Ebb and Flow

Each year The Modern Quilt Guild includes a style/technique challenge category in QuiltCon, and this year the challenge is a two color quilt.  I was excited to approach this project because I had been casually considering what it would take to make a dynamic quilt top that used the same amount of two fabrics.

For most quilts, I tend to create a set of parameters for the design.  I find that working with some constraints helps me to achieve a more cohesive result.  For this project the parameters are:

  • Two Colors
  • Use equal amounts of each of the colors
  • Use the colors in a way that does not equally distribute the colors in each section of the quilt
  • Make the graphic quality of the design the star (let the quilting take a back seat on this design)

I went through lots of designs before I finally landed on this one.  I liked how the visual weight of each color shifts from one end of the quilt to the other.  The strips are cut in incremental widths with the narrowest strip finishing at just 1/8″ wide.

Many of my show quilts evolve organically, and take a fairly long time to construct, so it was a lot of fun to be able to cut and sew a quilt top in a day!

Ebb and Flow was quilted on my domestic sewing machine, but I did the basting on the longarm using a water soluble thread.  I also tried using a large scale stippling technique for the basting.

The quilting is simple lines, spaced about 1/4″ apart.  I was able to get this quilted while I was a quilting retreat with a group of friends, which was a great way to break up the monotony that comes with stitching hundreds of straight lines.

Once the quilting was finished, I soaked the quilt to remove the basting stitches and blocked the quilt on a frame.  

By the time it dried, it was perfectly flat and ready to be trimmed and finished.  I decided that a facing would work better with this design than a binding because I wanted to to allow the lines of the piecing to extend all the way across the quilt without the frame that a binding creates.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Ebb and Flow

Size: 51″ x 64″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Linear machine quilting using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008 domestic

Fabric:  Kona Cotton in black and white with a Moda wide back print

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with Aurifil 50wt in white and black

Binding:  Faced with black Kona Cotton

Entries for QuiltCon 2019

I love to enter quilt shows!  It is so much fun to have the opportunity to share what I make with other quilters from around the world, and I am hopeful that I may be able to share a quilt (or more!) with all of the wonderful and talented quilters attending QuiltCon in February.  Here are the four quilts I have entered.

Complementary Convergence is my largest matchstick quilted piece, coming in at a bit under 6’x7′.  This one is entered in the Use of Negative Space category.

Ebb and Flow was created for the two color challenge.  I set out to create a design that uses equal amounts of the two colors, and this is what I came up with!

Synthesized Slivers is a small quilt that I used to experiment with the use of non-quilting-cotton substrates.  It also has lots of 1/8″ wide pieces!

Resonance was my 100 day project this year, and I had a blast using all of that colorful thread to quilt it!  I entered it in the Appliqué category.

My fingers are crossed that at least one of these will be included in the show- now I just have to wait for the jurying results to come in the next few weeks!

 

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!