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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Road to California Quilt Show

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It’s always a thrill when a quilt comes back from a show with a ribbon. This time I did know about it ahead of time because a friend sent me a picture from the show, but otherwise it would have been a complete surprise. Rhythm of the Rails has had quite a time at the shows since last year. It’s been to QuiltCon Pasadena, AQS Fall Paducah, Pacific International Quilt Festival and now Road to California. It’s won a Judge’s Choice and an Honorable Mention. I may send it on to one or two other shows because there’s still time, but for now I’m very pleased! This is the first time I’ve entered R2CA and I have never been to the show, but I hear it’s a really nice one. I have had to cut down on my quilting travel a bit so I won’t be at QuiltCon in Nashville either, but I do have a quilt heading there: 70s Child. We’ll see how it does. In the meantime this quilt has pride of place right by the front door and I even hung the ribbon with it, just for a little while.

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The Creativity Project

Have you heard of The Creativity Project by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios?  Kim is doing a year long series of weekly conversations with quilters.  There are so many wonderful quilters in this series and we are only half way through the year.  Last month I was honored to be asked to be included and thrilled to be in such great company!  My interview published today and I hope you'll check it out.

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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