I’ve been working diligently at creating each of the blocks in the book 100 Modern Quilt Blocks by Tula Pink. I am happy to report that I’ve completed the first 75. I think the last time I talked about them I had just completed block number seven so a lot has happened since.
Time For A Break
After completing block 74 I made the decision to stray, for a while, from my mission to make all 100. The last grouping of blocks I had just completed was slightly more complicated than all the rest. After accomplishing those my brain needed a rest. I was exhausted and needed something else to throw my quilting enthusiasm into.
I maintain a box of orphaned quilt blocks and misfit pieces. Every now and then I pull it out and peer inside to see if anything is calling my name. My recent scrounging reminded me that I still had remnants left from the Courthouse Steps debacle waiting for my attention. I’ve shared stories about these blocks in the past. You will find them listed under the category Courthouse Steps, Block of the Month. Feeling the strong desire to wrap up a few loose ends I chose the remaining remnants for my next project.
Ugly because I didn’t like them. They were just too boring for my taste. To make them appealing I had to camouflage their existence. The best way to do that was with a rotary cutter.
Time to Start
One by one I attacked all 6 ugly ducklings with a determination to turn each one into a beautiful swan. The end result created 16 brand new art pieces. All 16 have been quilted and are ready for finishing touches (binding, hanging sleeve and label). I’ll share photos when they are all finished. Until then I will leave you with a a photo of one of my experiments.
Thank You for sharing in my celebration of my newest art pieces! I hope that you will return to watch all 16 unfold.
Can you believe I am already on my fifth installment of sixteen quilt finishes! You are probably thinking, “Hurry up and get this thing over with.” Sometimes I get so excited about sharing my progress that I forget how boring it might seem to you. I know this is taking a long time and for that I apologize. 🙂 If you can bear with me I promise to not turn this into a novel. Okay!
Being showcased today is AQ # 21: Backwards.
I took a nine day solo retreat this past summer. Many, many projects found new life during my time away. One of them was the origin of this mini art quilt.
I have been on a very long quest to re-purpose a grouping of blocks I received during a block swap. The only one I liked was my own. Of course that’s no surprise. It would be pretty sad if I didn’t.
I didn’t document the process of cutting the blocks apart nor how they were stitched back together so I have no way of knowing exactly how this piece evolved. LOL! I can, however, share the journey it took on my retreat.
The transformation of Backwards was a rocky one. I don’t usually want to admit defeat but this stubborn critter darn near pushed me over the edge.
This was how it looked after one of my marathon efforts to make it behave.
If you look closely you can kind of see the remnants of the original swap piece straddling the center teal strips.
Slice it Apart
Being totally frustrated with its appearance I followed the mantra I learned while taking one of Rayna Gillman‘s classes. She told us that there is almost no block that couldn’t be rescued. Sure, that’s what they all say! If we weren’t happy with a block we were told to slice the block apart with our rotary cutter. Using those segments as new building material, we could then begin the process all over again. It gave us a clean slate. Sad to say but that’s what I had to do with this.
I definitely had a clean slate. I tried numerous times to turn my shredded block into something I could live with. First I added some red fabric.
Then I tried lime green. Lime green is one of my favorite colors so how could I go wrong. Right? It was also already present in some of the other fabrics. To achieve a well-balanced piece its important to distribute a color in multiple areas.
I certainly accomplished that. But the green seemed to be screaming, “Look at me, look at me!” Argh! So now what? Well, I figured I needed to tone-down the screaming child and what better way to do that than by adding black.
The black made somewhat of an improvement but it still wasn’t what I was looking for. For whatever reason I decided to flip the piece over to see what it looked like on the other side. The colors were definitely more subdued and the texture created by the multiple layers gave the piece an organic or earthy feeing. Hmmmmm? What if?
What if I designated the back as my new right side, or top? I enlisted the assistance of my camera and phone to take photos. I flipped back and forth between the two sets trying to decide which version was more appealing. Eventually the back side was the option I chose. Finally I had an art piece that I could fall in love with!
Let’s Finish It
I surrounded the outside edges with a frame of black cotton. Then, just like with my other art quilts I also added a layer of batting, black so that it wouldn’t show through, and a layer of black cotton fabric for the backing.
The quilting on this one was slightly different from my other projects. If you recall, the center had exposed raw edges. I wanted to prevent some of them from unraveling so I added a row of stitching. In the outside black border I did straight line quilting with my Pfaff sewing machine. This is how Backwards looked when it was finished.
The End Result
AQ # 21: Backwards measures 19 1/4″ long and is 11 1/2″ wide. While it is a bit unconventional I think this art project turned our rather nicely. Naming this piece was super easy. I think it’s pretty obvious why I chose to call it Backwards. No further explanation need there.
Just Getting Started
While the journey of AQ # 21: Backwards has come to an end my series has not. I only have eleven more to go. Yippie! I hope you will return for all eleven. For those that missed the first four installments I have included links to them below.
Here we go with another post in my series revealing 16 of my recently completed quilts. I had a wonderful time creating each and every one. The experience was invigorating yet challenging. Invigorating because it fed my overwhelming craving to sew everyday and challenging because it demands all my attention and drains my energy. But no worries! Somehow I managed to find balance.
Debuting today is Art Quilt (AQ) # 20: Rising Star.
This lovely little gem is a reincarnation of another ugly block. Look closely at the photo below and you can see the resemblance.
I find it hard to admit defeat. Once I’ve hacked into a block and started the process of re-invention I simply can’t quit until I am satisfied.
This block needed very little manipulation. After a few passes with my rotary cutter, the addition of a few strips of fabric and two new borders I declared it d.o.n.e! All of the fabrics utilized in this mini quilt are 100% cotton.
To finalize my art project I created a sandwich by adding a layer of Warm & Natural batting along with a piece of white cotton fabric. All three layers were quilted together with my Pfaff sewing machine. A straight line stitch pattern was used. Once the edges of the quilt were trimmed to remove the excess fabric I finished off the raw edges with a facing. This little quilt, after being completed, measures 15 1/2″ tall and 12″ wide.
Origin of Name
Every quilt, no matter what size it is, needs a name. Choosing what to call your art piece can involve a long drawn out thought process. I’m usually able to make a decision quite quickly. For this quilt all I had to do was look at the added strips of star fabric. The stars appeared to be rising so why not call it “Rising Star.”
This brings to a close my fourth entry of sixteen. I am now one quarter of the way into my series. With twelve more to go I best keeping writing.
Thank you so much for following along! I appreciate the fact that you took time out of your very busy day to share a few moments with me. If you missed the other three postings you can catch up by following these links.