Author Archives: mlwilkie

About mlwilkie

Software Developer, Mother, Wife with keen interest in art, design and crafts of all kinds.

Color Play Study {Quilt Journey Part I}

Instead of just posting about my finishes, I thought I would go into more detail on a few quilts. This first post I have touched on before but wanted to talk more about the steps, techniques and process of building these quilts from design to binding.

I am starting with a color play study I did, that was inspired by Stanley Whitney’s work.  As Josef Albers explores color with his work Interaction of color, I love how Stanley Whitney does the same (at least for me) in the placement of the colors in the grid.  Here are a couple of examples of Stanley Whitney’s work:

If you like these pieces, check out this book, Stanley Whitney: In the Color.

There are three pieces in which I explored color and placement. For all, I started with:

  • A large design wall that provided space to organize layout and editing.
  • A pile of larger scraps that were smaller than a fat quarter, and some sorted smaller scraps, sorted by color.
  • I knew that these would be improvisation based quilts; exploring maximalism with color but minimalism in design.

The first quilt, Whitney, I started with a similar grid layout like Stanley Whitney’s pieces. I keep with bright colors but was limited based on the scraps I had in my stash. I did not want to purchase additional fabric.

As I ordered the larger scraps I found common color groupings – Reds/pinks, Greens, yellows and blues. I laid these scraps vertically in the color groups thinking I would add horizontal strips between the rows. Where I did not have enough large scraps I used smaller scraps to create the square (see red and green rows). This is what the initial layout looked like.

IMG_5136

I edited the arrangement and made some decisions:

  • I wanted to have yellow’s, vertically all the way down. Yellow had the smallest variation in color so I feel it draws the eye down between rows.
  • As I sewed up each row, I added “filler” pieces to try and make sure each row was approximately the same size.
  • The stripes between the rows, I wanted to keep within the color choices I made in the columns, so I chose blue, reds and yellow (the primary colors). The colors were ~2″ strips I had in stash.
  • I added stripes to add interest and a place for visual rest.
  • Many of the larger scraps had corners missing so additional pieces were added, or strips were trimmed off, and one I added a triangle which I thought would be great using a green from the adjacent color area.
  • The lighter blue piece added in the blue row separator was not planned. The strip was too short and it was a slice and insert. It was a great coincidence that it lined up the way it did.

IMG_5139

Stanley is the second study I did. I wanted to explore, this time the lack of bright colors with a mostly neutral color palette. Some design decisions for this quilt:

  • I played with different fabric types in this quilt with quilting cotton, linen, denim and feed sacks.
  • I wanted the quilt to move from dark (left) to light (right) – black, grey, whites/creams.
  • Yellow was used as a row separator in this quilt.
  • To draw the eye down the quilt, this time I used the thin blue denim vertical stripe. Its separated with the yellow but I decided not to separate it between second and third rows.
  • The red was prompted from the red in the feed sack. I was hoping that it would make the feed sacks pop a little.
  • The red print was added last as the row separator between black and grey. I decided I liked having the red print also down the side of the third row. I like the jump it forces you to make when looking at it.

IMG_5204

The first two quilts were named after Stanley Whitney who inspired these two pieces; Whitney due to the bright colors (more girl-ie) and Stanley for the more neutral quilt.

If you follow my blog you would have seen the 3rd one in this study – Scrap Dive Study no. 3. This one was not following the typical grid rows and columns layout the previous two explored. I still explored the separation of areas but in a more quadrant layout. The large scraps here I looked at oranges, reds, yellows, greens and a smaller area of blues. The separator is a linen weaved blend.

fullsizeoutput_15a6

After this initial layout, I changed:

  • The grouping of the colors. I moved all the greens into one area. I expanded the blues into its own areas and added some denim off-cuts. The two other segments were the warm colors which are positioned more in a gradation – corals to oranges in one segment, reds/pinks/oranges and yellows in the other.

fullsizeoutput_15af

  • The center, I struggled with and initially tried a variety of prints but finally decided on a black and white center
  • Also, rotated the quilt so that the green was on top.

fullsizeoutput_1597

As I take you through the journey of these quilts, I plan to share:

  • Technique: How I baste quilts (where I’ll share reference material)
  • Deciding on Quilting designs
  • Technique: Burying threads
  • Technique: Binding tips

If you have other questions or topics you want more information,  let me know and I’ll try to address them, either in these planned posts or in new posts.

Pineapple + Untamed Fabrics {a finish}

Sarah from @nohatsquilts (blog) asked me if I could design a quilt using her soon to be released fabric line “Untamed” from Me+You fabrics. I jumped at the chance.

The design I had in mind was based on a doodle that I drew while on a conference call at work.  thought it would great with her black and white prints…almost zebra like.

IMG_7491

As I started to make the curved shapes they reminded me more of paperclips which was not the affect I was after. So, a change of plan was needed.IMG_8417

Instead of focusing on the black and white prints, Untamed came with a rainbow of colors, I decided that it would look good with another design I had finished up earlier in the year.

fullsizeoutput_1065

To get these graduating angles I used freezer paper templates, as I could cut out the appropriate size and reuse the template for the next row. It was fun seeing how the top progressed with the change in color. They are ordered from dark to light and separated by warm and cold colors.

IMG_8548

It really reminded me of the tropics; a coconut tree or the outside of pineapple. The pineapple gave me an idea to use one f the Me+You pineapple prints they had for the back.  I sent the quilt off to Cary Quilting company to do an all over (edge to edge design), choosing something that reminded me more of tropics, almost like a hibiscus flower.

IMG_1127

The quilt is finished with quit binding as I could not find anything else I thought would work well with it. I am pleased with the cute finish and the colors really pop. It is 50 X 65″ finish, making it a perfect Childs lap quilt.

This quilt is the third quilt I plan to action off for charity, sometime late July – early August and give the proceeds of the auction to @together.rising (also check out their web page for general information and also how to donate and support their COVID-19 Assistance Program). This charity I have been supporting almost a year and does amazing work in the community.

Stay tuned, I will post Auction information on my instagram account @ml_wilkie.

HST Checkers & Succulent II {finishes}

Over the last year, I have been feeling more of a need to give back to the community. I originally started by donating quilts to NC folks that were recovering from one of our hurricanes. I really enjoyed making these community quilts.

This year at QuiltCon I had picked up an amazing 100 x 5″ square charm pack with Alison Glass fabric. When COVID-19 stay at home orders were issued, I decided I needed some mindless sewing to do. For me that was making Half Square Triangles (HST) with the charm pack and a some Kona Snow (I has on bolt). IMG_0691

I had enough squares to make 2 quilts, with a couple of additions from stash. I chose two designs, a simple grid based combination of snow and a 2×2 block and a previous one I used for my succulent quilt (just larger blocks this time). IMG_0713

Both the quilts were:

  • Backed with Speckled print from Ruby Star Society, one with yellow and one with teal.
  • They were also both long-arm quilted by Cary Quilting Company with and edge to edge design.
  • Bound with an older Alison Glass print.

IMG_0898

This is the final quilt for the Succulent remake which finishes at 76 x76″. The placement of the colors are to highlight the radiant movement of the triangles. Starts with Blacks, Greys, Low Volumes, Oranges, Blues & Teals, Yellow, Pinks & Purples and finishes with the greens. There are no repeat print in the same color way. I love how this quilt turned out. IMG_0892

The other quilt, the gridded layout, matched up the colors again but this time in sets of 4. My goal of the block placement was to make sure there were minimal repeats of colors in  a row or a single column. This one finishes at 64″ x 72″. IMG_0959

These two quilts, I plan to try something different with. Sometime late July – early August I plan to Auction these quilts off and give the proceeds of the auction to @together.rising (also check out their web page for general information and also how to donate and support their COVID-19 Assistance Program). This charity I have been supporting almost a year and does amazing work in the community. There is one more quilt which I’ll post about over the weekend, Pineapple, which will also be in the auction.

Stay tuned, I will post Auction information on my instagram account @ml_wilkie.