Hills and Valleys: 2016 Riley Blake Challenge Quilt

This year’s Modern Quilt Guild / Riley Blake fabric challenge was one of the best challenges I have ever participated in, and I am very excited about the resulting quilt!

Hills and Valleys full view

The print that was selected for the challenge fabric has almost endless possibilities since it contains so many different designs.  I had the fabric draped around the studio for a long time before I decided what direction I wanted to go with it.  I still wasn’t entirely certain what I was doing when I ordered the solids to coordinate.  Emerald green has been very appealing to me lately, and I decided to draw my color scheme from it.

Challenge Fabric

I enjoy taking linear prints and cutting / reassembling them into a star formation, and I started out thinking that was where this project would lead.  In an effort to step out of my star-shaped box, I decided to consider other options that could produce a similar effect with the pattern of the print.  I drew the fabric print to scale in AutoCad and started to experiment.  Ultimately I landed on this design based on a traditional clamshell configuration.  I thought that the greens I had selected would create the illusion of abstract rolling hills, and the black and white print would look like giant flowers bursting forth from the landscape.

Hills and Valleys detail c

I developed and printed templates for each shape using AutoCad.  Since I had already planned the design with the fabric in mind, I was able to print the templates with guidelines that matched the print.  Cutting was super easy this way!

The clamshells are machine pieced to one another.  I used the templates to mark the start, center, and end of each seam which helped me to accurately position and pin each seam.  The top row of clamshells is hand appliquéd to the light blue background fabric.

Hills and Valleys detail b

The quilting was the most fun part of the process.  Solid fabrics give so much room for play, and I loved the idea of creating movement in this piece.  Each “hill” has a different texture from those directly around it, and the quilting thread matches each section.  This is also my first project to incorporate hand sashiko stitch quilting.  The large stitches in contrasting thread helps to draw your eye around the quilt.

Hills and Valleys detail a

I was excited to submit this quilt to the challenge, and I was absolutely ecstatic to find out that it received second place!  If you would like to see the other fantastic quilts that placed in this year’s challenge, you can find them on this Modern Quilt Guild blog post.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Hills and Valleys

Size:  41″x43″

Techniques:  Machine piecing, Hand Applique

Quilting:  Freemotion and Ruler work on an A-1 Longarm machine, hand sashiko accent stitching

Fabric:  Riley Blake black and white sashing print and Riley Blake solids

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 cotton blend

Thread:  Pieced and appliquéd with coordinating Gutermann Mara 100 thread.  Quilted with five colors of 50wt Aurifil cotton thread.  Sashiko stitching done with dark grey Aurifil Floss.

Binding:  Faced with Riley Blake fabric

Goal #3 is Finished!

Goal #3 is Finished!

Crystalized Citrus: A Hoffman Challenge Quilt

Crystalized Citrus is my first Hoffman Challenge quilt, and I am thrilled with the result!  I was cutting it really close time wise, so it was quite a relief when they extended the deadline by a week- it saved me a late night getting the binding on!
Crystalized Citrus full view

For many years I had seen the Hoffman Challenge quilts exhibited at the Rotary Quilt Show that coincided with the AQS show in Paducah.  It was my first introduction to the concept of a challenge quilt, and I was intrigued.  This year was the first time I was able to find the fabric in a local shop before it completely sold out, and it is the best fabric challenge print yet!  The butterfly print on the right is the required challenge fabric and the print on the left was an optional coordinate that I really liked, but didn’t end up using in the finished design.  Both of these fabrics are printed digitally so there is an almost infinite range of colors since the process isn’t limited by traditional printing processes.

Hoffman Challenge Fabric

When I’m designing with a specific print in mind, I like to alter it to see it in a new way.  I had thought about creating a “Butterfly Garden” by turning the wings into flower petals, but as I was starting the idea of vibrant citrus came to mind.  The butterfly wings turned into the flesh of the fruit and the neutral space of the print became the membranes.  I pulled a variety of prints from my stash to create the skin of the fruits.  My main goal was to keep the challenge fabric the star of the show.

Crystalized Citrus detail

 

 

I intentionally chose to balance the representational aspects of this design with the abstract.  The pieces of fruit do not overlap and the improv piecing in the flesh of the citrus doesn’t create an ultra realistic image.  These aspects of the design allowed for quilting that defies realism and creates a more abstract overall design.

The primary quilting design is matchstick quilting going both horizontally and vertically.  Most of the horizontal quilting is done in white with guest appearances from purple and the local color of each fruit to create a grounding shadow.  The color of each piece of citrus infuses the background above it with colorful vertical matchstick quilting.  Free motion quilting further defines each piece of fruit in the composition.

Crystalized Citrus

 

Quilt Stats

Title: Crystalized Citrus

Size: 24″x21″

Techniques:  Machine Improv Piecing, hand appliqué

Quilting:  Matchstick and free motion quilting done on my A-1 Elite longarm

Fabric:  Hoffman Crystalia digitally printed fabric in opal, assorted cotton prints and solids.

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 cotton blend

Thread:  Pieced and appliquéd with Gutermann Mara 100 in coordinating colors, Quilted with six colors of 50wt Aurifil cotton thread

Binding:  Facing done with the same white fabric used for the background and backing of the quilt

Goal #1 is Finished!

Goal #1 is Finished!

Color Challenge Mini Quilt

In February the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild began its first member challenge, and I was excited that it was based on color.  Each participant drew two crayons from a bag and combined them with their tints/shades and a single neutral to create a quilted project.  I pulled out carnation pink and cornflower blue crayons and this mini is the result.  For an added bonus, these colors are pretty much the Pantone colors of the year!Finished EPP Challenge Quilt

The initial designing was done on AutoCad, and from there I was able to print out my templates for English paper piecing (EPP).  Pattern Drafting

I debated about which technique to use for assembling this design, but ultimately I decided that EPP would allow me to eliminate some of the seams, creating a more streamlined visual design.EPP on Challenge Quilt

I was intrigued by the idea of embracing the color gradients as a design element for this project, so I decided that the most effective way to achieve this look would be to dye a set of fabrics in each color.  Since this was not a particularly difficult dye process, I went with the relatively simple (and mostly mess-free) liquid RIT dye.  I had a large piece of white American Brand Cotton, and used it throughout the project.Detail Finished EPP Challenge Quilt

Recently I have done quite a bit of ruler work with lots of starts and stops in my quilting, so for this project I challenged myself to quilt with no rulers and no design based starts and stops.  This was a lot of fun, turned out cute, and went super fast!Back EPP Challenge Quilt

We have had lots of wind this month which has made it challenging to get decent photos, but this shot of the quilt trying to blow away does show the quilting off nicely!EPP Challenge Back Detail

Quilt Stats

Title: Gradient Geese

Size:  24″ x 24″

Techniques:  English Paper Piecing

Quilting:  Free motion quilting with A-1 Longarm

Fabrics:  American Brand Cotton Solid, dyed in gradients with RIT dye

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread:  White Aurifil

Binding:  Dyed blue bias, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

This project was my One Monthly Goal for April.

 

Goal #19 is Finished!

Goal #19 is Finished!

2016 Second Quarter Finish Goals

Its already time for the second quarter of the year, and another long list of desired goals!2016 Finish Along Q2

The 2016 Finish Along is being hosted by several people around the globe.

2016 FAL

1.  Hoffman Challenge QuiltHoffman Challenge Fabric

2.  “Construction” baby quilt for my nephew’s new addition that will arrive this summerConstruction Quilt Fabric

3.  Riley Blake MQG Challenge Quilt- Awesome Fabric, now I just need an idea to go with it!Riley Blake Challenge Fabric

4.  “Happy New Year” Star QuiltStarburst process

5.  Grey Diamond QuiltDiamond Quilt

6.  Mystery QuiltMeadow Mist process

7.  Plus QuiltPlus Fabric

8.  “Waves” PillowPillow Top

9.  Sand Dollar Star Pillow or Mini QuiltSand Dollar Star

10.  Green Baby QuiltGreen Baby Quilt

11.  Coral Baby QuiltPeach Baby Quilt

12.  Peppermint Forest Mini QuiltPeppermint Forest

13.  Broken Circle Mini QuiltBroken Circle

14.  Lemondrops and Gumdrops MiniLemon Drop Mini

15.  Blue Wholecloth Mini

16.  Radiating MiniRadiating Mini

17.  Wool “needle-minding” MiniNeedle Minding Mini

18.  Cotton Felting Mini

19.  Color Challenge Mini (Finished already this quarter, but still needs to be blogged about)Pattern Drafting

20.  “Secret” MiniSecret Mini

21.  Polar Bear Mini
Polar Bear Mini

22. Medallion MiniMedallion Mini

April One Monthly Goal

This month, I am so excited to be going to Paducah for the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week.  My Mom and I have gone at least six times before, but this is the first time that we both have quilts exhibited, and it will be my first time attending the awards ceremony and preview night.  Since this is coming up in less than two weeks (how did that happen?), I am selecting a project I have to have finished prior to leaving!

The Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild has our presentation of our color challenge quilts this month.  Each person drew two crayons from a bag and we had to make a quilted item using just those colors, tones/shades of that color, and one neutral.  I drew Carnation Pink and Cornflower Blue.Pattern Drafting

So far I have Drafted the pattern in AutoCad, dyed the fabrics in a gradient, and done the English Paper Piecing.  In the next week I  will need to add the borders then quilt and bind it.  Its a good thing its small!EPP on Challenge Quilt