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!

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!