I have truly been blessed to attend numerous classes at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. If it were not for the continued employment of my husband the opportunities would never have occurred. Today’s story is about another one of my excursions.
Last summer I participated in the Judy Coates Perez, Paint and Print Palooza. I had a wonderful time learning how to dye, print and silk screen fabric.
Watching the applications go from start to finish was entertaining.
I even designed and cut out my own foam stamp.
I created a minimum of 12 new blocks of fabric. These are two of my favorites.
Rather than point out all of the quilt’s wonderful features I’m going to share them with you through photos. Enjoy!
Eight of my favorite blocks. Click on any photo to watch a slide show of the gallery.
Last but not least, here is the finished art quilt.
I am so pleased with the final version of my art piece. My finished art quilt measures 64 x 47”. Hidden inside this family of blocks are oodles of special features. Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the many details.
Ms. G., my longest running customer, was at it again! Just when I think she is finished making quilts for her family and friends she creates yet another one. Her quilts are always so imaginative, so creative.
The specimen she presented recently was made for a young man with many interests. As you will see from the photos he enjoys zombies, Minecraft, the Greenbay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, among other things. She even added a tie and a hand-made block created by the young man.
Ms. G and I put a lot of thought into the thread colors and stitch patterns. Our plan was to choose colors that would blend well with the fabrics and stitch patterns that would accentuate her artistic design. I think we met both of our goals. The quilt measures 72″x 57″. Take a look.
Well, what do you think?
I’m very happy that you were able to stop by to see Ms. G’s latest masterpiece. Thank you Ms. G. for allowing me to work with another one of your projects.
There is a local fabric store that is celebrating their first anniversary in business. To honor this anniversary they have offered a challenge. The challenge is to create a quilt measuring no larger than 20” x 20”. The deadline to submit entries is March 31, 2018. All projects must include this fabric.
So How Come?
Sound familiar? Sure it does! It is almost identical to the challenge I am running on this blog.
So how did I let myself get involved in another Mystery Challenge? I have frequented this store many times to search out fabrics for my ongoing projects. Their inventory includes many unusual prints which makes them a great resource. I’ve often been able to find just the right item to fit my needs. I also receive their newsletters.
In one of their emails they shared information about their upcoming anniversary as well as the opportunity to participate in their Mystery Challenge. As incentive to encourage participation they are offering cash prizes. The thought of winning cash probably draws people in but there is a small catch…an entrance fee. It’s not incredibly expensive. Just makes the cost of a fat quarter a bit much if one doesn’t follow through with the challenge.
The chance of winning money, surprisingly, is not my reason to join. The fabric wasn’t the draw either because I’m not particularly fond of the print or the colors. Gaining exposure through the judging process is what drew my attention. After tossing the idea around in my head, over and over again, I finally decided to take a leap. So here I am creating another project.
improvisation challenges you to rethink your common practices
Those were only a few of the words Sherri uses to describe improv. She also describes improv in this way:
Commitment on the Edge of the Unknown (page 97)
Where Should I Start?
The best place to start with a book is usually at the beginning. Like most books Sherri’s is divided into chapters, or scores, as she refers to them. I have read Sherri’s book from cover to cover many times. Many of the processes in her book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously are very familiar to me. The scores on curved piecing were the most intriguing though. Having already been exposed to the others I have decided to skip ahead and jump right into the fire. I’m going to begin with the “unknown.”
Score # 9
Using Sherri’s book as my inspiration I am going to follow her “Score # 9” to create my first “curved piece.” This will be a learning experience and a great opportunity to expand my horizons. So, let’s get started.
My first task was to harvest fabrics from my inventory to pair with the assigned fabric. I pulled some pinks, greens, oranges and blues. The focus fabric has hints of lime green incorporated in the pattern. Since lime green is one of my favorites I made sure that color was included.
I used my camera to take both color as well as mono photos of my fabrics to analyze them for their values. My hope was to achieve a well-rounded selection from the start.
Twisted Threads Colors Selection
Twisted Threads Mono Tones
Here’s how my color choices stacked up.
After choosing my fabrics it was time to get the construction process started.
Let’s Cut Fabric
I didn’t exactly follow Sherri’s instructions to a tee. She suggests using a scissors rather than a rotary cutter. I tried doing that but wasn’t fond of how my strips turned out. It is possible that if I had my scissors sharpened I may have been more successful. Not wanting to be bothered with that now I chose to use my rotary cutter. Keeping that sharp is much easier. I also used a ruler. Sherri believes in cutting her fabrics free-hand but once again I wasn’t pleased with that outcome either. Aren’t I a rebel!
I created many sets of wedge strips; here’s one of them.
Below is a larger selection.
Next I stitched groupings of wedge strips together.
Notice all the pins. Sherri uses loads of pins to temporarily hold her wedge strips together. This makes it easier to keep the strips aligned while stitching. Of course each pin is removed just before the needle reaches it. The more pins the better.
This is what a strip looked like after it was stitched but before it was pressed open.
I made multiple sets of wedge strips using different arrangements of fabric. The photo above shows some of them.
Composing A Design
After building my inventory of wedge strips it was time to start composing a design. I placed all of the strip sets on my design wall and played around with different arrangements. As I found groupings that I liked I took them to my sewing machine to stitch them together. Many times the attaching of the strips meant there were sections that needed removing. Those were trimmed using my rotary cutter. The removed strips were saved and added in new areas.
The whole process of pinning, stitching and trimming went on for hours. Each adjustment or addition changed my piece in dramatic ways.
Once I had a design that I was happy with I auditioned various fabrics to use for the background. I even enlisted the help of my hubby to narrow down the options. He had many great insights to share. I guess he’s been listening to me after all! 🙂 With a background chosen I was ready to proceed with the quilting.
I decided to fuse my design to the background fabric. Before doing so I turned under the raw edges 1/4” and pressed them in place. Next I hand stitched the outer edge to my background with a dark purple thread. Once my wedge design was securely fastened I used a variegated yellow thread to quilt it. On the background fabric I echoed around my center design with a matching, variegated purple thread.
After the quilting was complete I trimmed off the excess fabric; remember my piece couldn’t be larger than 20” x 20”. The raw edges were then protected by facings. A label and hanging sleeve were also added. This is how my piece looked when it was finished.
I’m sure you have probably noticed, from the labels on the photos above, that I have given this piece the name Twisted Threads. As I was creating my piece the process of cutting and turning the various groupings every direction brought to mind a vision of twisted threads. Twisted Threads then seemed like the natural choice for a name so that’s where the name came from.
Part of creating art is the evaluation process that comes at the end. On page 20 Sherri says:
Never judge a work as good or bad.
Instead she recommends that you
evaluate your work in a non-judgmental way.
She uses these questions to evaluate her pieces:
What surprised me?
What did I discover or learn?
What was satisfying about the process or outcome?
What was dissatisfying?
If dissatisfied, what can I do differently next time to be more satisfied?
Where do I want to go from here?
I found the process of creating my curved art piece challenging and interesting all at the same time. The steps taken to make the wedged strips was fun to follow. I enjoyed seeing how the different color combinations changed with the addition of new strips. Stitching the curved pieces together was the area that stretched me the most. Merging the concave edges with those that were convex is what tried my patience. This was a much slower process than I was used to but its results were far more rewarding.
If you had asked me right after I had finished my curved piece if I would be making another I probably would have said, “No!” Now that I have had some time to evaluate my experience and think about what I would do differently, my answer would be, “You Bet!”
As I stated earlier, merging the curved edges together into one was the most challenging. To help make the process easier in the future I would strive to create gentler curves. The curves with the more pronounced angles were the hardest to manage. If those were eliminated the experience would be much less stressful.
I also would resist the temptation to use up all of the trimmed-off segments. My piece, as it turned out, has so many different angles merging into one another. Each one of those sections is screaming for attention. If I had added breathing-room via the use of solid colors I believe my piece would have been much more relaxing to look at.
Moving forward I would like to improve my skills for the techniques that I have learned. I’d also like to explore the addition of bias strips as a means of adding negative space. My next attempt at creating a curved piece will most likely be on a larger scale. There will be no need to stay within the 20” x 20” dimensions.
There’s my evaluation. Time now to enter my project in the contest.
I am always so thankful for your visits and the wonderful comments you share. Your participation is very much appreciated!
The Stars and Stripes Table Quilt was assembled from 25 blocks, nine of which are stars. Surrounding the outer perimeter is a narrow red border. Protecting the back is a scrappy, pieced backing created from leftover fabrics. This smashing little specimen is the fifth of five quilts I received from my Mom. The first was Pam’s Nine Patch, the second one was the American Flag Picnic Throw, the third was the Harvest Melody Quilt and the fourth was the French Cottage Garden Quilt.
This was one of the easiest quilts to assemble. My Mom had most of the segments already stitched. My main job was to piece the blocks together to form the quilt top. Having so little to do made this one a breeze to work with. To jazz up the quilt I used leftover fabrics to piece together a scrappy quilt back.
To finish it off I quilted this project using a variety of stitch patterns. In the outside border I stitched a continuous, single row of swirls reaching all the way around the entire perimeter
Within the body of the quilt is a roaming series of geometric shapes.
These shapes help to accentuate and unify the quilt’s design.
I just love the overall appearance and outcome of this table quilt. From the energetic visual impact of the quilt itself to the uniquely created scrappy backing
this quilt shines with interest. As you can tell I just love this quilt.
Well, that’s the last of my Mom’s quilts. I’ve taken the time to show her each one of them. Her reaction was, not surprisingly, one of joy. Unfortunately she doesn’t remember starting all of them but that’s the way it goes. I only hope that I can be as alert and active as she is if I reach that age.
Here’s a collage of all five quilts.
American Flag Picnic Blanket
Harvest Melody Quilt Top
French Cottage Garden Quilt Top
Stars and Stripes Table Quilt
Thank you for sharing your time with me! I always look forward to our visits.
Harvest Melody is another one of the unfinished quilts I inherited from my Mom. When I received the quilt the majority of the pattern pieces had already been cut out and some of the components had been stitched together.
Picking-up where my Mom had left off I finished assembling the remaining pieces to create the quilt top. The pattern was designed to include more than one border. Rather than attaching all of them I decided to only add one. I used left over fabrics to piece it together.
To quilt Harvest Melody I echoed around the leaves. A pattern of continuous square swirls was stitched in the border. For a binding I used a purple fabric. On the back is a fabric with multiple colored squares. Lucky for me I had this fabric in my stash which is always a bonus. Take a look!
Before starting the process of completing this quilt I wasn’t particularly fond of it. The colors in the quilt as well as the pattern are not something I would be drawn to. I am, after all, an improv quilter at heart. However, I must say that my opinion of the quilt morphed dramatically after it was quilted. The designs created by the stitching added a layer of drama that greatly enhanced the quilt’s design. While still not one of my favorites, I am happy with it’s outcome and am honored to have it for my own.