Category Archives: Improvisation

Scrap Dive – Study no. 3 {a finish}

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Idea

A couple of years ago I discovered the Lisson Gallery in New York as I went to see a Carmen Herrera exhibit there. The next show, was Stanley Whitney. I had never heard of him. He is African American artist, and I was fascinated how he played with blocks of color in a very vertical/horizontal grid like fashion. They are such amazing compositions, maximalist with color but minimalist in shapes.

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Design | Create

His pieces are just amazing!! My mind, after seeing this work, could not let go of how to do the same color play in textiles. Around the same time, friends and I were talking about how to use larger scraps of fabric up.

What is a scrap you might ask?
I store most of my fabric, that is a fat quarter or larger, wrapped around comic book boards. Smaller scraps are stored in the white bins you see below. So to me, I consider a large scrap a fat eighth, a scrap that I can still fold nicely but won’t fit around a board.

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Pulling out these larger scraps, I realized they would be perfect to explore color play in a similar way that Stanley Whitney’s pieces speak to me.

I have done three studies exploring color with my scraps. Whitney was the first and I explored this using a similar composition to Stanley Whitney pieces. Stanley, the second exploring more the lack of color with neutral colored scraps and using other fabrics like denim, linens and feed sacks. The third is Scrap Dive – Study no.3.

I always start making each piece by putting the scraps I have on the design wall.  I edit placement and what stays or goes directly on the design wall. The initial pull and layout of Study no. 3 still had the bands of vertical color. It evolved as I wanted to play more with my own layout and explored a quadrant-like composition using a linen scrap to put up the boundaries.

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While this layout you could see the movement from warms to colds, I wanted to really show the movement more around the quilt, almost like a color wheel. I moved things around so each quadrant took on different colors – Reds/Oranges, Reds and Yellows, Greens, and Blues (ROYGBIV). The other thing I found difficult was what to put in the center. I tried adding a variety of prints until I decided on my strip piecing from a class sample I was using.
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The last design decision was the binding. I tried 20-30 different solids and prints to see what would work. Nothing. Then I was looking at recently purchased backing fabric and realized that this crazy colorful Melody Miller print from Ruby Star Society would be perfect.

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Quilt

I put the quilt top away for a while as I had no clue how I was going to quilt it.  Finally deciding on straight lines, I decided to start with a grid of 1/2″ line for the center.
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Each quadrant was then quilted with alternating vertical and horizontal straight lines. The other detail that might be hard to see is within the boundary lines, around the gridded center the lines in the boundaries are just vertical or horizontal. The boundary lines are then gridded where the two color sections are against each other.

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Details

Name : Scrap Dive – Study No. 3
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Variety of solid scraps
Backing: Frolic Wide-back, Tula Pink (green)
Binding: Social Bird on a wire, Melody Miller, Ruby Star Society (navy)
Dimensions:
58 x 82 in.
Quilted: 1/2″ Straight line and gridded quilting using Aurifil white #2021(center), cream #2310 (quadrants)

Correlation {a finish}

I am not very good at following through on activities that require something every day, whether its following a diet and tracking, or doing a 30 day or 100 day challenge. However, I was given an opportunity to participate in a 100 day showcase, and decided to take it. I had this idea that had been percolating for a while.

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The idea and initial limits were:

  • Use a variety colored angled blocks together in one quilt
  • Use of two colors and white per block
  • Angles for each color were cut without planning (improvisation).
  • Use my Denyse Schmidt Free Spirit solids box that I had been saving in a draw for years.

The process of creating blocks was very interesting and a few additional design decisions were made along the way:

  • By day 20, I already felt overwhelmed by the angles and color and thought it needed more balance. So, single white blocks were incorporated into the design to provide much needed negative space. I think this is a great example of how to use negative space and how it can interact and be part of the overall design.
  • I added two additional block modifications. I included 3 blocks with one color and white, more as accent pieces. I also included 3 blocks with just two colors and no white.
  • I alternated the direction of the blocks to create some great negative space designs.
  • I also started positioning them on a diagonal gradient like a scatter plot / correlation (hence the name and relates to my day job).

I loved how it turned out. I love the color, the balance and the fact there’s always something to find in the blocks. Check out #100daysofcoloredangles for progress shots.

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For the quilting, I knew I was going to use straight line quilting. I also though about the quilt as a single block, so the quilting was done at angles like one of the original single block designs. I taped out the angles I was going to use, and leveraged the 1″ think tape as border lines for the 1/2″ quilting lines. In each area the lines follow various angles. IMG_5156

The binding was matched to one of the accent pieces, which I am super pleased with how that turned out.

I have multiple ideas now for additional quilts of this nature and will probably make one or two more. It was fun and very happy to add the easier negative space blocks to the quilt. It made the 100 days much easier to complete.

Details

Name : Correlation
Design:
Design by myself
Fabric: Kona White; Denyse Schmidt, Modern Solids, Free Spirit
Binding: Kona Aruba
Dimensions:  55 x 60″
Quilted: Straight Line 1/2′ quilting with Aurifil 2021.

 

News + Finish {Sunday Best}

It has been a busy 30 days or so but for super exciting reasons. First off, I did my first quilting webinar last night. It was about the skill I learned this year – hand piecing (hand stitching blocks). If  you are an MQG member you can check it out here. I had a lot of fun doing it.

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Also, I published my first Article for the MQG “Inspirational Sources for Quilt Designs”. If you are an MQG member you can read it here.
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Best of all, I also have a finish in time for Quiltcon submissions – Sunday Best.   It took me forever to start quilting this one, as I just was not inspired by anything. Finally, I had an idea on how to quilt the orange peel block….and the long quilting journal began. I used a domestic sewing machine and walking foot for all the quilting.
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My goal for quilting, was to add interest, while ensuring it complemented the top and did not distract the viewer. For the stripes up the top of the quilt I used straight lines with varying widths from matchstick quilting to 1/2″.
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I decided to choose two different designs for each of the main triangle patterns. The design above on the left (with nested triangles) I used for all of these triangles in this section. For the next set of triangles, featured below, I used a sectional design like slices of an orange. It makes this cool pyramid effect.
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For the black and white sections of the quilt, it reminded me of a checker’s board so I used a 1″ grid design.

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With using the matchstick quilting at the top, I felt that I needed to balance the dense quilting somewhere else. I decided to use it in this block, the background fabrics, that reminded me of a seed pod.

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And yes, all those thread ends, did need burying. It took around 9 hours for this task but I did it over 3 sessions. For those that are interested in how to bury threads, I learned from this tutorial from @ crazy mom quilts.

I finished off the quilting with 1/2″ black and white binding. I can’t tell you how in love I am with this quilt.

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Details

Name: Sunday Best
Design:
Original Design – Improvisation
Fabric: Various Solid from my scrap bins, Black and white stripes
Backing: Lecien Fabrics (Black and white), scraps from the front
Binding: B+W Striped Binding (1/2″ white stripe)
Dimensions: 46 x 53″
Quilted: Various designs, domestic sewing machine with a walking foot. Used Aurifil #4658 and #4060 wt. 50

Just in case, you can find the design decisions and the information about the top, in this post.