard routine.  There may be slight variations depending on the specific project and the person making the project, but it usually looks something like this:

  1. Design/create a pattern, or set personal parameters if it will be an improv project
  2. Select fabrics
  3. Construct the quilt top
  4. Choose a quilting design
  5. Layer the quilt backing, batting, and top through basting or loading on a longarm
  6. Quilt the project
  7. Trim and finish the quilt edges.

For Infused Plaid, I decided to mix up the process by starting with designing the pattern of the quilting stitches first.  Then, based on where each color of quilting stitches intersected with the same color, I placed a rectangle or square of matching fabric that would be pieced into the quilt top.

Drafting of the Infused Plaid design

Following the design process, most of the construction of the quilt is done in a standard manner.  The quilt top construction is fairly straightforward and goes together quickly, but the design doesn’t come together until the colorful quilting stitches are added.

This quilt was basted on the longarm machine and then quilted with a walking foot on my domestic Bernina.  For this project, I basted with regular thread, but I since started basting with water soluble thread.  It is amazing to not have to pull out basting stitches!

When I do matchstick quilting, I quilt all one direction first, then quilt any stitching lines that go in the opposite direction.  The dominant, colorful quilting is done first by marking the lines using a 60″ ruler and a roll of masking tape.  In the negative space of the quilt, I place parallel lines of masking tape approximately four inches apart across the quilt to indicate where the first set of quilting stitches will go.  I stitch on either side of the masking tape and remove it as soon as I possibly can.  Next I place a line of stitching about halfway between the previous lines, then halfway between those lines.  The process continues until the lines are approximately 1/8″ apart.  Finally, I mark and stitch the colorful lines running in the opposite direction to complete the plaid design.

Infused Plaid is mostly about the use of quilting thread.  The brightly colored threads are stitched using 28wt thread on the top of the quilt and 50wt on the bottom.  The heavier thread creates a stronger design on the top of the quilt, while the thinner thread in the bobbin helps keep the quilt softer and allows more thread to be loaded onto the bobbin.  The rows of white matchstick stitching is done with 50wt thread on both the top and bottom of the quilt.

As I quilt, I try to make the lines as perfect as possible, but when minor (inevitable) variations occur, I never take them out to redo that portion of the line.  I prefer to leave these moments as a reminder that this is still a hand crafted item.  If the final quilt would become too perfect, it would look like it was constructed by an automated machine rather than a human being.  The “flaws” are what gives this type of quilt some character!

Dense quilting, particularly if it is done on a domestic machine, can result in a quilt that doesn’t want to lay flat.  To deal with this issue, I block my matchstick quilted quilts.  The planning for this process starts very early on when I make my quilt top, because I like to make my top at least a couple inches larger than I hope the quilt will finish.  Since I work with so much negative space, I can to this without worrying too much about how trimming the edges will effect the overall aesthetic.

As soon as a quilt like this is finished, I soak it to prepare for blocking (and remove water soluble basting thread if it was used).  Then I “stretch” the quilt on a simple wooden frame that I staple the edges of the quilt to.  The biggest concern at this point is to make sure the lines of colorful stitching remain as straight as possible.  While the quilt is wet, it is easy to inadvertently distort the lines of stitching.  The stapling process is done on the floor, but once it is complete, I can stand the frame up to allow for better air circulation.  Sometimes I even take the quilt outside for awhile to dry.  It usually only takes a couple hours to dry, but I try to leave the quilt on the frame overnight to make sure that it is completely dry.  I hadn’t taken any photos of Infused Plaid while it was on the frame, so the quilt you see on the frame below is Pivoted Plaid, a close cousin to Infused Plaid.  (What can I say?- I really like plaid!)

To continue the visual lines of the plaid design all the way to the edge of the quilt, I used facings to finish the edge of the quilt rather than a visible binding.

Infused Plaid has been shown in quite a few venues.  It started by being a project in Modern Patchwork magazine.  Then it went to QuiltCon in Savannah where it received a first place in the Negative Space category.  Next it went to the American Quilter’s Society Spring Paducah show where it won a first place in the Modern Quilt category.

It went to several more shows and was included in the book Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century.

Infused Plaid in Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century

Recently, Infused Plaid joined its new home as part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  The museum collection focuses on quilts made since the 1980’s, and I am thrilled that this is the first modern quilt to join their amazing collection!

Infused Plaid at The National Quilt Museum

Quilt Stats

Title:  Infused Plaid

Size: 61″ x 61″

Techniques:  Traditional machine piecing

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

Fabric:  Kona Cottons

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 Cotton Poly Blend

Thread: Quilted with 28wt and 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Faced with fabric matching the quilt backing

Entries for QuiltCon 2018

QuiltCon 2018 is coming up in February, and Thursday was the last day for entries.  I always end up having one quilt that I either:

1) Have to make by the deadline – or

2) Allow to grow from a small project to a big one.

My Michael Miller Challenge quilt was definitely the second.  It was going to be a small-ish wall quilt, but it ended up being a generous lap quilt at 63″x69″.

Complementary Composition full

“Overlay” is my second entry and is entered in the Modern Traditionalism category.  This was also my entry in the Riley Blake Challenge earlier this year.  I really hope this one gets in- it is a personal favorite!

Overlay full

For my negative space entry, I continued exploring the idea of highlighting the use of thread to tell the story of the design.

Pivoted Plaid full

“Lateral Ascension” is entered in the Minimalism category.  The design is inspired by the drafted front elevation of a spiral staircase.

Lateral Ascension full

Franklin Park/Greenery in the Garden” is the only quilt I have actually written a more in depth post about.  It is entered into the Improvisational category.

Franklin Park full

Even though there is now a maximum number of five quilts accepted per entrant, I couldn’t resist adding a sixth entry.  I would love to share it with you, but it is a piece of secret sewing, so I will have to wait (and so will you!)

I have been away from the blog for awhile, and I am really missing it.  In the hopes of encouraging myself to make it more of a habit to blog, I am going to try participating in the 31 Day Blog Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda at muppin.com.

BlogChallengeYr3-1

 

2017 Planning Post

2016 flew by and now that we are just hours away from starting 2017, I thought I would share some of my Quilt-y goals for the coming year as well as some 2016 highlights.

2017-quilty-plans

Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl is once again hosting a link up for a 2017 Planning Party, and this post is linked there.

Most of my goals are for 2017 are building on the goals I set for 2016, so I thought I would share a few highlights from the past year as well as some future plans.

1.  Write and Publish Quilt Patterns:

In 2016 I added several free original patterns to my Craftsy Pattern Shop, including Sand Dollar Star, a Filmstrip Block, and Berry Patch Plaid.  Also added this year were instructions for traditional Hourglass and Ohio Star blocks.  Also this year I designed the Row by Row design for Dabble and Stitch, one of my local quilt shops.  This pattern is now available for sale both individually and as a kit.  It will soon be added to my Craftsy shop as well.

I am thrilled to be working on an original set of patterns that will be a Block of the Month for Dabble and Stitch!  These blocks are based on areas of Columbus, Ohio, but will (hopefully) be appealing for everyone.  I am nearly ready to release full paid patterns for an arrow baby quilt (which I designed for my new great-nephew) and a star quilt.

2.  Submit Work to Magazines:

This goes right along with goal #1.  This year I had a quilt in the project section of Generation Q magazine, a pair of Christmas Stockings were in Modern Patchwork Gift, and a block appeared in 100 Blocks.  I also had a quilt included in an article appearing in Simply Moderne as well as a few quilts that appeared as contest winners in several issues of American Quilter.

2017 is already looking promising on this front.  One quilt is scheduled to appear in a magazine coming out next month, and I long arm quilted a beautiful quilt design that will be in another magazine around the same time.

3.  Enter and Attend Quilt Shows:

2016 was a fantastic year for this!  I was lucky enough to have quilts in QuiltCon, MQX, and six American Quilter’s Society Shows.  I even managed to receive two first places, one third, an honorable mention, and a faculty award!  I was also able to attend QuiltCon and the AQS shows in Paducah and Syracuse.  I also had some success in entering challenges this year.  My Modern Quilt Guild/Riley Blake Challenge entry received second place, and my entry in the Hoffman Challenge received the “Best use of Aurifil” award.  My Riley Blake quilt was also included at the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

The shows for 2017 could end up being a lot of fun.  I have three quilts going to QuiltCon and two have been accepted to the first AQS show of the year.  Last year’s QuiltCon was fantastic, and I am excited to be going again this year.  I am also planning to attend both the Spring and Fall AQS Paducah shows.  The Fall show is going to have a different format for its categories and judging, so it will be exciting to be a part of it!

4.  Teach Quilting Classes and Do Trunk Shows:

I have had so much fun teaching this year at Sew to Speak!  I taught a Block of the Month of the Collection Quilt by Carolyn Friedlander, a clamshell quilt class, a Christmas Stocking class, and a walking foot quilting class.  I also taught my Row by Row pattern at Dabble and Stitch.

The Collection Quilt

The Collection Quilt

My teaching schedule at both shops is increasing in the coming year.  At Sew to Speak I will be teaching The Collection Quilt again this year, as well as a couple sessions of straight line quilting, a bias binding workshop, and a clamshell technique class.  Each month at Dabble and Stitch, I will teach the Block of the Month.

In 2016 I did a couple of trunk shows at local shops, and thoroughly enjoyed doing a presentation to a local guild. It is so much fun to meet other quilters and talk about my work and process!  I have two guild presentations scheduled so far for 2017, and would love to do more!

5.  Grow my Longarm Business:

I love to quilt for customers!  My edge to edge quilting business has grown this year, and I have had some custom work (which is my favorite!).  I hope to have even more work in the coming year!  As part of this, I will be developing this section of my website.

6.  Blog Consistently:

This was one of my goals that was definitely not met in 2016.  Instagram has totally lured me in with it’s quick and easy posts.  I do want to post to the blog more often because I love talking about my design process, and a single photo with a caption doesn’t always cover it.

7.  Work with my Guilds and Groups

I participate in two local guilds and one smaller group, and love them!  In 2017 I am the Charity Officer for the Central Ohio MQG.  We are only a year old, so we have lots of potential to grow.  Last year we did quite a bit of charity sewing, and I am hoping to add a teaching component to our charity work in the coming year.

Last year I also had planned to develop my Etsy site, and while I would still like to work on it, at this time I don’t think it is a major priority.  I would like to have it as another venue for the purchase of patterns and the occasional handcrafted item, but I’m not sure if it will ever be a significant source of income.  What do you think? Do you tend to but (or sell) patterns on Etsy?  Do you prefer it to Craftsy?

I hope everyone has a wonderful and inspiring 2017!

Ohio Star Quilt Block

I am so excited to share the instructions for a second traditional block which is in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner.  The Ohio Star block is one of my favorites since I grew up, learned to quilt, and currently live in Ohio.  This block is particularly common in this area, but it never gets boring!  Have fun with scale (this pattern includes measurements for five different block sizes) and mix up your fabric selections to make this classic block your own.

You can download this free Ohio Star pattern on Craftsy.

ohio-star-block

 

I went bright and bold for this block, but monochrome and subtle color choices work beautifully as well!

This block is for the week of September 10-16.  Check out my other tutorials included in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner!

Sand Dollar Star (week of January 15-21)

Hourglass Block (week of August 27-September 2)

 

 

Hourglass Quilt Block

Have you received your fantastic Quilter’s Planner from Stephanie of Late Night Quilter?  If you haven’t you can order a planner here.  One of the amazing features of the planner is that there is a quilt block pattern for every week of the year.  In addition to the original block designs by many talented bloggers, this edition of the planner includes patterns for several traditional blocks as well.

I have written up directions for creating an Hourglass quilt block.  This design is in the planner for the week of August 27-September 2, 2017.  These instructions include measurements for nine different size blocks, and you make four at a time so you can start combining these blocks into all sorts of fun configurations right away.

You can download the free instructions for the Hourglass block on Craftsy.

hourglass-block

This block is used as a component in a lot of more complex blocks, but it can also be fun on its own.  Here are a few layouts for this very versatile block.simple-hourglass-layout

Set the blocks together in the same direction for this configuration.

chevron-hourglass-block

Offset the blocks by half to achieve a chevron appearance.

pinwheel-hourglass-layout

Or rotate the blocks to create a pinwheel effect!

This block is for the week of August 27-September 2.  Check out my other tutorials included in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner!

Sand Dollar Star (week of January 15-21)

Ohio Star (week of September 10-16)