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

 

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.

 

 

 

2018 Year in Review

Around the beginning of every year, I like to look back on the previous year.  I have usually accomplished more than it feels like I have, and 2018 was no exception.

  • I started the year with a 100 Day project which culminated in Resonance.  Aurifil liked it so much they displayed it in their booth at Spring Quilt Market.  Later in the year, I became an Aurifil Artisan!

Photo courtesy of Sylvia of Flying Parrot Quilts

  • QuiltCon 2018 also included four of my quilts in the contest.  Lateral Ascension (upper left of the photo below) even received third place in the Minimalism category! (It also received an honorable mention at AQS Spring Paducah and a 2nd Place at AQS Grand Rapids!)

 

  • My first cover quilt also came around last year.  Raise the Roof is a particular favorite of mine, and it also received a third place at the American Quilter’s Society Fall Paducah Show.
  • Upward Perspective was a mini made for a Curated Quilts Challenge, and it was selected for inclusion in the magazine!

  • In 2018 I also started my second Block of the Month with Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  This year’s quilt has pictorial representations of key Columbus landmarks.

  • I also designed the 2018 Row by Row for Dabble and Stitch.  The theme was music, and I based the block on the state song, Beautiful Ohio.

  • My most exciting moment of 2018 was having my quilt, Infused Plaid, added to the permanent collection of The National Quilt Museum.

Photo courtesy of The National Quilt Museum

  • The 2018 colors of the year were Ultra-Violet (Pantone) and Tiger Lily (Kona), and I had a great time putting them together into this quilt!  Zenith received a second place in the Modern category at the American Quilter’s Society Fall Paducah Show.

  • As 2018 drew to a close, I had exciting news that three of my quilts, including Complementary Convergence (below), were selected for QuiltCon 2019!  I have added sleeves and labels to them this week, and will be shipping them off at the beginning of next week- now that is a great way to start 2019!

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