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”

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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.

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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

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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!

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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″.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

QulitCon2016

QuiltCon is over and it’s time to go back to work on my quilt assignments, but first I wanted to share a little bit about my experience with the show. I’m honored and grateful to have had three quilts hanging in the exhibit, and I’m thrilled that my “The Stars Dream of Snow” took home first in the Michael Miller Glitz Fabric Challenge! (Sponsored of course by Michael Miller Fabrics)

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Below are “Zag” on the left, and “Orange Ripple” on the right. It was fun but a little strange seeing these two quilts displayed since I am so used to them draping over the back of my couch and operating as fort components for my daughter. It definitely brings up to me the question “What are quilts for?” -a question that has numerous and varied answers for sure, but one that sticks with me.

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Another question that comes up surrounding a show like this is “What does it mean to get a quilt juried into the show? And what does it mean to win?” There’s no clear answer here, but for me personally it meant this: it comes as happy encouragement as I consider whether and how this hobby could turn into something more. So I thank QuiltCon and the MQG for that.

My favorite part of QuiltCon was the four amazing classes I signed up for. I wanted to learn new skills and be inspired, and both definitely happened. Here are the workshops I took:

Paper Piecing Design with Amy Garro of 13spools.com. I am quite new to paper piecing and wow, the possibilities with this technique kind of blow my mind. Amy is a wonderful teacher. The Paper Piecing Design Workbook she made for us is incredible: I can’t even imagine the amount of work that went into it – it is full of clear information and useful exercises. Thank you so much Amy!

Paperless Paper Piecing with Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting. I figured if I am going to get into paper piecing, I should learn as many tricks as possible. I had never even considered that you could do this, but you can! And it’s amazing. Cristy was great and so knowledgeable. Thank you Cristy!

For the Love of Y-Seams with Libs Elliott. I drool over her work and am totally fascinated by what she does with Processing, especially because I am interested in links between technology and handcraft. I had never sewn a Y-seam in my life, and I need practice for sure! i enjoyed getting to start on her pattern The Weight of Love. And she’s just so cool. Thank you Libs!

Color Theory in Practice with Kim Eichler-Messmer of kimemquilts.com. This was my first time with color theory and was so happy with this class. The exercises were fun, useful, and surprising. I discovered color palettes I never would have considered and I feel empowered to really work with color in a new way. Kim was awesome. Thank you Kim!

Overall QuiltCon was thrilling, exhausting, inspiring, intimidating…..and more. I kind of fly under the radar so I only met a few people, but I really enjoyed those I did. I hope this is the beginning of connecting with a community that seems quite supportive, encouraging, and talented.

And now it is time to get back to work! I have a design wall to (finally) build, and quilt assignments to work on.