Category Archives: Inspiration

Outskirts of Denver {a finish}

I always love looking out the window when flying. There are so many interesting patterns you can see from above. I was on a trip flying into Denver when I saw this intersection of roads and was fascinated by the simplicity and space.

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The next day, I immediately started putting a design into fabric. I love the blue hue in the black of Kona Pepper and then the mix of white would be perfect to represent the simplicity, minimalism of the arial. This mini quilt top came together quickly, one afternoon of Sewtopia.

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Unfortunately due to other deadlines, the top went on the WiP pile though I had ideas for quilting already. Finally, when I picked it back up in July, I realized I wanted to make some changes. To keep the simplicity, I decided to move the curved line on the left and leave it negative space. Also, I had missed one of the lines coming off the vertical line, and wanted to have it in the design. Adding it as stitched ghost-like line seemed the perfect solution to the miss.

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For the quilting, I loved the idea of using various directional and spacing straight lines to represent neighborhoods or property boundary lines. In the end the texture of the quilting is amazing.

Lastly, I decided to face bind the quilt and not add a standard binding. One due to the size of the quilt but also to keep the minimal and simple look of the quilt. I really enjoyed the process of this one and how it turned out. I am hoping to enter it at QuiltCon later this year.

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Details

Name : Outskirts of Denver
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Kona Cotton (Pepper, White)
Binding: Carolyn Friedlander (Faced)
Backing: Neutral Scraps
Dimensions: 19 x 22.5 in.
Quilted: With 50wt Aurifil , using domestic machine walking foot, straight lines various directions and spacing

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Spliced {a finish}

You never know when inspiration will strike. The family and I were on vacation at Lake Powell (AZ) and the carpet of the hotel caught my eye. I immediately had an idea for making this into a quilt. I just was not sure how.

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I subscribed to three magazines, Selvedge (textile based magazine), Quiltfolk (quilting community and connection) and Uppercase Magazine (arts and crafts). I love Selvedge  as it has amazing color palettes, and this issue (in photo) inspired the palette of peach, bronze, blue and greys.

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When revisiting the carpet inspiration, I thought they looked like broken Half-Square Triangles (HST). Experimentation with a column of HSTs and cutting them into threes of different widths was where I started. I shuffled the thirds, varying the placement and added filler strips to give this broken look.

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I was really pleased how it turned out and liked how the bits of color in the filler blocks could lend itself to a shift/transition between colors, especially thinking from light to dark.  I decided to take advantage of the transition affect in the mini quilt,  adding movement in the quilt.

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This finished mini was perfect for a gift/swap for a friend, and its so good to know that it has a good home.

Details

Name : Spliced
Design:
 Original Design,
Fabric: Painters Palette Solids, Paint Brush Studio’s
Binding: Painters Palette Solids, Paint Brush Studio’s
Backing: Gleaned, Carolyn Friedlander
Dimensions: 22 x 18 in.
Quilted: With 50wt Aurifil , using domestic machine walking foot, straight lines on the 45 degree diagonal with opposing overlapping lines in the center (1/2″ apart).

Tread {a finish}

The design for this quilt, Tread, was originally created as part of an article for the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) on finding elements and designing a quilt. I was lucky enough to be asked to make it a realty, using a specific color palette in Moda’s Bella Solids. This quilt is now available as a pattern to MQG members as part of Modern Monthly, and will be the feature quilt for June.

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Photo Courtesy of The Modern Quilt Guild (Photographer: Austin Day, Stylist: Lauren Day)

The original inspiration was this cog and spoke machinery, that I had captured at the Shantytown Heritage Park a couple of years ago. I was fascinated by the arrows of the cogs, to think that these interlock and make something move… just loved the pattern and shapes.

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Not my usual color palette but I grew to love this supplied color palette (Rust, Coral, Teal with backing and binding fabric Zen Chic’s Day in Paris). The batting was also supplied by Quilter’s Dream which I had not used before but really enjoyed the low loft. The quilting was done in 50wt Aurifil 2420 (light Coral color). I shadowed the zigzag and used some extra ghosting in areas for interest. In the larger negative space areas, I just used vertical 1/2 in. straight line quilting.

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Photo Courtesy of The Modern Quilt Guild (Photographer: Austin Day, Stylist: Lauren Day)

I was so pleased when the MQG posted the pics of this project, for:

  1. I was finally finished with the quilt. I had stitched this quilt in a period of a creative block and in midst of over commitment with craziness at work, additional travel and prepping for teaching my first time at QuiltCon. It was such a relief to see this done
  2. The staged pictures that the MQG produced (see captions of photos for photography and stylist) were just amazing. I mean look at the wall and how much it makes this quilt pop !!! Amazing!!

As I marked my quilt with chalk, I had to give a spin in the washing machine and dry it. I love that finish crinkly look of this piece.

Details

Name : Tread
Design:
 Original Design, Inspired by Cogs
Fabric: Moda Fabrics, Bella Solids – Rust, Coral and Teal
Binding: Moda Fabrics, Zen Chic, Day in Paris (Teal)
Dimensions: 60 x 60 in.
Quilted: With 50wt Aurifil 2420 (Coral), using domestic machine walking foot, straight lines.

 

Community {Part II – Group Activity}

Part II of my community posts is about how you can foster your community with your own group activity, in this case a traveling quilt.  This past year, I had the amazing pleasure to work with Melanie, Valerie, Melissa, Jen, and Sarah in a traveling quilt group. I knew all these wonderful people before we formed this group and knew that we had similarities and an interest in modern quilting. I think its important to work with a group of people you know and and have common things like style, fabric choice and techniques.

Traveling Quilt Concept

How the traveling quilt group worked….well,  we each created a starter kit that described a theme and what we wanted to receive. This kit included:

  • A journal that described the theme, color palette, styles or techniques you wanted. Each person was to add their thoughts around what they created to the journal as it travelled.
  • A “starter” which could be a block or a row in the theme and colors that you chose, so that the person can have an example to work with.
  • Some additional fabric to work with, though folks could add their own as they created their work.
  • Some included a small gift but it was not mandatory.

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Each person (as there were six of us) had two months to add to the quilt. We knew life would get in the way so timings were flexible. Note though, communication was important and if you were late you needed to let folks know where you were up to and how late were you going to be.

Let me take you through a year in our traveling quilt experience (also check out #travelingstitches2018 for more progress shops by others in the group)

My Theme

So before we talk about my theme and project let me give you a little bit of an introduction to me, which I seldom share.

Many of you know I grew up in New Zealand, but I really have not shared my experiences of growing up. My parents were very young when I was born (Mum 18, Dad about to turn 21). They were just starting out, and their first house was in South Auckland, Papatoetoe. I loved growing up in Papatoetoe, and appreciated the education I got, the friends that I made and the opportunities extended to me (Schools: Papatoetoe South Primary, Kedgley Intermediate and Aorere College). What I didn’t realize, until I moved away from New Zealand, is what an amazing multi-cultural experience I was exposed too growing up here. To me this was just the community I belonged to and was welcomed into, it was Whānau. Exposure to the arts of each of the cultures – Maori, Samoan, Raratongan, Tongan, and Fijian has definitely influenced my design and quilting styles.

So what was my theme for my traveling project – was on Maori design. My goal choosing this theme was to share a little bit of my home with everyone and introduce them to a new language, culture and design aesthetic. Aspects that needed to be incorporated in their designs: geometry, black+white+splash of red, no improvisation.

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My starter blocks were of a triangular design 60″ long representing a Tukutuku panel from a wharenui (Meeting house) and a design inspired by a Moko (tattoo).

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After a year, you get back all your blocks. I was so impressed, everyone did an amazing job. I laid out all the blocks and worked on the final design for the top. This process was extremely emotional but helped me work through a lot of feelings around the Christchurch terrorist attack, that had occurred 3 days previously.
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Melissa

Melissa’s theme “Ode to the Rhombus”, was inspired by Josef Albers Ode to the Square and his interaction of color. She chose an amazing color palette mostly greens with some dark blues. It was such a fun project, I immediately had a plan and inspiredly our bathroom fan.

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With the blocks, I explored the impact on how colors interact with each other and enjoyed the discoveries along the way.

Melanie

Melanie’s concept was about interpretation. She provided everyone with the same instructions, but how you interpreted them was really up to you. At the time of reading the instructions, I was feeling like exploring maximalism within minimalism. Yes, my blocks are the ones where the white strips appear very wide (chunky). By using just black and white you could really see how interpretation played such a large role. At this point, Melanie, Melissa and I had contributed blocks.

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Jen

Jen’s project was one of the most challenging for me. She wanted us to investigate who we are and design blocks thinking about your soul and expression…..and using a yellow only palette!! As I thought about this over a course of a couple of weeks, two ideas emerged. One, that I wear my heart on my sleeve (I could never play poker). This idea was represented by having the seams visible (middle bottom block).

The second idea started with the fact I am a true introvert, most people just don’t realize it. The window block on the right, has the window frame (white) disappearing into the background….and that is so me in a group setting, especially with people I don’t know or a large group. More importantly, while making this block, I realized that I do like being in the background.

Valerie

Strips in navy, white and pops of yellow was Valerie’s theme. I played with a log cabin them and deconstructed it in a few different ways to come up with these blocks.

Choosing the navy as the negative space, I thought was important to the overall balance of the blocks that had come before me (Valerie, Jen, Melanie, and Melissa).  Here is what all the blocks looked like when I passed it off to Sarah – the lucky last to add to Valerie’s quilt.

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Sarah

Lastly, I got to add to Sarah’s quilt. Her theme was outdoor open spaces in the west and she talked about how inspired she was by Utah, Arizona etc. As I had just spent a week at the National Parks in Utah, I did not have problems coming up with inspiration.

The cairns block on the left is appliquéd and inspired by Leon Polk Smith’s work. The mountain block (right), I really wanted to added layers to the foreground to represent the soil or the modified vegetation. I thought this tied in Sarah’s job as an archeologist.

Fostering community with Group projects

This was such a fun activity and I can highly recommend it, but choose your participants carefully. Other ideas for group projects:

  • Choose a theme, and color palette, and just have folks send blocks to you instead of making it a traveling quilt or round robin like activity.
  • Organize a group to explore concepts with each other fostering feedback etc.; Quilt Design a Day for example (more on this later)
  • Charity quilts – making charity quilts for a common cause always pull people together.
  • Sew-ins or quilting bees or retreats with friends or guild members (more to come on this as well)
  • Instagram events like quilt alongs, or daily practice activities (#100days)

Also, don’t forget fostering your community does not always have to be sewing related. Try setting up just social events with your quilting community:

  • A potluck lunch or dinner.
  • Picnic at a local park with family included.
  • Visit an exhibit together at a museum, quilt show or state fair.
  • Movie night, this maybe at a local outdoor event, or rent “How to make an American Quilt” (still with a quilt theme).
  • Met at a local bar, restaurant or cafe.
  • Try other art activities together like pottery or art+wine.

These are just some ideas I have tried. What have you all tried to do as a group to foster your quilty community?

Community Posts:
Community Introduction – Part I

Mt. SohCahToa {a finish}

When designing a new quilt design, I am usually inspired by things around me and what I have seen. This time was no different. This past year (April 2018), we had the most amazing road trip in Utah and a smidge in Arizona. We visited 7 national parks and a couple of other parks in 7 days (Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Monument Valley, Glen Canyon Dam, Horse Shoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon @ml.wilkie_adventures).

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More images of our trip you can check out my other Instagram account (@ml.wilkie_adventures)

It was such an inspiring trip. One of the images that made me think of a quilt design was one of the La Sal Mountain range seen from Arches National Park. The continuous looking peaks lead me to a design using lines of angled triangles. The color’s represent the snow-capped peaks and rock base. These colors are also inspired by the color of the mountains from a distance.

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I submitted the design to the MQG for a Quilt of the Month and it was released in December (lucky last of the year).  Knowing that I had to make a pattern from this, meant I actually needed to consider repeatability and provide measurements that when making  I wouldn’t normally worry about.

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After some trail and error, I paper pieced the triangles as accuracy of those triangles were important to the overall design. In a hilarious conversation with friends on working out the length of those rows, I broke out my math skills. As these are isosceles triangles, I divided a single triangle down the middle and worked out 1/2 Base using the right-angled triangles using some geometry (Soh-Cah-Toa). This gave me enough to calculate the length of those rows for you all but more importantly a few laughs with friends. When it came to naming the quilt, this conversation lead to the name.

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For quilting, I used a light blue grey Aurifil thread for some 1/2″ straight line quilting. I used the horizontal lines of the triangles as a guide. As a surprise, adding more interest, some echoed triangles were stitched randomly into the quilting lines. You’ll find these not only within the triangles but also echoed in some of the negative space.

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Lastly, I wanted to highlight that last horizontal lines (the base of the snow line). I did this using two different colors in the binding and color blocked it to match the fabric color palette in the design.

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Details

Name : Mt. Soh-Cah-Toa
Design:
Design by myself
Fabric: Paintbrush Studio’s Painters Palette Solids.
Binding: Paintbrush Studio’s Painters Palette Solids
Dimensions:  60″ x 60″
Quilted: Straight Line 1/2″ with inset echoed triangles

If you are an MQG member, you can get this free pattern from the resources web page here.

Mesa Quilt {Southwest Modern + Giveaway}

Last year, a new book had become available for pre-order on Amazon and after seeing Kristi (@initialkstudio), I was so excited to have this book in my collection. I was so ecstatic when I was asked to be part of her blog hop.

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The book takes you through a journey in the southwest of the USA, and the influence of this area is seen within the quilts. The book has an amazing layout and beautiful photography. When deciding on a quilt, I wanted to choose one that I could bring in the influence of North Carolina.

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North Carolina has a diversity in environments as it stretches from the mountains to the beach. This region also has rich history and traditional quilting background. As the Mesa Quilt is a modern version of a log cabin, I decided to do this pattern, which I thought was fitting with the traditional quilt making of NC.

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For the color palette and the material, I was influenced by a Gees Bend Quilt. I used mostly recycled fabric, blue jeans, shirts, ties and a feed sack. This was a quick make and it was so much fun playing with the color palette and placement.

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I interfaced many of the stretchy or less stable fabrics with interfacing to make them easier to sew. I have a quilting plan for this quilt already, using a mix of grid lines, walking foot shapes within sections, and straight lines.

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I really enjoyed this quilt top finish and hope to make more of the projects including some of the amazing triangle based quilts. If you want to see more, please check out the other projects that are on the blog hop:

Last but not least, you too have a chance to get your hands on a copy of this book. To be in with a chance:

  1. Enter follow me (@ml_wilkie) and @initialkstudio on Instagram
  2. Leave a comment below.
  3. For an extra chance, leave a comment on the Instagram post (@ml_wilkie)

I will randomly choose a winner at 8pm EST tomorrow. If you are not selected, there is another chance for you….Kristi also has a Grand Prize Giveaway that will be happening at the end of the blog hop. Sign-up for her newsletter and you’ll have a chance to win:

  1. Signed copy of the Southwest Modern by Lucky Spool
  2. FQ bundle by Robert Kaufman
  3. FQ bundle by Me & You Fabrics
  4. Southwest Modern Thread Collection by Aurifil

 

QuiltCon: Quilt Show {Part II}

The best story I have of QuiltCon, was meeting a young boy (around 10-11?) who had won third place in the Youth category. He was with his mum and dad. Other than the fact the boy had won, all three of them had a quilt in the show. It was so heart-warming that they all had this love for quilting.
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So, yesterday we talked about the use of solids (trend #1), and texture (trend #2). Ok, so the quilts and other trends that I saw continues today….

3. Use of Prints

One of the biggest surprises to me, was the increased number of quilts that utilized prints. I love quilts that use prints but still have that modern feel.

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Digital Offcuts, Kathy Thorncraft (@iamacraftykat)

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Positive : Negative, Lorena Uriarte (@lorena_in_syd)

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Macaroons #57, Sarah Hibbert, (@quiltscornerstone)

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Incidental Collaboration, Nora Renick Rinehart (@fiberistanora)

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Infinité IV, Sophie Zaugg (@lunalovequilts)

4. Hand Quilting and FMQ

There seems to be a movement to over the last couple of years to embrace a variety of quilting techniques in the show, not just the expected matchstick or straight lines. I saw an increase in hand quilted quilts and more modern-styled FMQ.

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Lateral Ascension, Cassandra Beaver (@cassandra.beaver)

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Lateral Ascension (Close-up)

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Mod Garden, Jack Weise

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Mod Garden (Close-up)

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Vortex, Ardelle Kerr (@rosecityquilter)

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Vortex (Close-up)

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Hillary Goodwin (@entropyalwayswins), Quilter: Rachel Dorr (@racheldorr)

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Close-up of Rachel’s Quilting

5. Faced Binding was very common on quilts this year.

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Color Study H1, Victoria Findlay Wolfe (@victoriafindlaywolfe)

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Mountain Town, Mary Keasler (@mizcontrary)

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Fauchet, Virginia Robinson (@minnowpeck)

6. Quilts with a Message

Last but not least…
Every year there are a couple of quilts that bring a strong message, whether its supporting women rights, speaks out against gun violence or highlights the current social and political climate. This year was no different, except I think more people (including a large number in the youth category) are using their art to make a statement. Here are a few from this year and there were many more.

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Get Woke, Chawne Kimber (@cauchycomplete)

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Get Woke (close-up)

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Veer, Jacquie Gerring (@jacquietps)

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Strong Tradition, Allison Chambers (@downtownquilter_allie)

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America the beautiful, Ann Guiam (Youth Category)

This quilt above, I left last as this had the most impact for me. It was the winner in the youth category (person under the age of 18). As I stood reading the description written by one so young, I was bought to tears. You see my son is ten, in elementary school in the US, and Ann’s description sunk in deep. Here is Ann’s description:

“I created this quilt because of the mass shootings and terrorism that have occurred during my lifetime have unfortunately led me to question the true beauty of America. These acts of violence have impacted the lives of so many people both directly and indirectly and I hope this quilt will serve to bring awareness to this societal issue and also honor the lives of those who were harmed. The bottom half of the quilt is simultaneously supposed to symbolize the American flag and a classroom because I worry that kids in school are learning to normalize these horrible events because they are so frequent.”

That’s it from me on the quilts of the show, additional information on the winners of QuiltCon awards can be found here.