Infused Plaid

If you follow me on Instagram, you will probably recognize “Infused Plaid” since it is one of my favorite quilts and has traveled quite a bit.  However, I recently realized that I had never blogged about this quilt.  Since this week is the Blogger’s Quilt Festival over at Amy’s Creative Side, I thought I would take the opportunity to have a more in-depth look at this quilt.

Much of quilting is done in a standard routine.  There may be slight variations depending on the specific project and the person making the project, but it usually looks something like this:

  1. Design/create a pattern, or set personal parameters if it will be an improv project
  2. Select fabrics
  3. Construct the quilt top
  4. Choose a quilting design
  5. Layer the quilt backing, batting, and top through basting or loading on a longarm
  6. Quilt the project
  7. Trim and finish the quilt edges.

For Infused Plaid, I decided to mix up the process by starting with designing the pattern of the quilting stitches first.  Then, based on where each color of quilting stitches intersected with the same color, I placed a rectangle or square of matching fabric that would be pieced into the quilt top.

Drafting of the Infused Plaid design

Following the design process, most of the construction of the quilt is done in a standard manner.  The quilt top construction is fairly straightforward and goes together quickly, but the design doesn’t come together until the colorful quilting stitches are added.

This quilt was basted on the longarm machine and then quilted with a walking foot on my domestic Bernina.  For this project, I basted with regular thread, but I since started basting with water soluble thread.  It is amazing to not have to pull out basting stitches!

When I do matchstick quilting, I quilt all one direction first, then quilt any stitching lines that go in the opposite direction.  The dominant, colorful quilting is done first by marking the lines using a 60″ ruler and a roll of masking tape.  In the negative space of the quilt, I place parallel lines of masking tape approximately four inches apart across the quilt to indicate where the first set of quilting stitches will go.  I stitch on either side of the masking tape and remove it as soon as I possibly can.  Next I place a line of stitching about halfway between the previous lines, then halfway between those lines.  The process continues until the lines are approximately 1/8″ apart.  Finally, I mark and stitch the colorful lines running in the opposite direction to complete the plaid design.

Infused Plaid is mostly about the use of quilting thread.  The brightly colored threads are stitched using 28wt thread on the top of the quilt and 50wt on the bottom.  The heavier thread creates a stronger design on the top of the quilt, while the thinner thread in the bobbin helps keep the quilt softer and allows more thread to be loaded onto the bobbin.  The rows of white matchstick stitching is done with 50wt thread on both the top and bottom of the quilt.

As I quilt, I try to make the lines as perfect as possible, but when minor (inevitable) variations occur, I never take them out to redo that portion of the line.  I prefer to leave these moments as a reminder that this is still a hand crafted item.  If the final quilt would become too perfect, it would look like it was constructed by an automated machine rather than a human being.  The “flaws” are what gives this type of quilt some character!

Dense quilting, particularly if it is done on a domestic machine, can result in a quilt that doesn’t want to lay flat.  To deal with this issue, I block my matchstick quilted quilts.  The planning for this process starts very early on when I make my quilt top, because I like to make my top at least a couple inches larger than I hope the quilt will finish.  Since I work with so much negative space, I can to this without worrying too much about how trimming the edges will effect the overall aesthetic.

As soon as a quilt like this is finished, I soak it to prepare for blocking (and remove water soluble basting thread if it was used).  Then I “stretch” the quilt on a simple wooden frame that I staple the edges of the quilt to.  The biggest concern at this point is to make sure the lines of colorful stitching remain as straight as possible.  While the quilt is wet, it is easy to inadvertently distort the lines of stitching.  The stapling process is done on the floor, but once it is complete, I can stand the frame up to allow for better air circulation.  Sometimes I even take the quilt outside for awhile to dry.  It usually only takes a couple hours to dry, but I try to leave the quilt on the frame overnight to make sure that it is completely dry.  I hadn’t taken any photos of Infused Plaid while it was on the frame, so the quilt you see on the frame below is Pivoted Plaid, a close cousin to Infused Plaid.  (What can I say?- I really like plaid!)

To continue the visual lines of the plaid design all the way to the edge of the quilt, I used facings to finish the edge of the quilt rather than a visible binding.

Infused Plaid has been shown in quite a few venues.  It started by being a project in Modern Patchwork magazine.  Then it went to QuiltCon in Savannah where it received a first place in the Negative Space category.  Next it went to the American Quilter’s Society Spring Paducah show where it won a first place in the Modern Quilt category.

It went to several more shows and was included in the book Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century.

Infused Plaid in Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century

Recently, Infused Plaid joined its new home as part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  The museum collection focuses on quilts made since the 1980’s, and I am thrilled that this is the first modern quilt to join their amazing collection!

Infused Plaid at The National Quilt Museum

Quilt Stats

Title:  Infused Plaid

Size: 61″ x 61″

Techniques:  Traditional machine piecing

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

Fabric:  Kona Cottons

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 Cotton Poly Blend

Thread: Quilted with 28wt and 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Faced with fabric matching the quilt backing

QuiltCon Judging Comments

One of the best parts of entering major quilt shows is receiving written comments on your quilts.  There are usually a mix of positive and negative remarks, and frequently quilts resonate differently with different people.  The comment sheets from QuiltCon are no exception, and I thought it may be interesting to share them here.  I can only imagine how challenging it is to judge a quilt show like this, and I really appreciate all of the work that goes into the process.

QuiltCon 2018 Collage

When your box of quilts is returned, they are wrapped in clear plastic bags to protect them during shipping, and a packing slip is toward the top of the package.  This year, only three of my four quilts were returned immediately, since Pivoted Plaid will be traveling.

QuiltCon 2018 Judging Sheets page 1

The cards which hang next to each quilt are also included in the package.

Complementary Composition

Complementary Composition full

 

Complementary Composition Description Card

QuiltCon 2018 Judging Sheets page 2

 

Pivoted Plaid

This one has a judges comment sheet, but the quilt and description card are traveling this year.

Pivoted Plaid

QuiltCon 2018 Judging Sheets page 3

 

Overlay

Overlay front view

Overlay Description Card

QuiltCon 2018 Judging Sheets page 5

Lateral Ascension

Lateral Ascension full

This quilt had an extra special bonus- a hand crafted ribbon!

Lateral Ascension Description Card

QuiltCon 2018 Judging Sheets page 4

QuiltCon Highlights

QuiltCon 2018 ended on Sunday, and I wish that I had been able to attend to see so many of my quilt-y friends.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the photos and videos which were posted during the week, and it was wonderful to be able to see most of the show virtually.  Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to post during the show!  If you haven’t seen many photos of the show, I suggest looking at the Instagram hashtags #quiltcon2018 and #quiltcon to see most of the quilts on display.  Since I wasn’t there, my personal highlights will be pretty short.

1. Even though I wasn’t there, four of my quilts were able to attend in my place!

QuiltCon 2018 Collage

2.  Lateral Ascension received a third place award in the minimalism category!  I have a tendency to struggle with minimalism, so this was a big accomplishment on a personal level.

Lateral Ascension full

3.  Pivoted Plaid is going to be included in the Best of QuiltCon 2018 Traveling Exhibit!  It is thrilling that this quilt will be shared around the country in the coming year!

Pivoted Plaid

So who’s ready for QuiltCon 2019?  Nashville is an easy drive from here, so I will definitely be there next year, along with a lot of my local Modern Quilt Guild!

 

Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild Charity Quilt

Every year the Modern Quilt Guild issues a Charity Quilt Challenge and the results are displayed in the hallways of QuiltCon. The MQG gives a theme and color palette, and any guild or small group of members is invited to participate.  This is the second year the Central Ohio MQG has participated in this challenge.

Charity Quilt 2018 front

This year the theme was Modern Traditionalism and this is the palette.

QC18+Palette

When our guild does a group quilt, we gather design submissions and vote to determine which one we will make.  The design for this quilt was a collaboration between Lissa of Lovingly Lissa and me.  This project is a potholder style quilt, which was a popular method for charity quilts made in New England during the Civil War era.  Each contributor would piece, quilt and bind a block.  When the volunteers would gather, all they would have to do to finish the quilt is whip stitch the blocks together.  (If you would like to see some other potholder quilts, check out these posts:  Modern Log Cabin, Petals in the Wind, and In the Garden.)

Quilt Layout (2)

For our updated version of a potholder quilt, we used Ohio Star blocks.  This is the block that I contributed to the quilt.

Charity Quilt 2018 Individual Block front

Charity Quilt 2018 Individual Block back

Each block is constructed so that the pieced block is visible on either the front or the back of the quilt.  This also creates a fully reversible quilt.  The blocks are joined with a triple zigzag stitch done on my mechanical sewing machine.

Charity Quilt 2018 back

The first side of the quilt incorporates the entire color palette and has more of a “daytime” feel.

Charity Quilt 2018 detail 3

Charity Quilt 2018 detail 2

Charity Quilt 2018 detail 1

The reverse side of the quilt is intended to appear more like the nighttime sky.

Charity Quilt 2018 detail 4

 

Charity Quilt 2018 detail 5

 

Charity Quilt 2018 detail 6

My favorite part of this quilt is that we have so many different people contributing their personal quilting style to the project.  It has a mix of straight line and free motion quilting, several thread colors and weights, and various quilting densities.  It really became a beautiful representation of our guild.

The quilt gets shipped off to QuiltCon this week!  We are all very excited to have it displayed with all of the challenge quilts from around the world.  We don’t have any members who are able to attend this year, so we are hoping to have some photos come our way!

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Two Sides of the Same Star

Size: 71″ x 89″

Techniques:  Potholder style, machine pieced, block machine zigzagged together

Quilting:  Free motion and walking foot quilted

Fabric:  Kona Cottons

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread:  Pieced and quilted with a variety of thread brands, colors, and weights

Binding:  Blocks were individually bound with Kona cotton bias binding, cut 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front of each block, and hand stitched to the back.

Complementary Composition: A Michael Miller Challenge Quilt

Complementary Composition grew out of the 2017 Michael Miller/Modern Quilt Guild Challenge.  This is the third year I have participated in the challenge, and this is the first time that my challenge quilt has been selected for participation at QuiltCon.

Complementary Composition full

The fabric for the challenge is Our Yard, and it is super cute!  This actually proved to be a greater challenge to me, because I rarely make quilts that I can describe as cute or even pretty.  I love looking at quilts that are cute, pretty, darling, charming, etc., but I don’t tend to create work that I would use these terms to describe.  Now the question became- How do I incorporate these charming prints into my personal aesthetic?

Michael Miller Challenge Fabric 2017

When I am uncertain how to proceed with a design, I tend to turn to the elements and principles of design.  While the elements and principles of design never exist purely on their own, I find that sometimes narrowing my focus in the initial stages of a design helps to refine my overall vision for the project.  In this case, I initially focused on the element of color and the principle of scale.

There are so many bright colors in the challenge prints that it allows for interpretation in selecting a dominant color palette.  Blue and Orange has always been my favorite complementary color scheme (two colors opposite each other on the color wheel), and I thought that the vibrant combination would honor the energy evoked in the fabric prints.  To add visual dimension, I selected a lighter and darker version of solid color.  I was fortunate enough to make my initial fabric purchase for the quilt while in Paducah, KY at Hancock’s of Paducah.  They carry most of the Michael Miller solids, so I was able to make my color choices with the fabrics right in front of me.  When purchasing solids for a project, I try to photograph the ends of the bolts just in case I need to order more, which did happen during this project.

Michael Miller Solids

The official challenge only required that two of the prints in the line be incorporated into the finished quilt, but as a personal challenge, I wanted to use each one included in the bundle that was sent out.  In order to make this work with my aesthetic and the color scheme of the quilt, scale was going to be an extremely important aspect of the design.  The most graphic print in the bundle is the black, grey, and white print which is the most closely aligned to my aesthetic.  This would be the dominant print.  The black and white leaf print on the mustard and aqua backgrounds is closely associated with the striped print, and I liked that the spacing of the print give the eye a place to rest in the background and allows it to work with the solid fabrics surrounding it.  I knew that this print was a prime candidate for fussy cutting to highlight the leaf image.

Complementary Composition fussy cut detail

The busiest prints were going to be the most challenging to work in, so they were going to be used in the smallest pieces.  The 1/8″ slivers of these fabrics create energetic lines and break up large expanses of the solid fabrics.

Complementary Composition Piecing Detail

This quilt is constructed using a structured improv technique.  The pieces are measured and trimmed as they are sewn, but there is no predetermined design for the piece.  I started the process by constructing blocks loosely based on Log Cabin/Courthouse Steps style blocks.  Many of the blocks are built around a fussy cut square or a simply pieced block.  As the blocks were completed, I added them to the design wall.

Complementary Composition Design Wall

Once I decided the blocks were balancing within the design, I filled in the open areas with strips of fabric.

Complementary Composition Echo Quilting

For the quilting of the piece, I wanted to emphasize the linear qualities of the piecing by using a mix of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal straight line quilting as well as echo quilting.  The echo quilting highlights a visually contained shape while the vertical lines give a sense of strength that is balanced by the calming force of the horizontal lines.  Mixing in strong diagonal lines gives a greater energy and a sense of the unexpected to the overall design.

Complementary Composition Use of Challenge Fabric

The binding is a mix of solids with just a small section of striped fabric to draw the eye back toward the center of the quilt.

Quilt Stats:

Title:  Complementary Composition

Size: 63″ x 69″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Structured Improvisational Piecing, Fussy Cutting

Quilting:  Linear Quilting using an A-1 Longarm equipped with digital channel locks that can be set to any angle

Fabric:  Michael Miller Our Yard Prints and Cotton Couture Solids

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Thread:  Pieced using Gutermann Mara 100, Quilted with 50wt Aurifil

Binding:  Bias binding in a mix of solids and striped print cut at 2″ wide, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back