Category Archives: Inspiration

Isolation {a finish}

Idea

Have you ever felt left out, or just on the outside of a group or even cast out? I assume most people at one time or another have felt like that. I have at various times, more than once. This quilt was originally designed based on that feeling of being on the “outs” from a group.

Design

I started the design with an idea of a group people being represented by 10 lines; 9 black (representing the group), 1 red (representing me or the person who was feeling left out). The other big decision I made was on the placement of the red line. Originally, I had the red line to the right but still in alignment with the group of black lines.

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In the end, I moved the red line down 50% and decided to emphasize the mis alignment.

Create

The piecing was relatively simple. I did stitch the Width of Fabric (WOF) black and white strips together before I cut them to size to make it easier and more precise. I used Robert Kaufman Kona cottons for the piece; White, Black and Ruby.

Backing is Moda Fabrics Chicken Wire print. I choose this as it fit the theme of being in prisoned or cordoned off.

Quilt

Since COVID-19 isolation, I have been looking at this unfinished quilt top, and it speaks to me now of self-quarantine and the distance from our friends and family. As a person with Asthma, considered to be in a riskier group (if I catch COVID-19 my symptoms may be more severe), I am realizing I might be here in quarantine for a couple more months.

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These feelings of being into quarantined introduced the idea of ripples and how things effect other elements. I decided to show this effect by using overlapping circular designs around the two groups. The top negative space is then finished with vertical lines and the bottom with horizontal lines, again showing different forces with the direction. All the quilting is 1/2″ lines.

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Finishing this quilt did lift a weight off my shoulders, I did not know needed to be lifted. It was great being able to express yourself through art. The feedback from the community and how people have related has been so wonderful. Thank you all.

Details

Name : Isolation
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Kona Cottons White, Black, and Ruby
Backing: Moda Fabrics, Chicken wire
Binding: Carolyn Friedlander, Carkai
Dimensions:
34 x 41 in.
Quilted: 1/2″ Circular & Straight line quilting using Aurifil #2021

 

On the angle {a finish}

Just before Christmas, I made a couple of mini quilts as gifts. I have not shared those makes with you yet. One of those quilts was a striking black and white minimal quilt.

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Idea

This quilt was inspired based on a drain cover discovered on our family walk around the neighborhood. I loved the diagonal pattern of lines.

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Design

During the design phase I used those 45 degree lines in the top part of the design. In the drain you have this bar 1/2 way across the lines, giving it a broken line feel. For me, that translated into this break a a random angle with the lines then being distorted back the opposite angle. fullsizeoutput_13c6

Create

The creation was relatively simple, using PBS White solid and black fabric at 1″ unfinished, I stitched 16 pieces together. Making sure the angles were at a 45 degrees I then cut an angle that closely matched the design above. The remaining fabric, I removed the excess lines and added a much larger white section to the stripes for the lower negative space.  I lined up and pined where the lines best connected. Once pinned, I cut the fabric at the appropriate angle and stitched the two pieces together. It was both liberating and a little scary as I did not measure or carefully planned these connections. Luckily, it turned out as expected.

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Quilting

As this was a small piece, I kept the quilting design simple. I stitched about 1/8″ from exhaustion of the stitched lines (both sides of the line). I did not bind the quilt to finish, as the final piece was framed and ready to be hung.

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I swapped this gift for 6 ginger pear galettes from a local baker, Meg. The family loved them. So amazing (including the extra banana pecan bundt cake that was added)!!

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Details

Name : On the Angle
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Black & White Painters Palette Solids, Paintbrush studios
Dimensions:
12 x 14 in.
Quilted: Straight line quilting using Aurifil #2021

Published!!

I have been a little on the slow side sharing some of the great news over the last 4 months or so. The first is that I was lucky enough to be included in Uppercase new encyclopedia “Quilted“.  This volume includes two types of articles, Artist Profiles and Interview and Quilt Stories. My quilt, Sunday Best, was selected for one of the quilt stories. I am so happy in getting to celebrate Sunday Best in this beautiful book.

The celebrations continues though. At QuiltCon this year, I shared a room with a friend who woke me up with gleeful text messages and then a wake-up call, to explain that Sunday Best published in Quilted was highlighted by Mel Giedroyc (on her new instagram account @melgquilting). I was like who??? Since then, I now know that she was one of the presenters/judges from The Great British Bake Off, who has started a new and the funniest weekly podcast, Mel Giedroyc is Quilting. I listen every week, and am honored for the mention.

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In January, I received my copy of Curated Quilts issue 10: Black & White. Inside was my article on learning how to see the world around you to find inspiration for quilt design. This was the first time, my photographs were also published, which I was super excited about. The photos are my forever memories from a trip to New York, Morocco and a family beach vacation I took last year. When I saw Amy and Christine, they commented on how much they loved the photo’s. They also suggested I submit again. Yay!!

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Lastly, in Curated Quilts Issue 11: Appliqué, Manicured Gardens was curated into the issue as one of Gallery quilts. This issue is so special, as it also includes quilts from my close friends, Ginny Robinson and Melissa Herboth (our quilts share gallery pages).

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I am super excited to start my year off like this. Who knows what else will come for 2020?

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

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