Category Archives: Journey

The Quilting {Quilt Journey Part II}

In the previous post, I walked through my process of creating the three tops I created while playing with color. In this post let’s take one of those quilts, Whitney, and talk about choosing quilting design.

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Whitney is a 4 x 4 grid design, (4 columns x 4 rows). I consider these columns as a red (1), green (2), yellow (3) and blue (4) column if you read it from left to right.

Quilt Designs

I started the quilting with the yellow column, which provides almost a consistent stripe down the quilt. I feel this is where the eye not only rests but also helps move you between the rows. To keep that consistency, I choose to quilt vertical straight 1/2″ lines down the quilt within the yellow areas. I did not quilt across the row separators.

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So, thinking about the other three columns, I decided on quilting each quadrant with one of four designs in a matching thread color. From top to bottom in the blue column are the following designs:

  1. Uneven Grid – This design is from Jacquie Gering’s book Walk. I quilted this at a ~1/4″ for the thin lines and 1/2″ for the wide lines as I have marks on my walking foot to make these distances easier.
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  2. The Crosshatch Diamond Mix – Another design from Jacquie Gering’s book Walk, and one of favorite designs. It is worth the effort of stitching the same space 4 times. I created the straight grid first at 1″ x 2″, then added the diagonal lines.
  3. Simple Grid – I love the texture and look of a simple 1/2″ grid so that is the third design within the blue.
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  4. Simple Diagonal Grid – Turning the simple grid on a 45 degree angle to give a great diamond texture on the last quadrant. The 1/2″ lines gives amazing texture on this navy blue and stripe. Note: I lightened up the picture to see the lines easier.
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These are the 4 designs I plan to also use on the red and green areas but I plan to shift them down. For example, the green column, from top to bottom, will be simple diagonal grid, uneven grid, crosshatch diamonds, simple grid; the red will be simple grid, simple diagonal grid, uneven grid, crosshatch diamonds.

Once these are complete, that leaves just the strips (that are acting as row separators) to quilt. I plan to try adding a couple of rows of these diamond shapes that are in Jacquie Gering’s Walk 2.0 book.
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Tools

I do use a few tools when I quilt, especially with all these straight lines.

Of course, my walking foot is the busiest tool and I could not quilt without it. I like my Janome walking foot as the edge of the foot gives me a natural 1/2″ distance which is the main reason most of my lines are 1/2″.

To check my lines are straight, I regularly (every 5-10 lines) place masking tape (painters tape) down and use it as a guide to make any corrections needed.

My new tool, is the clover chalk pen, which I use for marking. I used it to mark each of the diagonal lines and the 1 x 2″ grid for the crosshatch diamonds. Caution: I use the white and it just rubs off and works well. I tried the yellow and found that it did not work well and required washing and light scrubbing with fingers to get it out.
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As you can see in this last photo, I do bury threads, so next post will be a tutorial on burying threads and tools I have tried and what I use now.

If you want to know something else let me know in the comments and I can add it to a future post or answer it below.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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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.

Mid-year check-in

Wow, can you believe it s already July? There’s not much I can say about the year. I am doing things I could never have predicted I’d be doing. I never thought I would be working from home while helping a middle school remote learner, and maintaining a household. I never thought I would be leaving the house no more than once a week. And when I do leave the house wearing a mask.

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I feel that this is the time to listen and educate myself. I am a foreigner in the US and I had a lot to learn about the importance of Black Lives Matter and the history / events that has lead to this point. What I learn will help me be a better manager in my day job, a better mother to my child as I pass on and help him understand, and a better person.

Anxiety has gotten the better of me, some weeks. As I mentioned before, anxiety has only been an issue for me the last 3 years. There are days where I think I am dying from some pain or symptom that I feel, and I have to keep telling myself that if I wake up in the morning it is just a panic attack. It’s ok.

I am finding balance though, even though it is something I have to work on. I have started to exercise (walking to start), focused on eating better, enjoyed cooking and baking for us, and using quilting as my stress reliever. For quilting not to be a stressor, I did have to change my self imposed expectations. I had timelines, a book and projects that must be done. I decided none of these mattered. I would just work on whatever I felt like. Surprisingly, I am feeling more creative at the moment, I procrastinate less and I am enjoying being behind my machine.  I feel I accomplished a lot so far this year.

  1. Completed quilts for Baby Gifts for my employees (Squircle, Lines Drawn)
  2. Finished 3 Charity Quilts which I plan to Auction off on Instagram.
  3. Finished up these WiPs ranging all the way back to 2016 – Q3 2019 (Study no. 3, Home, Map of Mannheim, Isolation)
  4. Finished a couple of new quilt tops (Covid Mash-up, Ford & Son)
  5. Worked on progressing other WiPs (Tree-Lined Streets (hand appliqué), Snow (redoing quilting with hand quilting), Art Deco Medallion (piecing the top))
  6. Then other smaller sewing projects which include my second ever piece of clothing I made and a bjillon masks for family and friends.

I am really pleased I finished 12 projects so far and made progress on the others. Many still need to be blogged about (I am always behind). I have no thoughts yet on the rest of the year so let’s see what happens the second half of this year.

I hope you all have found a way to survive 2020 and are doing well. Thank you for letting me share. I’d love to see your projects, especially your favorite one, so feel free to include a link below.