Urban Cabins

Earlier this year a quilt group I belong to, The Columbus Modern Quilters, issued a challenge based on a photograph one of our members took in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  (You can see the photo and challenge requirements by clicking the link above.) In the image, parking garages with painted murals stand out against a bright blue sky.  We were challenged to use this photograph for inspiration in creating any type of sewn project.  Urban Cabins is my interpretation.

This quilt is entirely improvisationally pieced, although I did use rulers to help with construction.  I began with fabric bits from my scrap bin, and incorporated larger pieces of fabric as the project grew.  In the original photo, I loved how the brightly colored murals enlivened the surroundings even though they only took up a small portion of the image.  To capture this overall feeling, I included centralized areas of color that spark into their more subdued surroundings.  Concrete and sky colors of tans, greys, and blues dominate the most surface area of the quilt, but the bright colors give the piece life

With so much of the quilt being comprised of similar subtle colors, texture, both visual and physical, played a significant role in completing the design.  The use of both prints and solids create visual shifts in texture, while physical changes between cotton and linen create further interest.  Occasionally a selvage edge is exposed to further enhance the textural variations.

For the quilting, I decided to use evenly spaced, vertical lines to pull the design together, while not overpowering the design of the quilt top.  Vertical lines evoke the energy and feeling of a bustling downtown environment.

I was excited to discover the perfect backing fabric in my stash.  I had purchased it on clearance a long time ago, knowing it would make a great quilt back at some point.  I liked how the bold print varies across the width of the fabric, giving it a mural-like vibe that relates to the original inspiration image.

A facing was the perfect finish to this quilt.  With an energetic design like this, I think it is important to allow the viewer’s eye to continue all the way to the edge of the quilt without the visual barrier of a binding.  Fortunately, I had just enough backing fabric to line up the printed motifs on three sides of the quilt.  I would have loved a perfect match, but there wasn’t that much extra fabric!  The fourth side had black circles, so a solid black fabric worked to finish the edge.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Urban Cabins

Size: 30″ x 40″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Improvisation

Quilting:  Straight line quilting with digital channel locks on an A-1 Longarm

Fabric:  Cotton and linen solids and assorted cotton prints

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Faced with the remaining backing fabric and one strip of solid black fabric.

 

 

 

Triple Dimensional Star

This Spring I designed a new quilt block.  In reality, I probably designed a couple dozen blocks, but this one actually got made up in fabric- not once, but twice!

Vote for your favorite block at the Paintbrush Studio Facebook page!

This is the small version of the block, and it finishes at 6″ square.  At QuiltCon, Paintbrush Studio handed out a curated charm pack of eight colors of their Painter’s Palette Solids, and asked the recipients to make a quilt block using those fabrics.  This star block works particularly well with a light and dark versions of the same colors, and I was excited that there were light and dark versions of both blue and orange in the charm pack.  I almost added another yellow to the pack to have the highlight/shadow effect in the central star (we were allowed to add in our own fabrics), but I ultimately thought the block was more dynamic with the green added to the mix.

Right now, all of the submitted blocks are up on the Paintbrush Studio Facebook page, and you can vote for your favorite block there!  All you need to do is comment on the photo of your favorite block.

I had a few scraps of the Paintbrush Studio fabrics, so I stitched up this little improv block.  It was after the deadline, so I didn’t submit it, but it is hanging out on the design wall waiting for me to turn it into something!

I made the larger, 12″ square, version of the Triple Dimensional Star for a guild color challenge.  Every year the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild does a challenge combining the Pantone color of the year with the Kona color of the year.  The 2019 colors are Living Coral and Splash.  What a happy combination! This year, everyone who participated in the challenge made a star block and we had a block raffle with the winner taking home all of the blocks.

Constructing all three of these blocks was a lot of fun.  Foundation paper piecing is one of my favorite methods to construct a block, and I find improv piecing a relaxing way to sew after all of the FPP precision!

 

Give and Take

Curated Quilts magazine issues a mini quilt challenge for each issue, and I love to see all of the amazing submissions.  Until now I have never contributed an entry, but I enjoyed making Synthesized Slivers so much, I was eager to participate in another challenge.

Give and Take front

Curated quilts provided a theme of Connections/Improv and a color palette which included cream, yellow, mustard yellow, navy, moss green, and grey.  We could use as many or as few of these colors as we liked, and I ended up using all of the colors except for cream.  Navy, grey, and mustard yellow are represented in the fabrics, and the quilting done in navy, grey, moss green, and yellow.

Give and Take detail 2

With the theme of connections in mind, I wanted to use roughly equal amounts of grey and navy fabrics with gear-like wedges intersecting where they meet.  When cogs come together, they set off a series of reactions that is greater than either component on its own.

Give and Take detail 1

The quilting is dense matchstick stitching that both echos the pieced designs and integrates additional curves.  The majority of the navy and grey sections are quilted in coordinating 50wt thread.  For areas that needed extra emphasis I used 12wt green and 40wt yellow thread.

Give and Take back

Quilt Stats

Title:  Give and Take

Size: 12″ x 12″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Improvisational Piecing

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

Fabric:  Assorted solids and one print by Carolyn Friedlander

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt, 40wt, and 12wt cotton Aurifil in four colors

Binding:  Faced with navy solid matching the quilt backing

Synthesized Slivers

A few weeks ago, I came across a call for entries for the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge hosted by Quilt Expo.  It has been awhile since I have done a mini quilt, and I was feeling the need for a relatively quick finish, so I jumped in.  One of my friends has been giving me a hard time about my extreme dislike of brown fabric, so I decided this would be a good challenge to incorporate my least favorite color.

Synthesized Slivers front

My initial fabric pull centered around a stack of quilter’s denim made by Art Gallery Fabrics.  I had received the fat quarter bundle during QuiltCon 2017, and I had been waiting for the perfect project to come up.  I love the utilitarian texture the fabric has and the value shifts between fabrics were seamless.  I did add a few other fabrics in to serve as accent pieces.  These included a bright green solid, metallic linen, and a silk/cotton blend.

Synthesized Slivers Fabric Pull

I started the quilt by constructing small blocks in a variety of sizes using background fabrics in a range of colors and values.  The slivers of accent fabrics finish at 1/8″ wide.  I used a ruler to cut the slits in straight lines, but only actually measured to square up each block after the slivers were added.

Synthesized Slivers process

At this point, my friend saw the progress and informed me that tan is most definitely NOT Brown, even though I still insist that it is ;).  In keeping with the challenge, I went out and purchased a small cut of chocolate brown Kona.  There wasn’t a speck of true brown in any of my stash!

Synthesized Slivers quilt top

After constructing a few more blocks, I started putting everything together.  I think this is the most challenging part of the process, but this top came together, and only required a couple partial seams.

Synthesized Slivers with Monty

Monty is my cat that demands likes to be held constantly.  I was taking photos right after he had woken up from his first afternoon nap, and he really wanted my attention!  If you manage to look past the cat, you can see the back of the quilt top.  I made sure to press all of the sliver seam allowances toward the background to make the slivers recede a bit.

Synthesized Slivers back of quilt top with monty

This is a small quilt so I quickly pin basted it and selected six colors of Aurifil to match the background fabrics.

Synthesized Slivers thread choices

I wanted to accentuate the angles that are incorporated into the design, so I used echo quilting to highlight the design of each block.

Synthesized Slivers quilting detail

The back is the same bright green accent color used on the front of the quilt.  I like how the different thread colors add value shifts to the back of the quilt.  I didn’t want to frame the quilt in with a binding, so the edges are finished with facings to match the backing fabric.

Synthesized Slivers back

I am so glad that I made this quilt, and even I think the brown actually works in it!

Synthesized Slivers angled quilting detail

 

Quilt Stats

Title:  Synthesized Slivers

Size: 22″ x 19″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Improvisational Piecing

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

Fabric:  Art Gallery Quilter’s Denim, Kona Cotton, Metallic Blend, Silk/Cotton Blend

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt cotton Aurifil in six colors

Binding:  Faced with Kona Cotton matching the quilt backing

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.