Saturday, December 19, 2015

Quilt It Wright - Part V The Finished Quilt

Quilt It Wright 

My improv quilt process inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright

Part I HERE Inspiration
Part II HERE Piecing the top
Part III HERE Quilting
Part IV HERE Faced Binding

50" x 60"
The top is all Oakshott cottons
Batting is two layers of Hobbs black wool / poly blend
Quilting threads are Aurifil
2610 Light Blue Grey 28wt
2715 Robins Egg 28 wt
4140 Wedgewood Blue 40 wt
2784 Dark Navy 40 wt
Bobbin thread Aurifil 2600 Dove 50 wt

Why did I add the green in the middle?  
Well, one reason is that I've learned it's good to have a place in your quilt for the eyes to stop and focus, something not overwhelming, but a small pop.  
I may have intended in the beginning to add more greens to the whole piece. 
Or maybe I had no reason, except that the color was blended in with the blues and I liked it.

My helper

What I noticed about Fallingwater is the sweep of the eye.  You look up and center, with the chimneys, then your eyes sweep right, down and left.  

I attempted to do the same with the movement in the quilt
Center up, right, down, left

I loved putting together this quilt, I had the idea in mind for many months before I could start, and once I did start not everything went according to my plan.  The beauty of inspiration and improv is that you can change your plans along the way and make something even more beautiful than what you originally imagined.

Thank you for following along on my process of bringing to life 
Quilt It Wright

Friday, December 18, 2015

Quilt It Wright - Part IV Faced Binding

Documenting the process of Quilt It Wright
My improv inspiration quilt

Part IV The Binding and searching for a name

Part I HERE Inspiration
Part II HERE Piecing
Part III HERE Quilting

My inspiration Fallingwater and the architect Frank Lloyd Wright

I finished squaring ( you can find tutorials and videos on line on squaring your quilt, try different methods and use what works for you and your quilt).  While I was quilting I decided I would like to try faced binding on this quilt.  Faced binding folds to the back of the quilt, so you don't see the binding, there won't be a frame on the edges, the quilt will just end.
Faced binding is single layer binding, so it more appropriate for a quilt that will hang rather than one that will be used and washed often.

I googled, read tutorials, watched you tube videos, I chose elements from a few different tutorials to make my own hybrid process.
Cut the binding fabric 2 1/4" single layer
Side bindings cut 1 1/2" shorter than the length of quilt
Bottom & Top Binding cut 2" longer than width of quilt

Press 1/4" fold on the side of the binding that will not be attached to the front of the quilt (this will be your stitch edge for the back of the quilt) Don't worry if it doesn't stay pressed over, the fold was made so you have a good seam line to press again later after the binding is attached.

Attach side bindings to front of quilt, RST, 1/4" seam allowance first
Press binding toward outside of quilt and add 1/8" top stitch on the top of the quilt
I cut away approximately 1" square of batting in the corners, leaving the top and bottom fabric in place, to reduce bulk in the corners

Attach the top and bottom binding pieces in the same manner, pressing toward the outside and adding a top stitch.
Next fold over the binding all the way to the back of the quilt and press.
You should have a nice crisp edge

I used Clover Clips to hold the binding in place and keep the edges from wanting to fold back to the front

You can re -press your 1/4" seam on the edge of the binding that is not attached to the quilt at this point so you have a crisp line for hand stitching.
Pin in place to hand sew down along the back of the quilt.  People who know me know I am not a fan of hand sewing (I machine stitch my regular binding on quilts), I have issues with pain in my hands and hand sewing is a contributor.  For faced binding there was no way to get around the hand sewing.  I took my time and did sections with breaks in between.

I had some trouble with the corners, not sure exactly how to get the folded edges to look nice.  Next time I'll spend more time in this area and real through more tips
You can't have enough clips in my opinion

Finished - no binding showing on the front of the quilt and a crisp edge for hanging.
I think this was the perfect finish for this particular quilt.

While I was quilting I worked on the name for this quilt.  I wanted to incorporate something of Frank Lloyd Wright in the name.  Most of the time the quilt name will come to me while quilting, there is a lot of time to think while you are quilting.  I was not having an easy time with the right name for this quilt - it evolved.
Quilt Wright was one
Wright Quilting was another
Neither was the perfect name and I think I was completely finished and had been calling it Quilt Wright in a couple of posts and emails, because I just couldn't come up with anything else.
One day it struck me that the name should be
Quilt It Wright
and that is the one that stuck and was perfect (to me)

Next - full photos of the finished quilt
Part V HERE The Finished Quilt

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Quilt It Wright - Part III The Quilting Part

Quilt It Wright
Part III - The Quilting Part
My improv quilt inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright

I still pin baste - although a lot of quilters now spray baste, for quilts I'm a pinner.  I've had some shifting happen with spray and anytime I'm quilting a quilt that I think I may enter in a show I feel more confident with pinning.  Pins are reusable and spray isn't. (I also don't like to think of spray on my carpet or floor).  I do use spray on some minis, so I'm not totally against the spray.

I used two layers of black Hobbs batting on this quilt.  I went with the darker batting as the top was mostly gray.  This is only the second time I've used the dark batting and it worked well in this quilt.  

My chosen quilting threads, the green spools are 40 wt Aurifil and the gray spools are 28 wt Aurifil.  I like the 28 wt, its denser and I think the quilting pops more with the heavier wt.  I don't have ALL the colors yet in 28 wt, so I had to use some 40 wt I had on hand.

I went with the matchstick style quilting, but I did not go as close as I sometimes do - this one I kept the quilting lines about 1/4" apart vs I sometimes have 1/8" apart.  With the double layer of batting I couldn't go as close, and I thought the quilting looked fine 1/4" apart.  I added vertical quilting as well as horizontal.

Getting to the edge of the quilt requires a quilt scarf to be made.
At this point the quilt was super heavy and I couldn't hold on to it, so I rolled it and threw it over my shoulder

I would stop some of the quilting lines and cut the threads, then just going back to the edge of the quilt without having to give it a 180. Or I would spend some time turning the quilt when I would get to the end of a line.  Turning was definitely more difficult and I would get frustrated.  I preferred to turn not wanting to cut all the little left over threads afterwards, but I also couldn't man handle the quilt but so much before wanting to discard the whole idea of quilting two different directions.  It was worth it in the end, as I knew it would be - just very trying while it was happening. 

Next up - squaring.  I did some cutting and got the quilt close to square, I just had to pull at a few areas.  Squaring is new to me, I used to just square off the corners with a ruler and a rotary.  After one show when I had a comment about the quilt not laying flat, I started to be more careful and work on this aspect.  You are always learning something new in quilting.  There is always another step.
(white towels are under the quilt to soak up the water)

Next time - I try faced binding and my struggle with the name

Part IV HERE Faced Binding

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Quilt It Wright - Part II

Quilt It Wright - Part II
Piecing the quilt top
(part I here )
My improv quilt process inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and his architecture masterpiece Fallingwater

Improv piecing for me is a process of building and assessing.  I add, step back, and ask myself - is this where I want this to go?  Is it enough?  Too much?  From the beginning of this project I wasn't afraid to add or subtract or go in a new direction.

I started with 7 squares and rectangles that would make up my focal pieces.  I chose a gradation of blues and pieced a section of background around each one.

I built around each block with some of the colors that I discarded as background (see previous post ) but still wanted to use in the quilt. After adding a piece to the block I would put the block back up on the design wall to get an idea of how my quilt was growing and if I wanted to add more to the section, where should I add each piece.  It was a long process, but necessary to see each new addition up on the wall with all the pieces as a whole.

After adding background I began to feel that the whole piece was too busy and going in the wrong direction.  I made a few changes at this point, that I know were the right decision.  This is how an improv piece can grow and change as you work with your fabrics and colors.
(before changes)


I eliminated two of the blocks, bringing the total blocks down to 5 and I shifted the top most block to the right side instead of the left.  I am much happier with this layout over the first one.  

I added vertical pieces to the top, to reflect the tall vertical chimneys of Fallingwater.
I also incorporated white horizontal strips, I kept seeing the white balconies of the structure and wanted to see these in the quilt

Above is the top all pieced together 

The last step is to add the tumbling blocks.  I made these from all the different blues of Oakshott I had available.  I added a very lightweight fusible to the back and fused the shapes to the squares.  Early on I had decided to add the fused pieces after I had the top together.  While it would have been easier to add them in the beginning, with so much handling of each block I realized that the lightly fused pieces would be falling off as I built up the quilt top.  

Next up - Quilting!
Thank you for following along on my process

Part I Inspiration HERE
Part III Quilting HERE
Part IV Faced Binding HERE
Part V The Finished Quilt HERE 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Quilt It Wright - Part I

I am going to fill you in on what I've been making in the last few months.  It was a whirlwind of sewing.  I finished a couple of quilts for Quilt Market back in October - which I will show in another post.  This post is about an improv quilt that I had been thinking about from the beginning of the year and finally worked on in September and October.

Part I - Inspiration, Beginning an Improv Quilt

I was inspired by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, specifically his unique masterpiece Fallingwater 

Mr. Wright had several principles of design he followed:

Open Space
Geometric Shapes
Horizontal Lines

You find all of those elements in Fallingwater - and also in Modern Quilting.  Improv quilting isn't quite the same as Modern quilting - improvisational piecing is a process, it isn't willy nilly, it's bringing together pieces in a unique way that is pleasing in design, maybe following a vision or inspiration you have.  Other quilters might say that improv piecing IS willy nilly, just grabbing and sewing together.  That's not how I would define improv, but to each quilter his own ideas and descriptions.  

For my piece I was first taken by Fallingwater, and then I did some research on FLW - after some research, I put the photos and the readings away and I pulled fabrics.  I didn't want to follow an exact replica of Fallingwater - this is an inspiration piece.  

I used one of my favorite lines for this quilt - Oakshott solids

Although the photos of Fallingwater are not blue - I settled on blues for my color palette.  Blue is not my usual go to color way, but I had it in my mind that blues were what I wanted, so that is where I went.  

And naturally I first picked a color for the background majority of the quilt (the one on the far right) that I only had a FQ of and after searching the internet and a consultation call with Michael Oakshott, realized that the FQ I had was all there was going to be - I had to move on to a different idea for the background. 

Settling on a  new background idea, then sewing together yardage of Oakshott. 
That I hated the moment it went together.
Well hated for this project, I saw potential for another project, and that's how we quilters jump from one thing to another.  

I had to now rework the ideas I had with the fabrics I had available. It wasn't my first option, but I think that you'll agree with what I came out with in the end turned out for the best. I put together rectangles and squares of Oakshott, a gradation of color from dark to light.  

Next: After putting them all on my design wall, I started the process of piecing around each focal piece.

Part II here Piecing
Part III here Quilting
Part IV here Faced Binding
Part V here The Finished Quilt

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Game of Quilts

I signed up to participate in a fun quilt challenge sponsored by Bad Ass Quilters Society. There were two color ways to chose from and I chose Blood, Bone, Steel & Fire, these were the only fabrics we could use in our mini quilt.

Sorry this is on its side!  These are the fabrics.

The theme (in case you haven't figured) was Game of Thrones. I wanted to focus on the Starks of Winterfell and their Sigil or shield, the grey Dire Wolf.

The Starks have not had a good run, so one of the themes for my mini quilt is the horrific turn in the scene called
 'The Red Wedding' 

The Dire Wolf and blood are lightly fused, the flying geese are pieced and I traced the quote (by Jon Snow, the bastard Stark) with a light box and I will fill in the letters with quilting. 

Under the quote and the Sigil is an extra layer of batting to add dimension. I quilted around the Sigil and blood before trimming the batting around the dire wolf head. 

This could be the beginning of a mini quilt wall of all the Game of Thrones families. 

'Starks of Winterfell'
18"x 18" mini quilt
Aurifil thread for quilting, a bit of metallic thread thrown in

**Edited - I feel I should explain for avid Game of Thrones fans, I realize the quote I have used is from the Nights Watch, not the Stark family.  However, Jon Snow is a Stark (although a bastard member) and a member of the Nights Watch.  This is an interpretation of the Starks, there is no blood on the Sigil of the Stark family, and their motto is "Winter is Coming".  I imagined Jon Snow's feelings finding out that his family had been brutally murdered, and unable to avenge them due to his duty to the Watch.  I wanted to include Jon in my interpretation of the family.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Matchstick Quilting

Recently I was asked if matchstick quilting is the only type of quilting I will do.  And the answer to that is no and yes.  I have used matchstick quilting almost exclusively for the last year.  I like the way it looks, I like the technique, I like that it adds to the design of the quilt, I like the way the quilting thread show on top of the quilt.    

Do I like other styles of quilting?  Of course, sometimes I am in awe of what a quilter has added to a quilt.  Their designs, the time they took, the passion they have for their craft.  I can free motion quilt, and I would say my skill at that is average.  If I used that technique a lot more frequently I would be better at it.  

What I think about (semi) straight line quilting is that it is a style that is suited for the modern quilts that I make.  The only style? Absolutely not.  Matchstick quilting is tedious, it is time consuming, and takes diligence.  If you want to try it out, start on a small project so you can see how you like the technique.

I start with finding a straight edge on the quilt top, preferably a seam that goes all the way across the quilt.  I make a straight line of quilting along that seam, the next quilting line I line up with the edge of my walking foot.  I do this for 6" or so, and then fill in the lines with more quilting.  I don't worry about being straight at this point, a little wiggle looks organic and not industrial.  But both ways are fine, it is your preference.  My matchstick quilting lines are about 1/8" apart, as you can see on the above mini though, it depends on the piece.  The quilt below, which was accepted into International Quilt Show Houston, Modern Exhibit, was matchstick quilted with two different color threads, the centers of the orbs are quilted in a circular pattern.  

I will sometimes use different color threads and different weight threads in the same quilt.  I quilt on my home machine, a Bernina 750.  Some people chose to send their quilts out to be quilted, I think I have sent out one, ever.  But if I did send them out, I would have a lot less quilt tops and maybe a few more finished quilts.  There are also sit down long arms that I have had an eye on, but for now I have my home machine and it suits me just fine.  

A long time ago I quilted with monofilament only.  I thought that was the way to go.  So I realize that quilting this style will probably not last forever, but for the moment it is my preferred method and I love it.  The quilts I've washed with this quilting are soft and supple, drape lovely.  I'm not sure I would use this method on a quilt that would just be a couch quilt or a baby quilt, I may want quilting that is less dense.  Styles change, color preferences change (although mine has remained the same for my personal taste), methods change

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Project with my Guild

A few months ago the members of the Virginia Beach Modern Quilt Guild were challenged to make a block using Alsion Glass Spent as a focal fabric. 

We each were to make 12 blocks and then exchange them with the members in our group (12 per group) so you end up with 12 different blocks that all have the focal fabric. 

For my block I wanted to add flying geese

The blocks from my group, all so different.  Amazing to see how each person used the focal fabric

I can't reveal my quilt yet, they will all be shown at our next meeting on Aug 15, but here's a little sneak peek