Columbus Skyline for the Row by Row Experience

This year Dabble and Stitch, a fantastic local quilt shop in Columbus, Ohio asked me to design their row for the Row by Row Experience.  It was their first time participating in this event, and it was my first time designing for it.  I am really excited by the results, and I hope lots of people get to make up this fun block.  During the Row by Row Experience the patterns are available for free in their “home” shop, but can only be distributed by picking them up in person.  Kits for this row are available for $20.  Later this year the pattern will go up for sale and can be sent to you if you can’t make it to the shop.

Columbus Skyline Mini detail

The theme for this year is “Home Sweet Home,” and we thought it would be great to create a row featuring the Columbus skyline.  This view of the city is taken from a bridge in Bicentennial Park.  Columbus Skyline Photo

I was standing right next to this guy as I snapped the photos!Columbus Skyline with Sculpture

Using the photos I took, I designed and rendered the skyline using AutoCad and Photoshop./Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Blog/Row By Row/2016/Skyline.dw

The block is constructed using needle turn appliqué, but you can also do raw edge appliqué using this pattern since I included lines on the templates that show the finished sizes of each piece.  This is what the row looks like finished and ready to incorporate with other rows.Columbus Skyline Row

For the shop, I made the row into a mini quilt by adding borders.  The quilting changes from building to building, and for added fun, I quilted the shop name and city into the borders.  I think this looks great as a mini, and I am hoping to make one up as a long pillow for a sofa or bed.Quilted Columbus Skyline Row Mini

I love mixing up my quilting thread colors to match the fabrics on the front of the quilt.  I went with a white fabric on the back to show off all of that quilting.Columbus Skyline Mini back view

If you are traveling through Columbus this summer, I hope you stop in to pick up a pattern!

Quilt Stats

Title:  Columbus Skyline

Size:  Row itself finishes at 9″x36″  With borders the mini finishes at approximately 14.5″x41.5″

Techniques:  Needle-turn Appliqué, Pieced borders

Quilting:  Free motion longarm machine quilted with an A-1 Elite

Fabric:  Assorted 100% Cotton Prints

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Thread:  Appliquéd using Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with eight colors of 50wt cotton Aurifil

Binding:  Straight grain binding assembled to match the borders of the mini, cut 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back.

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!

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Have you seen the new book by not one, but two of the most prominent (and awesome!) current modern quilters?  Angela Walters and Christa Watson have joined forces to create The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, a resource that is a must have for any quilter.  The title of this book is perfect because it really does embrace machine quilters of all types:

  • Longarm Quilters
  • Sit-Down or Domestic Machine Quilters
  • Anyone contemplating purchasing a longarm or sit-down longarm
  • A Quilter who is interested in sending a quilt out to be longarm quilted (more on this later)
Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

The format of this book moves fluidly between longarm quilting with Angela and sit down machine techniques with Christa.  This creates a conversation between the experts and the reader.  The projects provide a common starting point for each artist to demonstrate quilting options on their respective machines.  This is where things get really interesting- for each quilt pattern in the book we are given two possible quilting options.  So many people worry about making the “right” choice when it comes time to quilt their painstakingly created quilt tops.  By showing multiple options for quilting the same top, the idea that there is only one correct design is thrown out the window.

Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

Beyond showing us quilting options, Christa and Angela openly discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of each type of machine.  This is a topic that I have hardly ever seen discussed, and this is some seriously useful information for everyone who quilts.  I love my longarm, and I do use it for almost all of my quilting, but if my sit-down machine would be a better option for a design that I would like to do, I’m going to use it instead.  It can be really tricky to determine what is the best tool for the job, so it is exciting to see these comparisons included throughout the text.  This information is valuable for everyone, even quilters who send their projects out to be quilted.  Longarm machines do have some limitations, so this will help quilt top creators to have an informed conversation with their quilters.  A perfect example of this is the “Exploding Star” Quilt on page 104.  Christa quilts this project with large, stunning spirals, and then Angela tells you why a spiral design would not be the best choice for a longarm before offering up her lovely quilting options.

Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

Even more than the specific projects, I love the information at the beginning of the book and all of the fantastic tips in the sidebars of the pages.   The first 19 pages are packed with information regarding the different machine types, thread options, tool recommendations, and general quilting tips.  Then as you work your way through the book, the sidebars provide tips that specifically address the techniques and challenges presented in specific projects.  Directional quilting, thread amounts and weights, starting and stopping (or how to avoid it!), using two layers of batting, quilting fusible appliqué, and turning corners are just a few tips found throughout the book.

This is one of the most exciting machine quilting books I have used, and I really think most of you would like it too!  It is available on Christa’s website, Angela’s Website, Martingale, and Amazon as well as other quilt shops and book stores.  (Full disclosure:  I receive no compensation for your purchase through any of these websites, but I did receive an advanced digital copy of the book for this review. This review is my honest opinion of the book.)

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!