What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath (40”x18”)

What Lies Beneath (40”x18”)

What Lies Beneath is another new quilt for this year. This was made for the Central Oregon SAQA challenge, “Beneath the Surface”. When I was trying to figure out what to do for the challenge I had other ideas, ones that were really quite different from this. However, when I have a challenge quilt to do I try to make something that could be used for other purposes besides the original exhibit. In this case, I wanted to do something modern and I was inspired by mid century modern design.

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I came up with this idea as an abstract way to illustrate how people, animals and nearly everything else in the universe are more complicated that they first appear. The original idea had a midline going across the width of the quilt, but at some point I decided it was better without it.

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First I did a small sketch of some shapes, then had to decide the order of putting it all together. I also had to consider shrinkage since the size was supposed to be 18x40 (either vertical or horizontal). I had to make the background extra big and then guess that shrinkage would occur mostly in the width rather than the height due to the vertical background quilting.

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I made a full size drawing and used hand applique and freezer paper templates to add the shapes. Then I layered and machine quilted the background. I started and stopped each stitching line at the shapes and since I like to bury the thread tails that took a really long time! Lastly, I added the hand quilting and hand embroidery. It was a lot of fun to to doodle on the shapes. I used a Pitt Artist pen to draw the doodles and then stitched over the lines with embroidery floss with mostly back stitch and satin stitch.

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Finally, I added my hand stitched signature to the front of the quilt. I’ve been doing that on most quilts in recent years and I like the look. It feels like signing a painting.

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I really love how this quilt came out and it was enjoyable to do (except for all the ends to bury!). The background fabric is Essex linen/cotton blend which is one of my favorite fabrics for hand stitching. I also love the backing print which is very busy, but so very cute. Those tiny houses are about 1/4”! It worked out great because I didn’t worry to much about doing the hand embroidery. Normally I would try to keep my embroidery stitches in the batting layer rather than going through to the back, but with the machine quilting lines it would have been very frustrating to do. With that backing being so busy all the errant stitches on the back don’t really show so I don’t mind them.

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70s Child

70s Child, 39" x 51"

70s Child, 39" x 51"

70s Child is a recent finish that I only started a couple of months ago.  I wanted to do a quilt based on improv curves.  These blocks were cut free hand with a rotary cutter and machine pieced.  I have done curves before, but never so many in one quilt.  It turns out I really hate doing them.  It's one reason the blocks sat for a bit before I got back to them.  I first made the small (approx 5") blocks, then made the four larger triple curve blocks in the upper right.  I set them aside to finish some other things, but every time I thought about getting them out I was turned off because I hated the process so much.  In the end I realized the design had potential and I should really just suck it up and finish it.  I made some more larger curved blocks (about 6"), then the rectangular blocks, and lastly the three largest ones at the bottom.  

I just found out that 70s Child was accepted into the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at IQF Houston this year, so that will be it's first outing as I need to mail it off soon.  I don't know why they need them so soon when the show's not until November, but there you go.

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It took me a little while to arrange them and start to put it together.  When the top was finished I machine quilted with dense straight lines (1/4" apart) which is my go to for abstract modern quilts.  It's not terribly original, but it's my thing.  I'm done trying to come up with some fabulous free motion design.  I really don't enjoy that and in the end I feel it can be limiting.  In this case, the quilting adds lovely texture, but no (or minimal) character.  I am not really interested in having someone else quilt it for an exorbitant price unless I am dealing with something too large for me.

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I finished it with a binding pieced from scraps and I really like the result.  By the way, the color palette started with the mustard yellow.  I added the reds, pinks and gray and then needed something else and turquoise just seemed to pop.  It started to remind me of the 70s while I was working on it.  Partly it was due to the mustard yellow/harvest gold color and partly due to the shapes.  Plus, I'm a 70s Child myself as I turned 6 in 1970.  So, don't expect any more improv curves from me, except perhaps in small doses.  

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Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century

Happy New Year!  Today I am very happy to be a stop on the blog tour for the new book published by the Modern Quilt Guild, Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century.  This book is like a fantastic trip to QuiltCon, except you don't have to leave your house.  It includes some of the best modern quilts from the past decade.  You can order the book at the link above.  I have two quilts in the book (pages 93 and 170) and couldn't be more thrilled to be included with so many fellow quilters who I admire.  To see the other stops in the blog tour click here.

The Spectrum of the Ordinary

The Spectrum of the Ordinary

The Spectrum of the Ordinary was first shown at Pacific International Quilt Festival 2015, then QuiltCon 2016, and was featured in an article in Simply Moderne Magazine Issue 5.  You can read about the making of the quilt here.  You'll also find mentions of it here and here.  

Waiting for Sanity

Waiting for Sanity

Waiting for Sanity was a Judge's Choice winner at QuiltCon 2017, exhibited at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and the International Quilt Festival Modern Quilt Guild Showcase in 2017, and was featured in an article in Fons and Porter's Modern Patchwork in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue.  I am so happy that it not only is included in the new book, but will also be touring with the Modern Quilts exhibit this year.  You can find the touring calendar here

Read about the beginnings of this quilt here.  It started in a workshop with Gwen Marston.  And here's how it ended up.  Here's the post about getting the Judge's Choice.  Here's the post about the Modern Traditionalism category at QuiltCon.  It is truly amazing to me that this quilt has had such a wonderful year.  This exposure would never have happened without the support and encouragement of the Modern Quilt Guild, so I'm very thankful to be a member.

Quilts, Quilts, Quilts!

On the design wall

On the design wall

My design walls have been filled with color these last few weeks.  I've been sewing up a storm which actually started with some simple garment sewing which I'll get to in a future post.  Today's post is all about the quilts.  This one is straight from the scrap bin and will be donated to my guild's community quilts program.  I separated the colors in the bin so I could get this very hot version.  Cooler ones will also happen when I get some free time.  

baby size community quilt

baby size community quilt

Arches and Tunnels

Arches and Tunnels

In the first picture you got a glimpse of Arches and Tunnels which is an applique quilt that I started about 2 years ago.  I finished the top a month or so ago and took it to a local long-armer for quilting.  I said I needed it to be done in time to enter into QuiltCon and she delivered, finishing it with over a month to spare.  I did a facing and will post photos when I get a chance for the official ones.

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Also on the design wall is the gray and yellow shorebird quilt called Shoreline.  That one needs more gray on the sides so it's going to hang out for a bit.  The one in front is finished and while it's also straight from the scrap bin, the fabrics were a little more curated than the hot pink version above.  By the way, I used up every bit of that red print which is why it's called Every Last Piece.  

Every Last Piece

Every Last Piece

The last one you've gotten some glimpses of is this piece below that I started in the Maria Shell class I took earlier this year. It's been on the design wall ever since and it's time to get it done.  I hope to be able to enter it into QuiltCon, so I better get cracking!

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