The Neighborhood


Finally Finished!

After three months of cutting, pressing and stitching, my last Mystery QAL art piece has finally been completed. The art piece I am about to reveal has been titled Neighbors, AP # 37. I chose this name because the overall appearance reminds me of the diversified neighborhoods often seen within the confines of a city. Contained with a metropolitan community you might find

  • single family dwellings,
  • multi-family units,
  • ranch style homes,
  • bungalows,
  • multi-story and
  • high-rise buildings.

I believe the collage created by the unique blocks sandwiched together in my piece are similar to that of a city. With no two blocks the same, each one has the opportunity to add its own flair to the neighborhood.

It All Started

This art piece began on January 1, 2018. I shared its history via a series of posts; thirteen to be exact. You may find those posts listed under the category Mystery QALNeighbors measures 72” x 34”. This quilt, as with most others, was sandwiched with a layer of Warm & Natural batting along with a backing of a very pretty floral fabric. I purchased the floral print sometime ago from the discount table at a local fabric store. As soon as I saw it I just new it would make a wonderful quilt back someday. I’m so happy I decided to add it to my shopping bag.

The Quilting

To secure the sandwich together I used a variegated King Tut thread. The colors in the thread nicely complimented the fabrics used in my project. My piece is filled with straight and angular lines. Using those lines for inspiration I stitched a geometric quilting motif over the entire surface, with each block receiving individualized attention.

A Surprise

In the bottom right corner I personalized the quilting by adding one of my signature stitching designs. Early on in my longarm quilting career I had fun experimenting with the endless possibilities for quilting stitches. The stitch I grew to like the most was my very own version of a flower. Typically I don’t stitch it on quilts that are quilted with straight or angular lines. In this case I thought it would be fun because after all this art piece was titled Neighborhood and who wouldn’t want to have flowers planted in their neighborhood! To add even more bling I stitched  a handmade bead I purchased from jimenastreasures on Etsy. Parmila lives in Spain and creates the most unusual items. Shown below is a photo of one of my favorites.

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A Bead From Jimenastreasures

To cap off the really cool bead I added a small teal one to the very top. Take a look below.

Neighbors, AP # 37 Flair
Neighbors, AP # 37 Flower Embellishment

The Finishing Touches

Most quilts are finished with a binding surrounding all four edges. I could have done the same with this art piece but I really didn’t want to add another fabric. I also didn’t want the binding to take away from my design; I wanted to leave the edges unobstructed. To secure them I made facings from the same material I used for the backing. I also added a hanging sleeve and of course a label.

Lets Take A Look

I think that pretty much covers everything I have to say about this piece; other than the fact that I am absolutely in love with the final outcome. With nothing more to say let me share photos of the art piece I call Neighbors, AP # 37.

Neighbors, AP #37
Neighbors, AP # 37

The next six photos are of my favorite blocks.

Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 1
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 1
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 2
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 2 This one is my all-time favorite!
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 3
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 3
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 4
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 4
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 5
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 5
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 6
Neighbors, AP # 37 Block 6
Neighbors, AP # 37 Label
Neighbors, AP # 37 Backing and Label

Thats All Folks!

This brings to a close my adventures in the Mystery QAL. I hope that you have enjoyed flowing along and witnessing the process I took to create my many pieces. Don’t forget to check out my Mystery QAL Category for a complete listing of the posts pertaining to this adventure. If you missed seeing the other three pieces here they are.

Munga Tusen Tak!

That’s Norwegian for Many Thanks! My husband is 50% Norwegian. Aspects of his heritage often filter into our daily lives so I thought it would be fun to honor him by sharing a Norwegian phrase. 🙂

Thank you so much for faithfully following this series. Your comments and likes have made it even more enjoyable.

Talk with you soon!

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Disjointed, AP # 36


The Harvest

The process of designing and creating my Mystery QAL piece took many, many days and harvested not one, not two but four new art pieces. They are:

  • At An Angle, AP (Art Piece) # 34
  • Disjointed, AP # 36
  • Neighbors, AP # 37
  • Bubbles, AP # 38

Each one of these original art pieces will receive their own introduction. Being revealed today is Disjointed.

Todays Specimen

This piece resulted from the experiments I did while exploring Cindy Grisdela’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting. On page 47 she introduces her reader to Improv Circles. With her book open on my cutting table I used her easy-to-read directions to create six blocks.

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Day 3 of my Mystery QAL Project

The photo shown above includes all six blocks. I’m quite pleased with how they turned out; especially since it was my first attempt at this technique. Through the experience I learned so much about curved circles as well as color distribution.

Color Combos

When I selected the colors for these blocks I tried to anticipate how well they would work together. Sadly, I wasn’t particularly alert to their color values. After stitching the blocks together I noticed that many of my 1/4 circle blocks had values in the same range. This similarity created muddy or dark areas.

Obviously, if I had it to do over again, I would hope to avoid this situation. Creating art that has a well-rounded distribution of color values seems to be a lesson that I need to work on over and over again. I look at it as a bonus! This means I can make more blocks; which means more sewing; which means more fabric. Yippie!

Does It Have To Be A Circle?

I also discovered, after-the-fact, that I didn’t necessarily have to form circles with the four components. I guess I focused too much on the title of the chapter, Improv Circles, and not the many possibilities for stitching them together. Instead I could have turned them in different directions, creating flowing waves.

If I had paid more attention to the photos in Cindy’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting, especially the one on the first page of the chapter, duh, I would have observed another variation. Just like with the issues I have with color values, making new blocks with flowing waves rather than just circles will give me the chance to create more art! Woohoo!!

Too Special!

Originally the blocks were meant to be included in my Mystery QAL art piece. They hung out with my other building blocks for quite a while. Eventually I thought they were way too special to be hidden amongst all of the linear pieces so I decided to give them their own stage. Thus, another original art piece was born!

Which Way Looks Best?

I had fun arranging and rearranging the blocks to achieve different designs. I used my iPad to take photos of the various options to keep track of my progress. Those photos are what helped me to settle on a placement. The photo below shows my final product.

Disjointed, AP # 36
Disjointed, AP # 36

Did You Notice Anything?

After seeing the photo you probably noticed that each of the blocks were surrounded by a border. I think those borders help to give each block the individual attention it deserves. I’m so glad I decided to add them.

Did you also notice that they are not all the same size? The first grouping of blocks that I made originated from smaller squares of fabric. When I decided to make three more I also made the choice to use larger blocks. I’m so glad I was able to add variety to my piece through the different sizes.

Even though my blocks didn’t turn out as spectacular as I had hoped I am very proud of my first attempt at improv circles. This original art piece will always remind me of my maiden voyage.

Looking Behind

So, would you like to see how the back turned out; here’s a photo.

Disjointed, AP # 36 Back
Disjointed, AP # 36 Backing

The above photo shows a very jazzy backing. This batik is one of the favorite fabrics I have in my inventory. When I saw it in the store I just had to purchase a piece. Thankfully I didn’t just get a fat quarter. Nope, I purchased yardage! I chose this fabric to be the backing for my Disjointed original art piece because I thought it replicated the lively color choices included on the front.

Finishing Touches

From the above photo you will also observe that I chose to use a facing for my piece rather that the typical binding used on quilts. A binding would have been very visible and I didn’t want that to draw my attention away from the blocks. Also added was a hanging sleeve and a label.

Shall we talk about quilting? Yes! Let’s!

When deciding how to quilt my piece I took a step back to take in the over-all appearance. The wiggling lines created by the improv circles gave me the idea to repeat that motion through my quilting. To do so I chose to stitch wavy lines with a coordinating, variegated thread. The quilting, as seen on the front, nicely compliments my design. From the back the quilting is even more striking. The curving lines make me feel like swaying to the beat of music.

The Details

Disjointed, with all it’s awesome traits, measures 26” x 17”. All of the fabrics used were cotton solids taken from my stash. The thread I used was from the King Tut family by Superior Threads.

I will proudly display my new art piece in my home. The lively colors as well as the curvy lines will add a spark of enthusiasm unlike any other.

One More Thing

Before I let you go there is one more thing we need to discuss and that is the naming of my original art piece. I’d like to be able to say that I arrived at it through some magical process or journey but that would be very far from the truth. The process was actually very simple. The improv circles have a disjointed appearance. The disjointed or irregularly shaped lines inspired me to call my piece Disjointed. See, nothing magical. 🙂

Thank YOU!

Signing off before expressing my gratitude for your attention would be criminal. Thank YOU so much for your continued support as well as your many comments. I look forward to the opportunities we have to interact.

Talk with you soon!

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A QAL Project For Me, Day 13


My Luck Day

Some may think of 13 as being an unlucky number but I think Day 13 is my lucky day! On January 1, 2018, I set out on a journey to create one Mystery QAL original art piece. Not only did I smash that goal but I surpassed it by three. Using the Fluffer Nutter You Be You fabric as my starting point I was able to harvest four new original art pieces. The main and largest piece is this one.

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Neighbors, AP # 37

This piece has been named Neighbors, AP # 37. The blocks of this original art piece have been stitched together. Left to achieve is the quilting, binding, etc. When I have finished these tasks I will share an update.

The other three original art pieces haven’t received as much attention. Neighbors was the main topic of the last 12 entries in this journal. Being the largest piece certainly meant it deserved the most focus. The other three projects are far smaller yet just as interesting. Their process of evolution took place much more quietly.

So, on this lucky Day # 13 let me introduce you to it’s neighbors.

My Entry

The first original art piece has been titled At an Angle, AP # 34.

At An Angle, AQ # 34-Ready for Hand Stitching
At an Angle, AP # 34-Ready for Hand Stitching

At An Angle, AQ # 34-Closeup
At An Angle, AP # 34-Closeup

At an Angle is my official entry into the Mystery QAL. A quick focus in the center section, will reveal the required fabric, Fluffer Nutter You Be You.

Next Up

Disjointed, AQ # 36-Ready for Hand Stitching
Disjointed, AP # 36-Ready for Hand Stitching

The next original art piece to be identified is the item above called Disjointed, AP # 36. This one does not meet the requirements for the Mystery QAL because it doesn’t contain the Fluffer Nutter You Be You fabric.

Disjointed, AQ # 36-A Closeup
Disjointed, AQ # 36-Closeup

Last But Not Least

The last of my three smaller pieces is this one.

Bubbles, AQ # 38, Ready for Hand Stitching
Bubbles, AP # 38-Ready for Hand Stitching

Bubbles, AQ # 38, A Closeup
Bubbles, AP # 38-A Closeup

Bubbles, AP # 38, could have very easily qualified for the Mystery QAL because it too has the Fluffer Nutter You Be You fabric. I didn’t want to complicate my entry into the QAL by declaring two projects. While this one carries the chosen fabric, it will remain as an independent item.

All Three

All three of the above original art pieces have had their facings added. Left to complete is the attachment of the hanging sleeve and label, as well as hand stitching. I will share updates for each of them when I have these tasks completed.

Thank You!

Thank YOU so much for faithfully following along on this adventure! I’m grateful for the dedication that you have shown through your continued visits and the sharing of your comments.

Talk with you soon!

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A QAL Project For Me, Day 12


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To paraphrase my thought above…Woohoo! 🙂

If you didn’t or don’t want to read it, let me just say that the efforts of the last 12 days finally produced an original art piece that I was satisfied with. This meant it was time to start piecing my jigsaw together! Although I didn’t share it in my last post, before ending my day I did start strategically stitching blocks together. Not too much progress was made though.

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Mystery-QAL Day 11, Upside-down Blocks

 

Day 12

Before starting today’s activities I took time to evaluate the photos from yesterday. As I let my eyes drift across the stitched-together blocks I discovered an issue. Two of my blocks had been sewn together upside down.

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Mystery QAL Day 12, Block Adjustments

The above photo shows the three blocks that had been stitched to one-another. If I hadn’t found this problems it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. I’m sure, with time, I would have eventually forgotten about the mishap. Since I saw the mistake I just had to fix it.

Mystery-QAL-Day-12-Operation-Assembly

A Jigsaw Puzzle

One-by-one I stitched the remaining blocks together. The experience of  joining the pieces was unlike anything I’ve done before. I didn’t have blocks in straight rows that all had the same measurement. Each block was different in size; just like with a jigsaw puzzle. It would have been nice to be able to start at the top and move across or down a row but that just wasn’t going to work.

Some of the blocks had to be temporarily assembled with partial seams. Once the neighboring blocks were ready to be added with those I could close the seams. A few areas filler strips. I used a solid light blue fabric to fill them in. The light blue fabric makes some of the blocks look like they are floating.

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Mystery QAL Day 12, All Stitched Together

The above photo shows my original art piece all stitched together.

Simply Amazing!

Watching my original art piece come together was so exciting. I had been so accustomed to seeing the blocks as individual units. As they were brought together into one cohesive piece I could hardly contain my approval. To say that I was over-the-moon excited would be putting it mildly!

Assembling my jigsaw puzzle took all day to complete. With this step finally finished it was time to contemplate quilting. That decision was better left for another day.

Thank You!

You have been so faithful at following along on this journey! I’m grateful for the dedication that you have shown through your continued visits and the sharing of your comments. For your continued support I say Thank YOU!

Talk with you soon!

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A QAL Project For Me, Day 11


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It’s so hard to imagine that I have been at this for eleven days! The process has been both invigorating and grueling all at the same time. Analyzing and rethinking my design is the grueling part. By that I don’t mean it’s a negative feeling. No, it is the feeling of mental exhaustion. The hours away from my studio help to replenish my energy and clear my mind. This temporary respite provides the invigoration that I feel when I once again return.

Time to examine today’s accomplishments!

Day 11

While critiquing yesterday’s accomplishments I thought I saw a few areas in my design that needed filling. My goal today was to create a couple more blocks to close in those areas.

To make those blocks I pulled scraps from my baskets. The color schemes chosen were selected to compliment the designated areas. The photos above show some of the items I chose as well as progress that I made.

When deciding on the colors and patterns that I will use, I try to make certain I repeat them at least three times throughout my piece. This technique helps to spread the visual impact of the fabric to multiple areas.

My Goal

The four principals of

  • color,
  • pattern (circles, lines, flowers, etc.),
  • value (light, medium and dark) and
  • orientation (landscape vs. portrait),

when in balance, are what make a

  • well-rounded,
  • eye-pleasing

composition. Meeting those four goals was my plan at the start of this original art piece. I  hope that I can say that I achieved that goal when I finish this piece.

Another Look

My post today would’t be complete without the daily analysis process. Time to pull those photos together to take a look.

 

Above is my color photo analysis. A careful examination of the two days I believe shows the achievement of three things

  1. the successful addition of new blocks
  2. a more interesting display of color, and
  3. a good mix of landscape and portrait blocks.

Next I want to assess my color values.

 

I think things are looking pretty good and it’s safe to say that there’s not much that I would change.

Thank You!

This brings to a close another day in this adventure. I believe it is safe to say that the end is just around the corner. Thank YOU so much for putting up with my ramblings! You know that I don’t say that just to see my words in print. I really do look forward to and appreciate your visits. I know your time is just as valuable as mine and I am honored that you have chosen to share it with me.

Talk with you again soon!

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