Crystalized Citrus: A Blogger’s Quilt Festival Entry

Crystalized Citrus is my second entry into The Blogger’s Quilt Festival hosted by Amy’s Creative Side.  I hope you will all set aside some time this week to look at all of the amazing inspiration provided by the festival entries- there is some amazing work on display!

Crystalized Citrus

Crystalized Citrus

I originally created this quilt for this year’s Hoffman Challenge which required the use of this digitally printed butterfly fabric.  I enjoy transforming distinctively patterned fabric into something completely unexpected, so I was excited to transform the butterfly wings to the flesh of citrus fruit.

Hoffman Challenge Fabric

Crystalized Citrus detail

The center of each fruit is improvisationally pieced before being set into the surrounding “skin.”  The entire fruit is then hand appliquéd to the background.  I used matchstick quilting in a range of coordinating colors to ground the pieces on the white background.

Crystalized Citrus

For more about this quilt you can check out the original Crystalized Citrus post.

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!

Modern Improv Round Robin Quilt

Improv is one of my favorite techniques, and it was even more fun when we added a group of quilters and some time limits!

Modern Improv front view

Last Fall, one of my local quilt shops offered a Round Robin Improv class that was loosely based on the book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously, by Sherri Lynn Wood. (I currently have no affiliate links)  For the class, we each brought a bin of scraps along with a larger piece of our signature fabric and two other pieces of fabric.

Yardage to mix with scraps for the upcoming improv class

Yardage to mix with scraps for the upcoming improv class

For my signature fabric, I selected the colorful Alison Glass print shown above.  I loved the print, and I thought it would be fun to have a piece that held lots of opportunities for fussy cutting and had plenty of colors that would coordinate with a variety of fabric types.

The round robin format meant that we each worked on every quilt top in our group of six. Our scrap bins, along with our other fabrics (except our signature material) get passed around the group in half hour increments.  In the first time slot we each worked on our own quilt, using our signature fabric and any of the other materials we brought with us.  To make this even more interesting, for the entire day, we weren’t allowed to use any rulers or rotary cutters- scissors or tearing were our only fabric cutting options!

The section of the improv quilt that came out of the class

The section of the improv quilt that came out of the class

When the first time slot ended, we passed our quilt top and all of our fabrics (except our signature material) to the next person in the group.  The main goal was to incorporate our signature fabric into each quilt and make sure our contribution to the quilt top was attached before the end of the half hour time limit.  This is where my background working in theatre may have given me an advantage:

  1. I am used to working on other people’s designs/projects so I was not afraid that I would “ruin” their work (As a side note- everyone’s quilt tops looked really good, so this fear that a lot of people in the group expressed proved to be unfounded!)
  2. Time limits are a fact of life in theatre- Over the years I have learned to do the best possible work in the time allowed.

As we went through each top, I fell into a rhythm where I looked through the fabric in the first minute or two and determined how to incorporate my signature print.  My signature print went really well with some fabric collections, but not as well with others.  Fortunately, we could use any amount of the signature fabric, and my material had lots of different colors that did help it to tie in with various color schemes.  I found it really helpful to have a print conducive to fussy cutting because it gave me a jumping off point, and then I could design on the fly for the rest.

Churn Dash Improv block with my signature fabric fussy cut in the center

Churn Dash Improv block with my signature fabric fussy cut in the center

My goal was to sew steadily until the final five minutes, then attach what I had done to the main body of the quilt top and press the entire piece before passing it on.  My personal goal was to always hand off a piece that was relatively square.  We weren’t allowed to cut off anything that another group member added, so I tried to be nice and not give anyone a difficult shape to deal with :)

I tried to not let the lack of rulers limit the designs I used.  I made half square triangles (HST) by pressing (instead of drawing) a diagonal line across a square and stitching on either side, and made flying geese in a similar manner to how I would normally approach the task.  I tried to not let the fact that it wouldn’t be perfect deter me from trying different designs, and I ended up making variations on lots of traditional blocks including log cabins, pinwheels, flying geese, churn dash and wonky stars.

Modern Improv Wonky Star block

Modern Improv detail A

Modern Improv Flying Geese

I wish I had taken photos of everyone’s project, but in the heat of the moment, I was much more focused on just getting my contributions finished!

By the end of the day we each had a top that was a bigger than a mini, but smaller than a lap quilt, so I went home and added to mine to create a generous lap quilt.  I stuck to the no rulers or rotary cutter rules and tried to work at a similar pace to what I had done during the class.

The backing is constructed using several different fabrics, but these were all larger pieces than those used on the quilt top.

Modern Improv back view

In keeping with the spirit of the class, I did the quilting with no rulers and tried to move quickly while embracing a wide range of designs.

Modern Improv pinwheel and quilted geese

The binding is created exclusively from my collection of binding scraps that I connected randomly and continue the improv feeling all the way to the edge of the quilt.

Modern Improv binding detail

I cannot recommend this type of class enough- it was so much fun!  If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area this class is being offered again in March at Quilt Beginnings.  It was a great opportunity to move out of my comfort zone and work collaboratively with a wonderful group of quilters.

Modern Improve Quilt draped

 

Quilt Stats

Title:  Modern Improv Round Robin

Size: 53″x71″

Techniques:  Improvisational Piecing (no rulers or rotary cutters!)

Quilting:  Hand guided free motion (no rulers!)

Fabric:  Alison Glass print, two prints from the Zen Chic line, lots of scraps

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread:  Pieced with Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with white cotton 50wt Wonderfil

Binding:  Scrappy

This was my One Monthly Goal for February:

Goal #2 is Complete!

Goal #2 is Complete!

February One Monthly Goal

My works in progress list is extensive, and I have been a bit undecided on what my one goal for this month should be.  Ultimately, practicality is winning out.  February is a short month that also will include a trip to QuiltCon, so the project I will complete this month is my Improv Round Robin quilt.Improv round robin process

This project is a generously sized lap quilt that I started in a class last October and quilted shortly thereafter.  To finish this one up, I just need to square it up and bind the edges.  Hopefully I can manage that!

The Web We Weave: Mini Quilt #33

Happy Halloween!  I have been eager to try out metallic threads with the longarm, and this Halloween-appropriate mini quilt was a great opportunity to experiment.  Web We Weave front view

The piecing on this quilt top is very simple with only five pieces.  I cut a 12.5″ square out of solid black fabric and then slashed it in two places where I wanted to indicate abstract tree branches.  The fabric for the trees is a batik that is actually printed to look like trees, but I cut it on the cross-grain to create a Birch tree-esque effect on a slightly larger scale.  The resulting quilt top gave me a great space to play with the metallic thread.

Now for the fun part!  I was a bit nervous about trying metallic thread since I hadn’t yet ordered any specialty needles for the longarm.  The metallic thread I chose was a silver WonderFil with a rayon core.  I loaded a medium grey cotton quilting thread in the bobbin, and decided to give it a try.  It was awesome!  One of the nice features of the A-1 machine is a small pad that the top thread feeds through which holds a few drops of liquid thread conditioner.  It really does help decrease thread breakage.  I practiced some ruler work with the main lines of the web, defining the tree branches, and some background work with black cotton thread.  The curved areas of the web are free motion.Web We Weave back view

The backing and binding is made from the same black fabric used in in the quilt top.  The batting is Hobbs 80/20 in black which I pulled from a sample pack I received earlier this year.  It was so nice to not have to worry about white batting working its way through the fabric of the quilt.  My cat adds enough white fluff to my dark quilts without having the batting contribute!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Web We Weave

Size:  12″ x 12″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Ruler work and free motion quilting on an A-1 Elite longarm machine

Fabric:  American Made Brand black cotton and a batik print from my stash

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 Batting in black

Thread:  Pieced with black Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with silver metallic WonderFil thread with a rayon core (with medium grey Signature cotton thread in the bobbin), black cotton quilting thread

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

What was new?

Metallic thread on a longarm

Quilt 33 / 50

Quilt 33 / 50

Goal #1 is finished!

Goal #1 is finished!