Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MQG, Apartment Therapy and ME!!

Ever have one of those days when you're questioning everything you make, nothing is good enough, maybe not good at all? And then, something comes along that makes you legitimate, at least in someone else's mind. Check out this link. The Modern Quilt Guild gets recognized and someone at Apartment Therapy, yes, I said APARTMENT THERAPY, thinks my quilt is modern and cool. My quilt and my name are on Apartment Therapy. I can't believe I just wrote that. (Insert happy dance, giddy squeals, and self pinching to test if it's really true.) Check out the other quilts too...I know there are some other folks doing the happy dance!
I made some quilt backs...

...and then just to make sure my head didn't get too big...don't ask...I'm simply a klutz and it's too embarrassing to tell you.

Just a reminder...the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild meets tomorrow (Wednesday) at Harper's Fabrics in old Overland Park. Come at 6:30, meeting starts at 7:00. You don't want to miss it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

peace and comfort

Happy Friday! Thanks so much for all the kind comments on my selvage quilt top. Now that the top is finished, it's on to thinking about the quilting. I always have to THINK alot about how to quilt something.
blocks made by Rossie
I'm going to switch to something a bit simpler, but just as beautiful. It's my month in the Common Threads quilt bee. I was inspired by a few things to start this quilt. During the rush to help Haiti, I saw a 'red cross' quilt that was donated to Craft Hope by Susie Swan that sold in seconds...I wanted that quilt. Then I stumbled on this quilt on flickr. Stunning.

I did a little research on red cross quilts and they have an interesting history, so I decided I wanted to make one of my own and decided to involve my bee buddies.

I sent a couple of different background fabrics, a bunch of red, and a few black scraps. The blocks will be 6.5" and the instructions were pretty open...as long as it reads like a cross. Even with such a simple shape, there are lots of possibilities. I love Rossie's blocks that are pictured above. You can see more of the blocks that have been made here. Until I get my machine back, I'm limited to piecing, so I thought this would be a good project for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

you knew there would be more on this one...

The top is finished...I have leftover sections for the back. That's today's work.
This quilt is made up of 96 triangular sections. They are paper pieced. The triangles are sewn together into blocks like you see above. It takes 4 of those blocks to make one complete spiderweb. I adapted Bonnie's tutorial at Quiltville for this block. If you put them together like Bonnie does, you'll get a straight set. Some of you noticed that I started with a straight set, but I like the offset look much better. It took a little ripping, but I'm so happy that I did. One piece of advice, if you make a quilt like this, press the seams open. It's not easy with all those little pieces of selvage, but it'll be worth it. The quilt lays so nice and flat even with all those layers of fabric.
I chose my selvages carefully. The outside string of the webs are all fabrics that I have used in quilts along with a majority of those in the quilt. I chose to show the fabric in addition to the selvages throughout the webs, first because that's what selvages mean to me and also because I wanted the quilt to be colorful. I tried to balance within each wedge to make sure there was color, dots, and text.
I'm so looking forward to getting this quilted and finished. It wouldn't be right to end this post without thanking all my blog friends for helping me with this quilt. Jodie, your inspired selvage frock and selvage creativity inspired me to start this quilt. Ashley, my Block Party buddy, chose a spiderweb block for her month in our quilting bee. Without having to make that block I never would have tackled this. Lastly, to all of you who have generously shared your selvages with me. I'd love to have you all over so we could pour over the quilt together and look for your donations. I've emptied my selvage bucket multiple times to make this quilt. I couldn't have done it without you. This won't be my last foray into the selvage world. Believe it or not, I'm making a second one of these by request. It's going to be an adventure!

Monday, February 15, 2010

love says it all

this quilt.
it's about loving fabric...
loving the challenge. (6 months in the making!)
A few more rows and it'll be done.
This quilt may put me in the running for 'crazy quilt lady.' I'll wear the title proudly.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

urban garden

I did persist and work on this quilt from start to finish. It's done and I renamed it 'urban garden.' It started with a few handfuls of scraps and thoughts about farm fields. Now when I look at it I see an urban, community garden with separate plots... some elaborate, some sparse, and some tilled areas ready to be planted. How that pink piece found its way into my orange scrap box I'll never know, but now I'm glad it did. I see a strawberry patch there. I'm sorry I can't show the whole quilt. I have an event coming in March and the quilt will be revealed there.
I can, however answer your questions about the quilting. Don't you think it looks like tilled land? I love how some of the rows nest and others form those hourglass shapes. The quilting lines are about 1/4" apart. I marked the first row vertically in the center of the quilt to make sure I started straight and then I eyeballed it from there. It stayed amazingly vertical across the quilt...only 1/8th inch off from side to side.

I first learned about this type of quilting from Victoria, of The Silly Boo Dilly. Check out Victoria's blog to see her innovative quilting designs. I've done this both free motion and with a manipulated stitch on my machine. There are advantages and disadvantages of both. This time I used the machine stitch since the quilting lines were so close together. Many of us have decorative stitches on our machines that never get used. Victoria inspired me to experiment and play with my machine. I'm sure I haven't scratched the surface of the possibilities. I tried to answer the questions you asked. Feel free to email me if you need more info.
Have you been on the Modern Quilt guild site this week? All week long the planning committee members have been posting their answers to the question, "What does modern quilting mean to me?" It's been wonderful reading the responses of my modern quilting buddies and lots of other quilters across the web. Today is my turn. Check out all the posts and give your thoughts in the comments, or even better, do a post of your own answering the question from your perspective. Go modern!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Must Have

Amazing quilt...I love the use of color here and how the colors almost obscure the block structure. This is one of the quilts in the most recent addition to my quilt book collection, Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown.
Lattice (crib quilt) ca. 1930 Haven, Kansas
I received Amish Abstractions from the publisher, Pomegranate Communications, in exchange for a review from a modern quilter’s perspective. Why would a modern quilter be interested in a book about Amish quilts? Could it be the quilts simplicity, dynamic use of color, superb craftsmanship, clean lines, and inventive uses of traditional blocks and patterns? I think so.
This book is a must have for any quilter looking to understand an important part of the history of quilting as well as those looking for inspiration for modern quilts. Amish Abstractions presents more than 75 quilts made in Amish communities in Pennsylvania and in the Midwest from the 1880’s to the 1940’s. While the quilts are spectacular on their own, the book, through essays written by noted quilt experts, also explores how Amish quilt making emerged and evolved within a deeply religious and highly structured community.
Double Wedding Ring ca. 1930 Ohio or Indiana
Though Amish quilts have a characteristic look, I was surprised to see the diversity and creativity that flourished within the confines of a community that values conformity over individualism. Joe Cunningham observed that quilt making could bring out “surprising eccentricity” and “a bold improvisational streak.” Those aren’t phrases that I would typically associate with Amish quilts, yet looking at the quilts in the book and reading about the community in which they were created allowed me to see the quilts with a fresh eye and better appreciate the artistry behind them.
Bars ca. 1910 Rebecca Zook, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
I especially enjoyed the third essay by Joe Cunningham, 'All in the Details: The Making of Amish Quilts'. Mr. Cunningham looks at the quilts in a unique way, comparing similar quilts in an attempt to reveal the “quirks and talents of their individual makers.” I felt in a small way that I was looking into the minds of these quilters, understanding their design choices and empathizing with their struggles.

I understand that the some of the quilts in the Brown’s collection are currently on exhibit in San Francisco until June. I would love to see these quilts in person and the book would be a perfect accompaniment to the exhibit. If you’re not close to the SF area, get the book anyway. You’ll learn, but more importantly, you’ll be inspired.

Friday, February 5, 2010

could it be?

...a change in habits...making a quilt from start to finish? i kept going on this quilt...made the back...basted it and even started the quilting.

...when i get home this weekend maybe i'll keep going on it through the finish. could i be turning over a new leaf?

Monday, February 1, 2010

push and flow

I don't have as much time to read blogs these days, (slow internet...arrrg), but finding posts like Cheryl's that make me think are the reason I do. Two words that came to mind for me (as an answer to her question) were push and flow and this weekend's quilting was a perfect example. Quilting challenges me, pushes my creative envelope. Flow comes when everything is clicking, ideas...construction. It's sort of like being in a groove.

This weekend I did a little individual scrap challenge. I pulled a bunch of random scraps from my orange/green/brown scrap baskets. I grabbed a handful from each. I told myself I had to make something from what I pulled. The colors were earthy and I started thinking about land and how farm fields look from the window of a plane. I grabbed some natural osnaburg (it has that nubby earthy feeling too) and started piecing.
Most farmers would probably cringe at my planting style, it's sort of abstract and random. Very me...well, not really. It's how I would like to be. I constantly fight that urge to make things even...line things up, make everything symmetrical. (I alphabetize my spice rack...and compulsive stuff like that.)

This piece gave me another opportunity to play with the concept of negative space. I'm sort of into that lately.
I have 7 blocks done so far. I think I'm liking how this is coming together. I'm just about out of the scraps I pulled. I may grab a few more handfuls.

Sometimes that 'push' thing gets a bit out of control. I got a little 'rotary cutter happy' this weekend. I felt a bit like the villain in a slasher movie. I took the rotary cutter to this top. I kept looking at it and the framed scraps were so static and boring. I was getting ready to baste it and then decided it could be something so much better. Now it's a stack of different sized pieces. I started playing with those too.
May have been a mistake, but isn't that what push is all about, taking a risk and possibly experiencing failure? It's only fabric, right?