Whole Circle Whole Cloth

I love a challenge, and this month Aurifil challenged it’s artisans to create a whole cloth mini quilt using a Paintbrush Studios Painter’s Palette Solid and a coordinating thread in our choice of weight.  I was sent Midnight blue fabric and a matching thread.  This first photo has the most accurate color so imagine that color when you see all of the indoor photos! 🤣

Whole cloth quilting isn’t something I do very often, so I decided to start the process with a little research.  Quilting tends to rely on pattern and repetition, so the books I pulled out had lots of art that embraces those principles.  I was also leaning toward 20th century art for inspiration, but I include some inspiration from earlier eras, just in case something caught my eye.

Ultimately I landed on these two Art Nouveau tile images to use for design inspiration.  I liked the circular quality of both designs, and thought that they would combine well.

I drafted the design on AutoCad, then printed it across two sheets of tabloid size paper and glued them together to form the entire image.  Then it was time to pull out my perk wheel to use an old scenic painting technique to create a stencil.  I placed the image on top of my wool pressing mat and ran the wheel along the lines.  For the tightest curves, I used a large safety pin to poke through the paper.

Once the holes were poked through, I flipped the paper over and used a fine tooth sandpaper to remove the bumps on the back of the template and make sure the holes were completely open.

Then came the moment of truth — would it work?  I taped the fabric to the table and the stencil over it, then pulled out my chalk pounce pad.  I ran it over the stencil in small circles to keep the dust down, then carefully removed the stencil.

It worked like a charm!  The lines were clear and easy to follow.

This project was the perfect time to give trapunto a try, so I started the quilting process by using batting and the top fabric with no backing.  Since I was using such a dark fabric, I selected a black batting by Hobbs.  Since the black batting doesn’t have a huge amount of loft, I used two layers for the trapunto.

Using a walking foot on my domestic machine, I quilted all of marked lines through the top fabric and two layers of batting.  At this point I was using a 50wt Aurifil so it would be easy to quilt over using the final 12wt thread, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is what it looked like from the front:

And most of the back (thanks Monty— I think he knows how hard it is to lint roll batting!):

The next step was to trim away the batting around the areas of trapunto.  I used scissors with a rounded tip for most of the trimming, and only pulled out scissors with a pointed tip for the tightest corners.

Trapunto has the best effect when the areas around it are densely quilted, so most of the quilt has dense free motion quilting.  For this part of the quilting I used 50wt thread on the longarm.  At this point in the process, there is backing fabric, one full layer of black batting, two layers of batting in the trapunto areas only (three layers total in those areas), and the quilt top.  The final quilting step was to use 12wt thread to outline each area and help that trapunto really pop!

After a lot of knotting and burying of thread tails, I trimmed the mini quilt so the edge of the quilt extended 1/4″ past the outer ring of trapunto.  The edges are finished with bias binding to hug the circular edge of the quilt.  If it was more practical, I would curve all my quilt edges.  I love binding a curve!

The image above shows the front of the quilt with the 12wt thread defining the areas around the trapunto.  Since I used 50wt thread in the bobbin, you can see the difference in the image below.  I think the heavier thread makes a huge difference in trapunto effect.  What do you think?

Quilt Stats

Title:  Whole Circle Whole Cloth

Size: 16″ diameter

Techniques:  Whole Cloth

Quilting:  Free Motion quilting on an A-1 longarm and walking foot quilting on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  Painter’s Palette Solid by Paintbrush Studios in Midnight

Batting:  Black Hobbs Heirloom batting

Thread: Quilted with coordinating 12wt and 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Bias binding, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

Ice Cream Quilt

Each Summer I design a Row by Row for a local quilt shop, Dabble and Stitch, and I loved this year’s row so much, I decided to make a wall quilt featuring the design.  The ice cream cone design evokes Summer, so it was a perfect design for this month’s “Seasonal” challenge for Aurifil Artisans.

The theme for this year’s Row by Row is: Taste the Experience.  I like to base each row design on something local, and this year the design depicts Jeni’s Ice Cream.  Jeni’s started here in Columbus, and the shops feature lots of fun flavors. The cone that served as the model for the Row by Row design is Wildberry Lavender and Brandied Banana Brûlée in a house made cone.

When transforming the ice cream block into a quilt, I thought it would be fun to extend the background into stripes.  By adding narrow stripes between the ice cream cone columns, the overall design of the quilt has a beach towel vibe that enhances the feeling of sitting out in the sun with a hot weather snack.

Custom quilting on the longarm was done with 50wt Aurifil in color that coordinate with each area of the quilt.  The stitching is a mix of free motion motifs and straight line quilting done with rulers and digital channel locks. The backing is a Tula Pink wideback fabric, and I love how, in this context, the print has the feel of melting ice cream.

This quilt went with me today to the Ohio State Fair for some photos.

It even met the famous butter cow!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Ice Cream on the Beach

Size: 48″ x 48″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Foundation Paper Piecing

Quilting:  Free Motion and straight line quilting with digital channel locks on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Assorted cotton solids

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Bias binding, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

 

QuiltCon Jury Results

Every year I enter at least seven juried shows, and QuiltCon is probably the one I fret over the most.  It is definitely the show that I have received the most rejections from!  Thankfully, the jury results come in very quickly for this show- just 17 days this year.  There were only 400 accepted quilts out of over 1750 entries.  With less than 23% of quilts accepted, it’s like going through the college admissions process each year!  I am ecstatic that this year three of my quilts will be in Nashville!  Below are all four of my entries with the description I submitted with each.  The first three were accepted, and the last was not, but more on that later.

Ebb and Flow (51″x64″) is my entry into the Two Color Challenge.

“This quilt stemmed from a desire to create a design that contained equal amounts of two colors while allowing each color to take turns holding a dominant position.   The choice of high contrast black and white fabrics enhance the overall effect of the composition.  The pieced strips in this quilt start at 1/8” wide and increase incrementally across the quilt.”

Complementary Convergence (66″x78″) is in the Use of Negative Space Category.

“Complementary Convergence is based on two separate diamond shaped motifs containing small pieced sections of complementary colors, one bright pink and green, the second turquoise and orange.  Each colorful section of fabric has matchstick quilting running through it that is done with a matching 12wt thread.  This extends the design across the quilt and activates the surrounding negative space.  The magic of the design happens when the quilting lines from the separate motifs converge at either side to create a new, dynamic, and entirely quilted plaid pattern.”

Synthesized Slivers (22″x19″) is in the small quilt category.  I have entered a small quilt almost every year, and this is the first time my entry in that area has been successful!

“Irregular, broken blocks merge together to create a cohesive whole in this improvisational quilt.  Breaks in each block are mended with the addition of a contrasting sliver of fabric.  These unexpected shots of color, metallic flashes, and shiny silk bring a sense of luxury to the utilitarian aesthetic of the dominant fabrics.”

“Resonance uses colorful quilting thread to create a sense of outward movement and reverberation from central points.  Thread that coordinates with each fabric creates a blending sensation as the quilting merges the appliquéd circles with each other and the background.  This quilt was my first 100 day project that ran from New Year’s Day 2018 to my birthday, which fell on the 100th day of the year.”

Resonance (79″x79″) was not accepted into the appliqué category, and I’m fine with that.  This quilt was completed in April, and was the result of my first 100 days project.  In the eight months since its completion, Resonance has been to Spring Quilt Market with the Aurifil booth, and it was in all three fall American Quilter’s Society Shows.  Between these four events, it has been seen by thousands of people already, and I hope some of them were inspired by it!

Ultimately, my main hope is that my quilts can inspire others as much as I am inspired every day by the work I see on Instagram, blogs, and in person at my guild meetings.  I am so excited for February to roll around so I can see and meet all of the amazing quilters at QuiltCon-whether or not they have quilts on display there!

Walkabout

Walkabout has been a work in progress for well over a year, and I finally decided that I just needed to get it finished and entered into some shows.  The first entry is into the American Quilter’s Society Spring Paducah Quilt Week.

The idea for this quilt came when I was walking through German Village, a historic neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio.  This pattern of embossed brick kept appearing in the sidewalks, and it just cried out to become a quilt design!

I wanted to maintain the feeling of an embossed design, so I knew that I wanted to work with two fabrics and focus on value and density of quilting to create the texture.  I designed the quilt on AutoCad, which helped me to create accurate templates for all of this very specific piecing.  The lighter fabric is a Moda Grunge print, and the darker areas are a Kona solid.

The design is entirely machine pieced, and each circular ring is cut as a single piece which is set into the adjoining circles.  Here is a back view of part of the quilt top:

For the quilting, I decided to keep it simple for the light blue-grey fabric, but do a more dense design in the dark blue areas.  I was very undecided on what to do for the denser quilting, but I ultimately landed on doing mixed motif organic quilting.  I liked the idea of exploring the juxtaposition of the geometric embossing of the brick with the leaves, moss, and pebbles that land on and surround the brick.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Walkabout

Size: 53″ x 68″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Free motion quilting and ruler work on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Moda Grunge and Kona cotton

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with Aurifil 50wt in two colors matching each fabric

Binding:  Faced with the Moda grunge backing

Resonance: A 100 Day Quilt Project

My 100 Day Quilt project was a success, and I want to thank everyone who followed the progress on Instagram!  Resonance is the ultimate result.  It was named in reference to the quilting stitches which echo out from a central point.  If you would like to know more about the start of the project, check out the first post about the 100 Day Circle Quilt Project.

Resonance front view

Constructing the blocks for the quilt took the most time- 89 days.  Most blocks had two-three concentric circles, but several included multiple circles set near each other.  Here are a couple of examples:

Block 89

Block 8

The next two days were spent trimming the blocks to their finished size.

Trimmed Blocks

Laying the quilt out was a bit tricky.  Since it was too large for my design wall, I cleared out the kitchen and arranged the blocks on the floor.  This photo was taken with my phone touching the ceiling, and I still couldn’t get far enough away to capture the entire quilt design.

Block Layout

After a couple more days, the quilt top was finished.

Quilt Top

There were 13 different colors of thread used to quilt the project.  A different thread was used for each fabric.  This extended the color beyond the edge of each circle, and ensured that the back, as well as the front of the quilt, would show each color change.  I knew that I would want lots of lines of stitching around each circle, so I decided to use 50wt thread so I could do lots of stitching without excessive thread build up.

Quilting Thread

Here is the quilt loaded and basted on the longarm.

Loaded Quilt

The quilting process took quite a long time.  I quilted each circle from the inside out to prevent bunching in the fabric, so there were a lot of thread changes.

Circle Quilting Process

Once the circles were quilted, I did large scale bubble quilting in the background.

Quilting Process

 

Resonance Detail 1

 

Angled Quilting Detail

There were more than a million quilting stitches in this project.  I’m pretty sure that is a personal record!

Stitch Counter

The binding is mostly white, with some sporadic shots of color.

Binding

I love the way the back of the quilt looks!

Resonance back view

To cap it off, Aurifil asked to use this quilt in their booth at Spring Market this past weekend!  This is my first quilt to be included at a Quilt Market, so I was very excited!

Photo courtesy of Sylvia of Flying Parrot Quilts

Photo courtesy of Sylvia of Flying Parrot Quilts

Photo courtesy of Aurifil

Photo courtesy of Aurifil

Quilt Stats

Title:  Resonance

Size: 79″ x 79″

Techniques:  Hand Applique, Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Free motion quilting with an A-1 Longarm machine

Fabric:  Assorted solids and white-on-white prints

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt cotton Aurifil in 13 colors

Binding:  White Kona Cotton with colorful inserts, cut on the bias at 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front, hand finished