Graffiti Feathers: Mini Quilt #16

For a lot of my recent quilting, I have been creating designs that can be executed with a walking foot.  I love the results, but constantly turning my quilt and having to bury threads was getting a bit old!  So for this week’s mini quilt I decided some free motion work was in order!

Graffiti Feathers front view

I was just a couple inches away from finishing the binding on this quilt when it started to pour down rain, and it has been raining ever since.  For now I have to settle for indoor photographs, but I will update them when I can get better shots outside.

I knew I wanted a bunch of negative space to free motion quilt in, but I wanted to try working with a quilt top that had a design element of it’s own.  Knowing that I wanted to incorporate feathers into the quilting design, I thought that a single, colorful, stylized feather might make an interesting focal point.

First, I drew the feather design on freezer paper using the same drawing technique I would use to free motion quilt later.  Then I refined the feather and cut out the petal shapes, labeling them carefully as I went.  Once it was time to bring fabric into the mix, I adhered Wonder Under to the back of my fabric scraps before ironing the freezer paper patterns to the front.  The finished petals adhered nicely to the white Kona Cotton base fabric, and I did a machine blanket stitch around all of the edges to further secure the pieces.

Graffiti Feathers Detail

Since so many of my recent quilting designs have involves tons of starting and stopping (and burying of thread tails!), I thought it would be an interesting challenge to never stop quilting (unless I ran out of bobbin).  This was my first attempt at graffiti quilting, and I didn’t mark any of my designs ahead of time.  Using a variegated thread was also a new experience and the aesthetic effect worked really well in this context.  I had a spool of Gutermann cotton quilting thread that I had been given at some point.  I liked the coloring of the thread, but I thought it felt thinner than other brands of 50 wt thread.  It also left behind way more lint than other cotton threads I have used.  I normally love Gutermann thread, and use the Mara 100 for clothing and other general sewing, as well as a lot of quilt piecing.  I would not buy the cotton machine quilting thread again, so I will be seeking out a different brand of variegated thread to try. It was very freeing to do whatever design I wanted, waiting to see what the design wanted at that moment.  I think I’ll be trying this technique again!

I like how the quilting looks on the solid white back.  The binding is a scrappy mix of fabrics also used for the feather design.

Graffiti Feathers back view

Quilt Stats

Title:  Graffiti Feathers

Size: 19″x19″

Techniques:  Fusible appliqué with machine blanket stitching

Quilting:  Free motion quilted on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics:  Front base and backing- white Kona Cotton, Feather design- misc. warm colored scraps

Batting:  Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Red Variegated, 50 wt, Gutermann Cotton Machine Quilting Thread

Binding:  Scrappy binding, cut on the bias in 2″ strips, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

What was new:

Graffiti Quilting

Quilting with Variegated Thread

Quilt 16 / 50

Quilt 16 / 50

Goal #2 is Finished!

Goal #2 is Finished!

Marsala Mini: Mini Quilt #13

Pantone’s color of the year for 2015 is Marsala, a warm red with brown undertones.  Every year, I look forward to finding out the color of the year, and I knew that this year I would explore the color in the form of a quilt.  I was even more excited when I heard about the Pantone Quilt Challenge at On the Windy Side and Play Crafts.Marsala Mini Front View

The Pantone website features a quote by their executive director, Leatrice Eiseman, describing marsala as a color which “enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us into its embracing warmth.”  The challenge for me was that marsala isn’t a color that I’m particularly drawn to.  However, I learned long ago that there is no “ugly” color- it is all in how you use it.  I certainly wouldn’t label marsala with the U-word, but it is skating a bit to close too brown for my taste, and so many red-brown fabrics can look depressing or even dead.  Fortunately, last fall I picked up several fat quarters of marsala-like fabrics from a clearance bin.  Maybe my subconscious is better at picking up color trends than the rest of my brain, but I was sure glad that I had these when the color of the year was announced!  I mixed those with a few other marsala-y reds to come up with my basic palette. Marsala Fabric

When I am not immediately inspired, I will often do some sort of free writing or word association with the topic or theme.  For me marsala is associated with things like wine, curry, tomato sauce, roses, lipstick-  sensuality, volume, and curves come to mind.  The more I thought about this color, the more I thought that marsala calls out to be used in an Art Nouveau inspired design.

In looking at some Art Nouveau research, I landed on this tile design.  For me, the curves of this design seemed to be the perfect match for marsala.ANTD-080_i

I popped the image into the computer to create three graphics that would help in the creation of this quilt.  The first was a line drawing for the main pieces of fabric.  I printed this image on freezer paper so I could cut apart the image, iron the pieces to fabric and press the seam allowances around the paper.  This allowed me to assemble the quilt top using English Paper Piecing style techniques.Marsala Mini line drawing a

Over the line drawing I added a layer showing the smaller pieces of fabric that I would later add using wonder under.  I also printed this off on freezer paper to make it easier to cut these shapes.  (Hint:  Freezer paper won’t stick well to the paper backing of wonder under.  I ironed the wonder under to the back of the fabric and the freezer paper to the front.  It was really easy to cut these fairly small shapes, and you could even leave the freezer paper in place to add stability to the fabric after the paper wonder under backing is removed.  Once the fabric is ironed in place you can peel back the freezer paper.)Marsala Mini line drawing b

The final graphic I created was a color image which I used to help determine general fabric placement.  After quite a bit of experimentation, I decided that marsala paired beautifully with oranges and deep, muted violets, blues, and greys.Marsala Mini color

The main construction of the top was done entirely by hand.

Main Marsala top construction with tan appliqués in place

Main Marsala top construction with tan appliqués in place

With the main construction complete, I adhered the smaller pieces to the quilt using Wonder Under before using a machine blanket stitch to sew around the edges of the appliqués.Marsala Process B

Here is the back view of the quilt top- I just love seeing “behind the scenes” on this sort of construction!Marsala Process B back

The quilt back is improvisationally pieced using marsala colored fabrics.

Marsala Mini back view

Marsala Mini back view

For the quilting I decided to do fairly heavy quilting echoing each shape in the design.

Marsala Front detail

Marsala Mini front detail

Marsala Mini back detail

Marsala Mini back detail

I am pretty sure that this is my favorite mini I have done in this series, so I am really glad that I went out of my comfort zone to embrace marsala!  What do you think of marsala?  Are you making a project using marsala this year?

Quilt Stats

Title:  Marsala Mini

Size: 13″x17″

Techniques:  English paper piecing, machine appliqué, improvisational piecing

Quilting:  Echo stitching done using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics:  Kona in wine and charcoal; Alison Glass prints; Basketweave, Whisper, and a couple other prints from Riverwoods Collection by the Troy Corporation; Carolyn Friedlander Botanics print; several prints and batiks from unidentified fat quarters.

Batting:  Warm and White Cotton Batting

Thread:  Pieced with Gutermann Mara 100 color 245 (a warm clay/taupe color), Machine appliquéd with Gutermann Mara 100 in color 257 (a dark plum sort of color), Quilted with Connecting Threads Essential cotton thread in Red

Binding:  Strips cut on the bias in 2″ widths, machine sewn to the front, hand sewn to the back

What was new:

Using English paper piecing techniques on irregularly curved shapes

Quilt 13 / 50

Quilt 13 / 50

Goal #12 is Finished!

Goal #12 is Finished!

I’m linking this post up with Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt InfatuationFabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, Pet Project at Pink Doxies, Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She, and Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.  Please stop by to see all of the lovely work being created!