Exploring Minimalist Quilting


I’m at Woodland Ridge in northern Wisconsin. The reason for my visit is a four day study, taught by Pam Beal called Minimalist Design Maximum Impact. I signed up for the class nearly a year ago and have been looking forward to it ever since.

Our trip north would not be complete without an ever-so-slight detour to a fabric store located in Menomonie. The darling little shop is called Thread Lab. While there I just happened to stumble upon these wonderful, absolutely unavoidable fabrics. Who knows how I will use them this week. No matter what they are added to I’m certain the outcome will be wonderful!

Thread Lab Fabric & Other Goodies

I arrived late this afternoon with my traveling companion Barb. After exchanging hugs with familiar faces we unpacked our many belongings and quilting paraphernalia. After settling-in we enjoyed a carry out meal from the local coffee shop and filled the rest of our time relaxing and catching up on our reading.

Our class tomorrow begins at 9:00 a.m. and I can’t wait! If time permits I hope to share photos and updates along the way.

Talk with you soon!

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Regatta Quilt is Finished


Roseanne over at Home Sewn By Us has been hosting a QAL that began on January 1, 2018. The pattern called Regatta was designed by Daniela at Block M Quilts. Instructions for the quilt are provided at the above link. This is how the author’s quilt looked when she was finished.

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I decided to join  the QAL when Roseanne first started talking about it late in 2017. Being the rebel that I am I chose to modify the instructions by changing the dimensions as well as the colors of the fabrics.

Updates on my progress were shared via these two posts:

Regatta Quilt Update

Regatta Quilt Progress.

These were the fabrics I chose.

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Regatta Quilt Fabrics Selected

Now that my quilt is finished I can share photos. My version of the Regatta quilt measures 28 1/2” x 73”. Inside the quilt sandwich is a layer of Warm & Natural batting. The backing is a leftover piece of batik from another quilt. Attached to the back is a sleeve for hanging and a label. I bound the raw edges with a black cotton binding. When deciding how to quilt my item, I looked to the black squares for my inspiration. Seeing them zigzag across the quilt gave me the idea to repeat the squares horizontally by quilting a square swirl across the rows.

Regatta Quilt
Regatta Quilt
Regatta Quilting Closeup
Closeup of Regatta Quilting
Regatta Quilt Slice
A Slice of Regatta

My next photo provides a closeup of the backing as well as the quilting.

Regatta, Backing 1
A View Of The Regatta From The Back

The final photo of my Regatta quilt is one of my favorites because it shows the texture of the quilting. The shadows created by the stitches make the quilting appear three-dimensional.

Regatta, Back 2
Regatta Quilt Texture

My Regatta quilt is now officially DONE! This quilt was a fun and easy project to make. I’m so glad that I decided to participate. The finished quilt will make an awesome addition to my quilt stash.

Thank You so much for visiting today! 😊

Talk with you soon!

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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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Bubbles, AP # 38


Random Order

I’ve been meandering through my inventory of finished, original art pieces choosing and revealing them in random order. I’m normally a very organized, methodical person so this flies against my normal behavior. Perhaps it’s my way of stretching my boundaries.

Let’s get started with today’s reveal.

Another One Is Finished!

Throughout the adventure of creating blocks for my Mystery QAL art piece I created 40 different units.

  • Thirty-two of them found a home in my largest original art piece Neighbors, AP # 37,
  • Six of them make up Disjointed, AP # 36
  • One was used in At An Angle, AP # 34 and the remaining block has been called
  • Bubbles, AP # 38

Let’s Take A Look

Bubbles, AP # 38
Bubbles, AP # 38

Measuring 13 1/4” x 13 3/4” this piece is fairly small in size. I chose to single it out to be used as an individual art piece because I thought it had enough character to stand on its own. The angular lines of the center section contrast nicely with the circular movement in many of the other fabrics.

The center of the wonky log cabin block was a leftover scrap from one of my earlier art pieces. I’m glad that I saved the remnant because it makes a great addition to this one. While you wouldn’t be as familiar with the other fabrics as I am, I can identify many other connections. In a way this tiny original art piece takes me on a trip down memory lane.

Making the original art piece much larger are the surrounding two borders. The first is a shade of magenta and the second is one of the Grunge Basics fabrics named Faded Denim. I’m a big fan of the Grunge fabric line. Their mottled appearance adds so much texture to everything its added to.

The Name

I bet you can figure out why I named this piece Bubbles. That’s right; you guessed it! The circles repeated throughout many of the fabrics were the inspiration for the name. They were the first identifying trait that drew my attention.

The little bubbles brought back memories of the summers I spent with my children. I could visualize them actively blowing soap bubbles through those little plastic wands so many of us are familiar with. I know it’s probably a cheesy name but it’s the first thing that popped into my head and typically that’s usually the name I go with. There is no sense in spending too much time over-thinking it.

The Back Side

Bubbles, AP # 38 Backing
Bubbles, AP # 38 Backing

To wrap this tour up let me share a few final details. This original art piece was quilted with a straight-line motif using a variegated King Tut thread. The edges of my art piece are protected by facings fashioned from the same fabric as the backing. Also attached is a hanging sleeve and a label.

Thank YOU!

We made it through another successful original art piece reveal. I hope that you enjoyed reading the history behind Bubbles! I certainly appreciated your attention and your willingness to stick with me until the end. Thank YOU for sharing in this experience. I look forward to our next visit. 🙂

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.

Mystery-QAL-Day-11-Block-Mishap
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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A QAL Project For Me, Day 10


 

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Anticipation!

I looked forward to returning to my studio today.  My mood was extra perky because the clouds were gone and the sun was brightly shining. I just love it when the light filters through my studio window. The glow of the bright rays and their warmth always makes me smile.

Day 10

My goal for today was to create new building blocks to fill in some of the holes in my design. I also had plans to manipulate the arrangement of my blocks. The process of moving them around obviously won’t stop until I start to stitch them together. The farther I get into my project the harder it is to see big changes.

Parts Department

I have a large volume of scraps stockpiled in baskets and tubs just waiting to be added to an art piece. Sometimes I think I pay more attention to them than I do my neatly stacked and folded fabrics.

View Two-After
Storage Area

Perhaps it’s because the contents in my cubby holes serve two purposes,

inventory and

decoration.

I love to surround myself with bright colors. My home glows with pizazz from my many art pieces and the carefully chosen collectibles. In my studio, my neatly pressed fabrics help to add the punch of color I crave.

A decrease in my inventory would mean a reduction in the colors on display. Of course I could always remedy that with additional trips to the fabric store. But, on the other hand, that would mean I have to spend more money and spending more money is something I hope to curtail. The scraps of fabric, while quite colorful all on their own, don’t provide as much of an artistic impact. Besides cutting into a scrap is much less traumatic that a whole piece of cloth.

Todays Specimens

Mystery-QAL-Day-10-Parts-Department.jpg

On Day 1  I experimented with the construction of angled strips using Cindy Grisdela’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting. From several of the blocks I cut a thin strip and set them aside for future pieces.

Mystery-QAL-Day-10-Block-Harvest
Mystery QAL Day 10 Block Harvest

I used those strips to create the center section for the block in the top left corner. I’m  amazed at how interesting it turned out. The other five blocks were also made with scraps from my baskets.

Color Value

Pictured above are my color and mono tone photos from yesterday. The photos show areas of concentrated dark values. To make my piece more appealing I needed to insert blocks with lighter tones to break up those areas.

Some of the blocks I create are random sizes while others were made with a definite size in mind. All of the units I made today were meant to fill specific areas so their sizes were predetermined. Their color values were pre-planned as well.

These new blocks were made to help breakup yesterdays problem areas. I inserted them into my art piece then took another set of photos.

Here’s how my piece looked after they were incorporated. The addition of the lighter colors helped to break up the overly dark areas.

A Different Plain

Without my saying so, I’m sure you have noticed that my photos were displayed horizontally rather than vertically. I did this because I like to be able to see them on a different plane. This gives me the opportunity to visualize things differently and perhaps notice other problem areas.

My design wall is way too big to turn the other way. It is much easier to rotate a photo than it is to move my board. Besides, if I did try to turn the board I have a hunch many of my units would fall off; creating yet another problem. Then I definitely would see things in a whole new way.

Aside from color value, I also like to analyze the direction of my blocks. Ideally I would have a good mix of both horizontal as well as portrait. My eyes don’t always catch this with a portrait photo. Many times I’m so focused on color and their values that I forget to look at block orientation. The horizontal photo makes me look at things differently and helps me to focus on portrait vs. landscape.

Judging by the photos above I think I have a pretty good mix. There are perhaps a few more that register as landscape but I think I can live with that for now. Especially since I’m not quite finished with my design. This gives me something to keep in the back of my mind, however.

Now What?

So far today I have made six new blocks, reorganized the block arrangement and analyzed my landscape vs. portrait orientation. Left to consider is my color values. Next I will compare yesterday’s photo with today’s.

 

Looking at the two photos I can see that many of the blocks have been moved to new locations. Moving them around and adding in the six new units has drastically improved the appearance. The ratio of lights, mediums and darks has started to even out as well. With a more even blend my eyes move about more freely and that’s exactly what I want to achieve. Woohoo! I think I am on to something. FINALLY! 🙂

Awesome!

This is an awesome place to call it a day! Before I do that let me share two more photos.

This side-by-side comparison provides a look at the end-of-day photos from yesterday and today. I definitely like today’s much better! It looks so much more organized and restful.

Thank You!

You have been such a trooper for allowing me to bend your ear. Thank You! I look forward to our next get-together. I am so excited because we are getting so close to the end.

Talk with you soon!

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A QAL Project For Me, Day 9


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What A Ride!

The sentiments expressed above definitely address my talking-points from last time. All of the building blocks on my design wall were rearranged and designations were made for three new original art pieces.

Day 9

On my list of things to do were two items: ponder my next steps and construct a few more building blocks. While thinking about the arrangement, of the units on my design wall, I busied myself with the creation of four new blocks.

Mystery-QAL-Day-9-Building-Blocks
Mystery QAL Day 9, Building Block Material

To make the process interesting I challenged myself to use up more of my fractured leftovers. Some of the slivers were extremely thin. So thin in fact that I typically would have abandoned them as being too small. However, I’ve gotten past that bias and learned how to adapt my stitching to incorporate them.

I don’t think I would use them if they were destined for a quilt that would receive a lot of use because I’m fairly certain they would not survive. In an original art piece they should be just fine since the item will most likely spend most of its life hanging on a wall. Pictured above is some of the pieces I used to help create those blocks.

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Mystery QAL Day 9, New Units

From my inventory of useable scraps I was able to create these four blocks.

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Mystery QAL Day 9, Design Wall in Color

Check out the photo above to see where they were placed.

In Search of Perfection

After I finished adding the new blocks to my wall I spent the rest of my time moving them around; searching for that perfect arrangement.

If I compare the two above photos I can see the changes to my block organization. With just the addition of the four new units and the moving of one block, my wall took on a totally different appearance. Now I want to compare today’s mono tone photo with the photo from last time.

 

Looks like I still have a lot of work to do. The concentration of the medium and darker tones is still too predominant. This gives me plenty of information to work with next time.

All In Good Time

Developing original art pieces certainly is a long, well-thought-out process. Being careful to take into consideration established design principals the achievement of a well-balanced piece is attainable. I just have to be patient and take it slowly. Being a buzzer-butt often makes if difficult for me. I have a tendency to get anxious about the process; wishing that it would go faster. When that happens I have to remind myself that this is supposed to be an adventure…a journey; not a one day excursion. 🙂

Taking frequent breaks to clear my mind and relax can sometimes help my over-anxiousness to calm down. Of course consuming too much chocolate and caffeinated coffee doesn’t help my cause. They do, however, keep me fueled with plenty of energy. LOL!

Thank You!

I simply can’t sign off today without first taking the time to Thank YOU for your continued interest. I’m grateful for your visits and the opportunities that we have to spend together. My blogging would not be nearly as interesting without your participation! As I say goodbye I’m already anticipating our next encounter.

Make today a good one!

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