Minimalist Design


What is it?

Any design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.

Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston

Early in June I took a class taught by Pam Beal. The class title was

Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact.

I’ve been experimenting with fabric for decades.

My path began with structured piecing using quilt patterns and rigid measurements. From there I turned to impromptu piecing.

My first introduction to minimalist design was through a book written by Rayna Gillman and reinforced by a class of hers.

Pam says she is

an improvisational quilter from the Liberated School of Design.

I enjoyed listening to and learning from Pam. Here’s one of her wonderful quilts.

Lilly Pad A LA Mode
Lily Pad A LA Mode, 24” x 38 1/2”, 2013. Designed, made and hand quilted in a floor frame by Pam J. Beal, Mass City, Michigan.

While at the class I created a number of small art pieces. Some of them used colors and combinations that were out of my comfort zone.

The mini projects, numbering at least 16, are anxious to meet you.

Be watching for their debut.

Blessings to you!

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The Mystery is Over


https://inastitchquilting.com/category/32-projects/

Now that the end of our second Mystery QAL is just around the bend I decided it was time to share my own project. Over the last three months I have been busy designing, and creating my masterpiece. This wonderful little art quilt originated while exploring the Five-Sided Made-Fabric technique taught by Victoria Findlay Wolfe in her book 15 Minutes of Play.

Late in 2017 I challenged myself to create each of the 32 projects listed in the book. Although my progress has been slow, I have enjoyed and learned a lot from each of the sections.

Creating my own fabric from scraps is a technique I have used many times. I have not, however, tried Victoria’s version. On pages 40-41 she provides directions for a Five-Sided Made-Fabric. As the name suggests, each of the blocks begins with a five-sided center.

Using the QAL designated fabric,

English Tea
Collection: English Tea Pattern: Tea Flowers Color: Tomato Item #: 91329 Vendor: Connecting Threads

along with scraps from my overflowing bins, I fashioned together nine blocks. All nine were then combined to create an art piece I have called Five-Sided Center. Art Piece # 45 measures 23 1/4” x 23 1/4”.

My new art piece was sandwiched with a layer of Warm & Natural batting and a cotton fabric backing. I quilted my piece on my conventional sewing machine using a variegated thread and a geometric straight-line pattern. The raw edges of Five Sided Center are protected by a facing. A hanging sleeve and label were added to the back.

This is my Mystery QAL art piece.

Five Sided Center, AP # 45
Five-Sided Center, AP # 45

Thank you so much for visiting today! I hope that you have enjoyed reading about and seeing my latest art piece.

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Combined Activities

https://inastitchquilting.com/category/32-projects/

A Personal Goal

Back in December of 2017 I challenged myself to travel through Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s15 Minutes of Play. In her book I found 32 different projects that I wanted to attempt. With five months of 2018 almost gone I’ve made barely a dent in my challenge.

So far I have used two of her techniques to “make” fabric

  1. Free-Pieced Made-Fabric Page 30-32 and
  2. Paper-Piced Made-Fabric Page 36 (see photo below)

Bits and Pieces-Day Six Paper Pieced Block
Bits and Pieces-Day Six Paper Pieced Block

I also skipped ahead and created a Sawtooth Star block (see page 49). This mini art piece was entered into the Project Quilting Season 9, Challenge 9.1 competition. Even though my entry did not win a prize I had a great time making it. I also really enjoy having it on display in my home.

PQ-Season-9-Challenge-9.1-Flower Garden
PQ-Season 9, Challenge 9.1 Flower Garden

My New Project

Time to pick up where I left off. Once again I’ve combined two projects into one.

  1. My Mystery QAL entry and
  2. Learning how to make Five-Sided Made-Fabric following Victoria’s instructions on pages 40-41.

One of the fabrics I used was the current Mystery QAL fabric chosen by my co-host Tracy from It’s a T-Sweets Day.

Mystery QAL 2
Mystery QAL Hosted by Cindy of https://inastitchquilting.com and Tracy of https://itsatsweetsday.blog

Making the Blocks

Making the blocks, with the five-sided center, was really very simple. I had a stack of pre-cut red fabrics leftover from a previous project. To turn them into 5-sided blocks all I had to do was trim off a few corners. I trimmed each one differently to make sure no two blocks were the same.

The remaining pieces, for each block, were taken from my over-flowing stash of fabric scraps (one of these days I’m going to get them organized). I tried not to complicate my choices by applying a bunch of design rules; all I wanted to do was have fun.

So Much Latitude

Other than the required 5-sided center and the occasional addition of the Mystery QAL fabric, no other rules applied. I even got to choose the finished block size and the number of blocks to make. For this small quilt I decided to make 9 blocks measuring 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″.

This is how my Mystery QAL #2 project looks now.

Five-Sided Center, AP # 45
Five-Sided Center, AP # 45

The Finishing Touches

I’ve already chosen the fabric that will be added to the back and have my batting all ready to go. The three pieces will be sandwiched together and quilted. As of right now I haven’t decided what stitch pattern I will use. I need to get busy and finish this up because the 2nd Mystery QAL ends on June 30, 2018.

Making Progress

Now that I have attempted four of the thirty-two projects, in 15 Minutes of Play, I only have twenty-eight to go. Woohoo! I’m on a roll now!

Thank You so much for sharing your time with me today! I always look forward to these visits.

Talk with You soon! : )

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Off to the Races?


Well, not actually! We’ve loaded our truck with supplies for our LCITW (little cabin in the woods) and are headed north to awaken our summer getaway from it’s winter slumber.

2018-Season-Opening
2018 Season Opening at our LCITW

Before hitting the road we made a pit-stop at our local library to retrieve a book I had on hold. The book, Fabric Embellishing The Basics & Beyond by Ruth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas and Lauren Vlcek, was one I had learned about on IG.

Fabric-Embellishing
Fabric Embellishing

Rather than buy the book right away I decided I should follow the example of Tierney from Tierney Creates  and browse a borrowed copy. Often times my spur of the moment book purchases end up being a disappointment.

As we pulled into the parking lot of the library I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten my most important personal item, my purse. Needless to say a trip back home was in order. To complicate things my library card was inside the purse! Thankfully my husband had his card so he could use it to retrieve the book. Of course that meant he would have to endure the berating of the librarian for not having mine. He usually makes up a pretty good sob story to persuade them to go outside their policy and allow him to check my items out.

After returning with my book we went back home to get my purse. The short distance between my home and the library afforded me ample time to browse the book and conclude that it would be a worthwhile purchase.

Before leaving town I located an online resource to acquire a “very good” used copy. The book should arrive in a week or so. In the meantime I can read my borrowed copy. When I decide to begin experimenting I will share tales of my adventures. Now, back to my reading and the bouncy ride provided by our oversized, diesel truck.

Thank You for visiting. I look forward to our next encounter.

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.

Mystery-QAL-Day-Three-Design-Wall
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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