Architectural Digest and MKCA

Exciting news! I’m thrilled and proud to share than my quilt “The Stars Dream of Snow” is currently featured in a project published online at Architectural Digest. The project: “A Highly Functional 225-Square-Foot Manhattan Micro-Apartment” is designed by my good friend and former business partner, Michael Chen of MKCA (Michael K Chen Architecture). Check it out! image3.png

Note: “The Stars Dream of Snow” was designed and made for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge for the MQG’s QuiltCon West 2016, where it won first prize in the category. And of course, check out Michael Miller Fabrics.

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THE FINAL QUILT!

It is nearing a year since I began this blog and this, my first assignment. When I started I thought it might take me, oh, say three, four months max per project. But a year? No way. Absolutely no way. And yet, well, it did.

That said, I am happy to announce, no, I am TOTALLY THRILLED to announce that this quilt is finished! It is not only finished, but photographed as well!

Title: “The Ground She Moves, Flies”

detail_quilt15_b

I’ll explain: working through the words with which I began the project: (Repeated Folding, Angled Sliding, and Rippling), I thought about an ongoing process of form-making, like the geological movements that constantly occur to make the patterns in our earth. Repeated small shifts over time/space make forms and then release those forms as time goes by. Small or large changes occur, each one folding the old patterns into the new formations.

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A reading of the textures and patterns in the quilt suggest a timeline: first Repeated Folding occurs. Many little folds within the white fabric develop a fine scale texture that converges with the white and deep purple triangles of Rippling. Finally, a force of Angled Sliding shifts the pattern and the triangles move into or out of alignment. The pattern moves off beyond the boundaries of the quilt suggesting a continuation and the possibility of various other forms.

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When taking in the pattern as a whole, I love the interplay between a sense of falling into place, or “grounding” from left to right, and one of “flying” when considered from right to left. Thus the reference to both in the title.

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I chose to do a quilting pattern that could trace the movement in a series of stair-step lines. I made these very dense to increase the texture. I am still debating this one. In many ways I love the density of texture, but I also think some of the inherent texture of the folded pieces gets lost.

From a technical standpoint, this quilting was crazy difficult on my old Bernina with a small throat space. This had me dreaming of a Long Arm machine!

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And with that, I am pleased to present: “The Ground She Moves, Flies”

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Quilt top design (and piecing) complete!

I am thankful every day I get to work on quilt-making. I do have to admit, though, I wish I had more time! This project has been a bit of a beast. My brain is working so much faster than my hands: I’m already three quilts on from this one in my head. I may be doing a little backtracking as I turn my ideas into the assignments I had intended to give to myself for the blog. Well, learning a lot from this experience – both about blogging and about quilt-making!

On to the design of this quilt: in my last post I discussed much of my digital process whereby I drew the blocks and worked with variations of repeats. When I moved onto my design wall I started with one of my favorite options and worked from there. I like this process: the digital work allows for the quick trial of many options. I can incrementally change the pattern and test ideas in a relatively short period of time. It gives me a good base with which to layout the pieces and start sewing. Sometimes when I shift to “the real,” I adjust the layout from the drawing quite a bit as the fabrics, colors, and physical presence of the quilt top come into being. With this quilt, though, I made only very small adjustments to the design.

Rippling Sliding7_ALL

The overall design I feel does bring together those three movement ideas I pulled out of a hat so many months ago: Angles Sliding, Repeated Folding, and [Mirrored] Rippling. Well….the mirrored part didn’t really make it in, but I’m ok with that! The use of a significant amount of white space helps the eye follow the shifting pattern and trace movement in multiple directions: the middle points of the deep purple triangles face left directing the eye up to the corner, but the overall shift of the pattern pulls down to the right guided by the lower points of the deep purple triangles and the middle points of the white ones. In the lower right-hand corner, the pattern falls into a simple repeat that continues off the quilt. The white areas below the shifting triangles include lines of increased texture: the white space therefore contains both rest and interest.

I think of this design as something being created: the pattern is in motion and suggests continued change, like the way geological formations come into being, create patterns through forces being exerted on materials, and then change again according to new forces. The design continues beyond the boundaries of the quilt. The eye moves off in every direction, imagining more.

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In terms of sewing, I learned -again- that my ideas do not always make for easy piecing. The sharp points of the triangles were definitely a challenge, as were the long 1 1/4″ (3/4″ sewn) slide pieces that go the length of the quilt. The real kicker here, though, was the added texture, which is a series of pleats every 1″ or so in the long strips of white fabric. Phew! Not hard, perhaps, but definitely time consuming. Interestingly the pleats add structure to the fabric, creating less give than the non-textured parts of the quilt top.

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And now for the finishing. I wanted the backing to be simple, but a surprise. I chose a bright blueish purple (Michael Miller Fabrics Cotton Couture Crocus, to be exact!) for the backing and am anxiously awaiting its arrival in the mail. The next challenge is to design the quilting pattern. My current idea is to create a series of stair-stepping lines that track the shift of the pattern from left to right, but I’m uncertain how that will work in the white textured area. Thread colors in contention are either of the blue-purple persuasion, or white. Tests to follow!

Ello Quilter of the Week! And Teacher Appreciation Week!

It’s been a good week here with a couple thins going on. This week I was “Quilter of the Week” over on Ello! Thanks to Sara Okern of @elloquilt for the opportunity to answer some questions about what I do and reflect on my process and work.

Check it out and I’d love to hear about your process or how you think about your projects. And while you are there also head over to @elloquilt for some quilting inspiration.

https://ello.co/elloquilt/post/w3gfnbsrwpxhtfrif5tyxa

Ello

It was also Teacher Appreciation Week. My daughter has two incredible preschool teachers and I’ve been really wanting to make something for them. I missed Christmas and their birthdays, so I decided I couldn’t let this week pass by without getting something done!

Teacher A

Conveniently I already had fabric in each of their favorite colors. I quickly made some sketches and came up with this linear technique of alternating a neutral color with lines of varying bright colors. I’m digging the patterns and of course am now thinking of many variations I could make with these – there are so many options. Each quilt is approximately 15″ x 10″.

Teacher V

That’s it for now. I just wanted to briefly share what I’ve been up to. And now, back to my design wall and ongoing assignment work!

 

Design in Progress

I’m having so much fun bringing design ideas together for this assignment! As a way of starting I decided to just repeat the block that was the most “block-like” (a block that, based on the where its points and lines are, already would create alignments within a standard repeated grid.)  “Mirrored Rippling,” is a rectangular block split diagonally into four pieces. When repeated horizontally and vertically, it immediately produces a dramatic movement that I can redirect by implementing mirroring in a few areas. I immediately loved the patterns this produced. Talk about movement! See image below, left.

The next step was to adjust the repeats by implementing the other word pairings. I loved the arrow-head looking block I had made by operating “Angled Sliding” onto the Rippling block, so I started repeating that slide within the repeat. See below, right.

Repeat 01-2

I’m really excited by the intensity, but I do think there needs to be areas of difference and rest, so I explored how I could bring Repeated Folding into the mix and use it to create breaks in the pattern. See image below. I felt the best place to bring in the folds was in the space created behind the piece that slid: the arrow-head. This provided the opportunity to keep the folding going on the diagonal beyond the borders of each individual block, which results in the white streaks.

I flipped the whole layout from the original test above so that the arrow-heads angled right instead of left. This just felt better to me.

Repeat 03

Before I swapped the orientation, I tried a few quick samples of adding the folding into tail end of the arrow-head block. The left side of the image is without folding, the middle right adds the folding into just the new white area created by the slide of the purple, and the far right block implements the folding into the entire white area behind the arrow head. That last one is the one I’m liking best.IMG_5854arrow

I really like where this is going, but was also interested in bringing back in the “Slide” I had explored in some of the original “Angled Sliding” blocks. In the patterns above, I noticed that the alignment of the blocks created diagonal lines that could be used to slide parts of the pattern along one another. Interestingly, this changes the way the block is made: no longer is a block a rectangular unit, but instead it shifts to be a linear row.

The lower left image shows the units in the original orientation. Because I always like to change things up and look at things in new ways, I also tried rotating the whole thing 90 degrees. What strikes me in these tests is the way the repetitive patterns shifts: the alignment of rows changes from on-point to offset. This use of sliding can generate more amazing movement in the overall pattern.

Repeat 06-7

With these studies, I delved into fabric. I already know that I want to make two quilts. I am so excited by what is happening here that I haven’t even moved on to try shifts in scale or other suggestions I had given when I wrote the assignment!

Below is the current state of my design wall. The last of the test samples above is the first I’m making in fabric. I’m curious about the edges. I tend to work with patterns that bleed beyond the borders of the quilt, but here I’m also exploring possible white space at the edges of some of the pattern.

IMG_5852Designwall

And now back to work!

Assignment 001c: Bring it all together!

Here’s the fun part! The last part of the assignment will bring everything together and explore what can be made with all the ideas I’ve been working with. I’m very excited to move into this stage of design. Things have been a little slow going lately, though, as I’m in the process of building my design wall and trying to put together some “quick” pillows. Nevermind that I’ve only ever made one pillow before and it wasn’t pieced. Ha! (Oh, and I also seem to be dealing with some ridiculous allergies….where did they come from?! I hear that Tree pollen is the culprit right now.) In the meantime I’ll post the final assignment for this project:

Assignment 001c

Using the techniques and blocks from the three word pairings and the combos, develop designs for a quilt that bring together ideas and suggest movement in some way. Sew, sketch, digitally draw….use each or all design techniques available. Complete at least one pieced quilt. (We’ll examine quilting later.)

Things to consider:

-What is the organization of the quilt – will blocks repeat? How? In a grid? Alternate grid?

-Transformation: perhaps some blocks or actions infiltrate the design sporadically to disrupt the pattern rather than all three word pairings appearing in every block.

-The scale of blocks or techniques may adjust in relation to each other.

-The three word pairing ideas do not need to be weighted equally in the final design.

-Blocks or techniques may need to change from the original explorations in order to work in the larger fields. This is ok!

 

I think that gives enough to go from. It’s pretty loose but there’s already a lot of material to work with. Finding the possible connections will be the challenge. Now I just can’t wait to get started!

 

Rippling Sliding

[This is the continuation of an assignment I gave previously. See earlier posts for details or click on “Assignment 001” on the right and scroll through]

Rippling Sliding is the last of the word pair combos. After this will be taking as step back, looking at what I have made, and designing. I’m looking forward to that stage!

In these two blocks below, I took part of my Mirrored Rippling block and slid a segment along a white “slide”. The one on the left is untrimmed to see the action: the three top triangular segments have slid down the bottom triangle along the line of the white slide. In the block on the right, I allowed the top three triangles of the block to change shape as I imagined the sliding action to happen prior to the creation of the rippling block. I’d really like to examine both of these with “regular” Mirrored Rippling blocks to see how they shift the pattern. The block on the left, if trimmed, would actually be a different height and would therefore shift the positioning of a whole column of blocks. Both could create interesting breakages in the overall Mirrored Rippling pattern.

Rippling Sliding01

The last experiment I did also came with a color change. I ran out of the pale blue material and decided to try a replacement color that would contrast more dramatically with the white. I chose a beautiful deep blue-purple.

Sliding Rippling

I paper-pieced this block and multiplied it to understand how the shift I made would start to show in the overall pattern. I kind of fell in love with this. Here, instead of using added white strips as “slides,” I thought I could just use the diagonal lines created in the pattern to shift the pieces. There are four blocks here. In the lower right block the upper purple triangle has slid down, elongating the white area and creating a much smaller purple triangle. When the small purple triangle connects to the left with another block, it ends up creating a shape that looks like an on-angle arrow head. I love how dynamic this looks and can start to imagine a whole field created with these two blocks. With this last experiment I’ve really been ignoring the “mirrored” part of Mirrored Rippling, and may just do away with it. I think I can use the action of mirroring in a larger layout of these blocks, but I don’t want to be tied to it within each individual block. Maybe that’s changing the rules a little bit, but sometimes that is ok!

I’m excited to move on with all the pieces I have created. I’ll post a new assignment to explain what I’ll be doing, but the gist of it is that I’ll be picking and choosing from all the work I have done to create full quilt designs.

I have a little work at home to do first, though. I don’t currently have a design wall and I am feeling that in order to “step back and take a look” at what I have made so far with this assignment, that I LITERALLY need to be able to “step back and take a look!!” So first up, a design wall. And I may be making a few pillows too…..

Folding Sliding Rippling combos

[This is the continuation of an assignment I gave previously. See earlier posts for details or click on “Assignment 001” on the right and scroll through]

First up for the word pairing combos is Repeated Folding with Angled Sliding. The first two are shown below in the large images with four small images of some of the original word pair blocks I used as starting points. In these two experiments folding occurred prior to sliding. In the large image on the left I applied Repeated Folding to the blue fabric, followed by slicing the block and sliding the two pieces on angle along the white fabric. This results in a highly textured piece with a break and shift. In the large image on the right, the folds occur in the white fabric “slide.” Again the blue rectangle was sliced and slid, but this time the shift is revealed in the offset of folds of the white fabric.

FoldingSlidingWith2

In the following two blocks, I reversed the order of operations. First I sliced and slid the blue fabric along the white slide, and then added Repeated Folding. In the image on the left I did a continuous and evenly spaced folding, whereas on the right I added the folding only between the seams in the blue pieces.

Sliding Folding

The next pairing combo is Repeated Folding with Mirrored Rippling. I thought I was really going to love these but after going through the exercise I am rethinking. Like above, I tried switching the order of operations to discover what effects I could get. The large images below are the combos, the small photos underneath are the previous block ideas I was working from. In these attempts I essentially created a pleated fabric and used it within the blocks for the white pieces. This adds the folded texture within contained areas. Oops, I seem to have lost the mirrored aspect of Mirrored Rippling in two of these!

Folding Rippling

In this last image below, I used one block of Mirrored Rippling and added the evenly spaced folds. This results in an interesting jagged lines in the edges of the triangles.

Rippling Folding

I am still in the experimental phase where I am generating ideas and exploring, so I don’t like to critique the work too much because who knows what might work later? That said, I definitely have some observations that suggest other experiments or start to point towards blocks that have more potential.

My first observation is that in the pieces with the all-over folding, the fold lines run to the edges of the blocks. This may or may not be a good thing when combining blocks. Not to mention when I do a lot of this, I loose about a quarter of my block to folds!

The flip side of that, however, is when the folds occur in the fabric first and get sewn into the blocks second. The pleats are usually bound within certain shapes and may counteract the angles of the block. For instance in some of the experiments the folds are oriented vertically, which, now that I step back and look at it, don’t seem to “play nicely” with the triangular shapes they are in. I find they stop and start with little relation to the shapes around them. I could try some new blocks where I change the orientation of the folds to relate more directly to the larger shapes of the blocks.

I am finding generally that the folding technique can be overwhelming, both to me in terms of making it and more importantly in how it sits in the blocks. I think a little of this technique can go a long way, and I am most interested in the blocks where a little bit might peak out here and there. I also like when this technique amplifies the movement of the pattern rather than stifles it.

I still have one more pairing combo to work on: Angled Sliding with Mirrored Rippling. This one is less obvious to me about how I go about it, but I also think that it could be really fun!

Assignment 001b

[This is the continuation of an assignment I gave to myself previously. See earlier posts for details or click on “Assignment 001” on the right and scroll through]

Before taking a break for QuiltCon I was working on creating blocks from the word pairings I pulled out of a hat: Repeated Folding, Angled Sliding, and Mirrored Rippling. It’s now time for the next part of the assignment. And believe me, I know what I am assigning, but I have no idea where the design of this quilt is leading (or whether it will work)! That’s what makes this fun. Teehee!

Assignment 001b:

Using the explorations for the word pairing blocks, create new blocks that combine ideas. For example: Repeated Folding + Angled Sliding.

In each block, consider the order of operations. For example, add Repeated Folding to the Angled Sliding block, and then try adding Angled Sliding to one of the Repeated Folding blocks. There will likely be big differences between the explorations!

Make all combinations and make a bunch of options.

Now make!

 

Mirrored Rippling

I have to admit it: Mirrored Rippling is giving me trouble! Not only am I having a hard time creating something that ripples, but it is shifting how I thought this assignment would go. Really, that is to be expected – how I imagine assignments to play out always changes in the process. This is just how a creative process works! Right?!

MR_01

First, the action of Rippling just doesn’t give as obvious direction as Folding or Sliding. Making a fold and sliding two pieces along a line are clear things I can do to fabric. Ripple? There’s more interpretation here – which isn’t a bad thing, but it has led me to another realization: Folding and Sliding are things we already just DO to fabric when we manipulate it. In order to achieve Rippling, most of my ideas include a lot of Folding and Sliding.

The above images are, believe it or not, all attempts at Rippling. Yes, yes, I know, that striped one? I was imagining a line rippling back and forth across a center mirror, but the effect didn’t quite come across. No big deal, you have to make and make lots to discover what does work, and nothing is wrong when you are experimenting. Of these three, the lower one has potential to me in a repeated form.

MR_02

I was trying really hard not to just Fold and Slide, but in the above experiment I went all out with Folding to get Rippling. Since my word pairing is Mirrored Rippling I opted to alternate the directions of my folds. Whoah! There was so much surprise here! I loved the discovery of those diamond shapes when the folds started crossing through each other. I did the simple white just to see what the basic crossing fold did.

MR_03

My last experiment went back to a more standard piecing technique. The block is pretty straightforward – a rectangle made up of four triangles of alternating color. In this assembly, the “Mirrored” part of Mirrored Rippling is obviously across the first vertical seam. I can imagine many ways this block can layout using multiple mirrorings. (Yes, I am making that a word!)

I need to let these ideas stew for a few weeks before moving onto the next part of the assignment. QuiltCon 2016 is coming up in a few weeks and I’m going! I’m signed up to take a bunch of workshops and it turns out I have a lot of prep work to do before showing up. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

And if you haven’t guessed it already, the next part of the assignment is about combining….