Friday, January 29, 2016

Orange Raspberry Quilt finish

Orange Raspberry quilt finish 29' x 57' 
This was a small quilt project I made as a gift. It's for a friend from my college Printmaking classes at Pratt Institute who has a new home of her own she acquired last summer. It is her first home which Keith and I went to visit during our big road trip last August. She has a big collection of artworks and had reserved a special place for one of my quilts. While we were there we measured the spot she reserved, intending for me to match up the space to fit the finished quilts I have at home. It is a place of pride by the wood stove in an alcove right in the center of the living room. I suspected right away that my finished quilts are a little bigger than what would fit in this space but I kept quiet because the idea to create a custom quilt suddenly leapt into my head.
left or right of the wood stove spaces reserved for a quilt

The 1930s bungalow front porch
I began this quilt with orange fabric because of the reactions to my finished quilts she had given while visiting Washington, DC and I know she likes orange.  I wanted to experiment with several new techniques. The fabric colors I limited to orange, orange-red solids and a raspberry stain magenta print. I began with several blocks from the improv workshop with Denyse Schmidt last summer that I decided not to put in my bigger all orange quilt. It took off from there making new blocks by whacking those improv blocks up to making new ones.  Then I began using a new technique of the eighth inch strip stripe inserted in a block which I discovered on Instagram. This is an example below. 
these colors are closest to the real quilt colors. 

While working I was thinking about handsome mid century chair's upholstery color and dots and the lines in the architect's modern garden features as references to fit this angled improvisational quilt design with round dots and triangles of hand quilting on the finish. 
orange dots on pink mid century chair

garden view 
It fell together quite fast since it is small and I had a lot of fun playing with the colors and pieces to create the top. Once the top was assembled I used an art quilt technique to put the three layers together. Instead of a binding tape around the raw edges, I used an envelope or pillowcase technique for the first time. It worked quite well and gave a nice finish without a tape frame. 
The quilting was fun. I used a contrasting pearl cotton size number eight with big stitch to show the piecing off and followed the angles then added circles to reflect the chair's dots. As you may notice the quilt colors are different in each slide. While photographing these close value oranges and high contrasting magenta I learned it confuses the camera. In some lights it looks like yellow and purple but that is not the way it looks in person. I marked the slide that comes closest to the real colors.
I gifted the finish to my friend just after Christmas when she came to visit and it was such a surprise and I gather she is very happy. She went right home and hung it in the space she showed me she wanted to display an original quilt last summer on our visit. Bonus shot includes one very interesting cat named honeybee passing by the new art work and she is the reason this collector doesn't think she can take home a quilt to use on  her beds since miss Honeybee sleeps on them. I liked the cat and wonder if there is a color quilt I could make that wouldn't show her fur? 

Finished Orange Raspberry Quilt 12-21-2015 
size 29" x 57" all cotton 
hand quilted with pearl cotton #8

label on the back 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

add a border block quilt label update

In the previous article about the Add-A-Border block I used to improvise a nine patch quilt top I neglected to show the back and the label I embroidered for it in my post. Trying to update the post by adding more photos and text wasn't working this morning. I decided to just post these photos with this story all on it's own.
Ever since I began quilting the label at the end was the part I felt was very important and it was a challenge to make. I was influenced to do simple big embroidery letters by a lovely lady in England Claire O. known as Selfsewn who had a blog post a number of years ago on her blog about her own labels you can read it here: Selfsewn Label Tutorial that was totally inspiring. For me it was the answer to the problem.
 So thanks Claire! Here is my latest kind of simple label on AAB quilt project seen in my previous post.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Add a Border block quilt finished

A few years ago I joined an Internet group of quilters who swap small blocks and add borders to each then send them off to others to add more rounds until a 6 inch block becomes 24 inches then it is given to the first to lay claim to the block. A nice fellow in Kentucky hosts the block swap sending and resending the blocks from one quilter in the group to the next. Here is a link if you want to see some of the work or join in the fun:  AddABorderBlockSwap on 

AFter a while in the group I never got to select a finished block so a second option was to keep one you liked and replace it. I chose this block after adding a round to it because I fell in love with the orange/magenta striped background fabric and the hexagon hand pieced block on it that looked like a toy block. It was made by Ed Hart who goes by Cattail in the group. I chose it as my block to keep and pinned it to my design wall to ponder how to build it into a queen size quilt top of my own improvising from this beginning. 

Not long after deciding to keep this block I put it away because I had so many quilt projects already underway and this project was not clearly worked out in my head.
The following year once all my Log Cabin quilts were completed I tried again. This first block built up to about 24 inches square and I realized that to keep going, like some other quilters do making it all a giant medallion, was going to be really difficult to keep my quilt squared. The wobble was starting to distort the square shape after adding only three more rounds! 
Next idea was to make more blocks like this improvising my way along with my core design element taken from the original block, the three diamond hexagon on a bright background that looks like a three dimensional toy block sitting in a field.

Next step was to make some three inch diamond English Paper Pieces and try to match the fabric of the original block with purple, white and green from my stash. It was fun making them up and hand stitching them together a couple at a time. 
The second block was different because the background was different and so it went on and on with each new block. Once I had four I decided I was going to organize them by doing a big nine patch design for the overall quilt pattern. 
Second block used a tartan shirt fabric given to me by Melinda Newton as my background
 The colors shifted to the purple and aqua range and I wanted to keep the magenta, red and oranges in the quilt so I chose another tartan in red and dark blue as the third block's backgrounder.
Third block 

4th block got a different colored hexagon in the center using a warm pink with magenta and white then the  flower background with oranges purples and magenta pinks. 
In this 4th block I was ready to take a step aside from the aqua purple theme and move back to the pink purple orange end of the range of colors. I am not sure why but it felt right when I headed in this direction looking at all four it needed this brightness. 

Three of the 3 inch central hexagons trying a new orange magenta color theme in the center hexagon. 
Then I wanted to throw a twist in and added a block with a diamond setting of the central hexagon. It was fun and a little tricky to add triangle blocks split in two...

I blogged earlier about messing this one up at our guild sewing day. I  cut that orange edged block in half the wrong way first thing and had to start it all over when I got home but that is a good example of how much thought and concentration is required to get the results you want in quilt top piecing.  This is how they looked before I cut them in half to create a triangle to add to the diamond block center. 

The various blocks all improvised pieces totaled nine which took a while to even up with extra rounds of thinner and thicker bands. In the final judgement I chose to add some solid magenta as sashing to draw all these unmatched blocks together to make a top to fit my queen sized sleigh bed. 

I was influenced by the hand work movement to make up some one inch English paper pieced tumbling blocks to include as a sort of button decoration on the intersections of the sashing. I wanted to add some scale to the theme small and large. 

one inch and three inch English Paper Pieced blocks in the quilt side by side
They were so small that I had a struggle to figure out how to get them on the intersections of the sashing and decided that applique was my best bet once the whole was hand quilted. I chose # 8 pearl cotton in contrasting or matching colors to detail the big blocks and surround them on the sashing leaving room for these small tumbling blocks at the intersections. 
Hand quilting with big stitch purple pearl cotton # 8

quilt top before the quilting began laid on my bed with four tiny one inch tumbling blocks at intersections 

detail of finish 

detail of finish hanging 

detail of central block finished 

Finished hanging by my bed (see the foot board lower left blocks the full view)

Hanging Tumbling block quilt improvisation based on the original "Add a Border" block from Ed "Cattail" of the block swap group. 
I wanted to thank Ed Hart for the inspiration and Dustin Cecil for sending me this block that has kept me busy for the last couple years. I regret that my home is kind of small and tight so the finished quilt shots are cramped but maybe next weekend when I show it at the Washington DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting I can get a better photo to add later. 
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