Friday, February 12, 2016

Something more, nothing less

The last of 2015 and a great way say goodbye and thanks.

This is the 5th quilt of this year that was made entirely from scraps. While the other 4 were solids only projects, smaller in scale, this, the largest of the projects, is made entirely from prints. Since I sew less frequently with prints these days, it's taken a few years to accumulate the raw material. The prints scraps drawer was large and I sorted (mostly strips and variations of rectangles) into ROYGBIV piles. The whites/grays and blacks were reserved for the negative space.

I posted while I made and reflected too. I hatched 2 plans. One to make a quit from the scraps and, then to share whatever was left over with whomever would take them.

I started piecing the week before the terrible events in Paris.  By the time I got to purple I was struggling with the color and the piecing, because my "selection" was limited in both volume and variety. Then, Paris happened and I just couldn't begin to understand that level of hatred and violence so I gave my pain to the purple and joined the sorrow of the  greater world as we all searched  for the over reaching question of Why? Right them and there, in the midst of literally picking up the pieces and trying to put something together,  I knew what had to happen.

The main color blocks are arranged more or less in a rainbow spectrum, discreet and isolated,  I'm sure the in-your-face symbolism is lost on no one.  The improv pieced negative space starts with dominant whites in the upper left (yes, more symbolism) and descends to black in the lower left (I know, I know). Some asked and the answer to why black and purple… it's because that is what it felt like when I was piecing purple… I was struggling and the world around me was dark and sad,  looking for answers and finding none.

Despite current events,  there is a bright side to the quilt as well, all those pieces have memories attached to them, memories that I got to revisit when making this quilt. Family quilts, graduation gifts, celebrations of babies and birthdays. A few pieces are from quilts that have hung in Houston and at QuiltCon. A piece or 2 from quilts that have won ribbons. The oldest piece is from a  quilt that my son (now 21) and I made together when he was in kindergarden.

I also learned something more about myself. Most of my "precious" fabric scraps were all orange, and what I deem precious may not be what everyone else holds dear.  No surprise there. I had more blues than any other color,  My greens were mostly yellow-green, bright green and an occasional blue-green. I include pink in the rainbow because  like it.  I had the least amount of purple.  I deliberately chose to piece the background negative space from light to dark because that's what made the most sense while I was making this quilt. I almost  had enough scraps to make that happen, but was a bit shy of my mark in the print selection of medium to dark grays. I did have enough scraps, just not enough variety of scraps.  It didn't stop me from cutting a few additional strips of gray prints from my stash to complete the quilt top.  Those extra scraps will now go to good homes.

The back is scrappy pieced from large stash pieces that have sat on my shelves for a time (OK, years). I learned something here too. I had in my possession large floral and floral/damask like prints in all the colors that I needed ( I wonder why?). I must at some time have desired to own these, and I have used them in projects past because they were all odd shapes (i.e.: not standard cuts). I think it funny that they are nearly all by different designers (yet all floral/damask), and I had just enough to piece this back. Coincidence? Maybe…… maybe not. I also pieced the back keeping the prints directional. Once done, I realized that the direction was not the way I intended. But I also let that go. I didn't have other fabric to use and those were the pieces that made the back. It is what it is and I am OK with that.

Besides the greater metaphorical putting together the pieces while making this quilt, I  literally picked up the pieces in its making. Pulled them off the floor where they had been sorted into piles by color. I know some people save precious fabric for a dream project, but the other thing I learned is those "precious" scraps are just a piece of fabric. Taken by themselves, they can't keep you warm, offer you comfort or even fill your belly if you're hungry. (I guess if they are precious enough, you could sell them piece by piece), but if you take all those pieces and make them into a quilt you can do all three of those things. You will have created something greater that can give comfort, can keep you warm and in the most desperate times could be sold or traded for food. Something to think on. Something that I won't forget.

Maybe this quilt was destined to happen, maybe I just had to wait long enough for all the pieces to fall into place.

74 x 86"
original design, improv pieced
made entirely from curated print scraps of various ages and makers. Nearly all 100% cotton, a few, cotton/linen blend.
Batting: 100% wool Quilters Dream
Thread: (piecing) Aurifil 50 wt 100% cotton in #2021
             (quilting) Aurifil 40 wt 100% cotton #  bobbin and top thread
Quilting: Bernina modified #4 stitch, stretched 4x, Bernina domestic machine 820.
Binding: scrappy color graded to match negative space, 2" SOG

Monday, February 1, 2016

Flight Path

First finish of 2016.

Flight path
42.5 x 40.5 "
A gift for a sweet baby boy and his mama

Kona cotton solids in (background blues): evening, prussian, navy
                                  (center whites/grays): white, shale, steel
                                  (perimeter): snow, shadow, shale and charcoal

Backing fabric: a single unpieced map print by Jim Holtz for Eclectic Elements: Expedition

The quilting (  completely by accident)  makes a pattern similar to the flight paths of planes. The recipients mom is a big fan of globes and this is a nod to her.

Thread: Aurifil 50 wt top color matched: 2021, 2526, 1158, 6720 and 2780. Bobbin 2021

Quilting: a superb collaboration with stellar suggestions form Christine Perrigo (@ccpquilts) and Shelby Skumanich (@godshomemovies). Curved and straight line, some free hand some drawn, which was a first for me.
quilting extends into borders

curved intersections

Batting: recycled 100% cotton

Binding: Jennifer Sampou "Shimmer" for Robert Kaufman. 2" straight of grain.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Let's Get Linear! Bee Sewcial January 2016

Art by: Muovo, Sunny Todd Prints and David Howard. All are inspiration for January's Theme and Variation Challenge.

Bee sewcial 2016 January

Theme and variations 
This month we shall compose (a quilt not music) by establishing a theme (linear piecing) and then pushing it’s boundaries (the variations). 

Theme: “Linear”, 
Variations: It’s all about the line. Linear improvisational piecing in all its forms. I have provided several examples of what I’m looking for in the inspirational photos by designers David Howard, Muovo, Sunny Todd Pints. This is only a sample of the many possibilities one can envision at the intersection of the line with geometric shape.  I’m certain you can think of many more. Please compose your linear creation(s) so I get the equivalent of 2-12” blocks or 1-12 x 24” block, which ever size platform fits your creation.  These are approximate measurements, so no need to fret the inches as long as when trimming to fit, I’m not trimming off your design.  No raw edge appliqué. One great book for design inspiration and research is “Print & Pattern Geometric, Bowie Style”. 

Composers notes:

  yellows: Kona curry/ochre/butterscotch/yarrow (rich dark yellows)

grays: all are fair game, but please stay away from the darkest grays (charcoal, 
           pepper and black).

neutrals: Kona white/snow/oyster/bone/natural 

           shocking pop of color: in just one area of your design add a shocking pop of    
           color by choosing a medium saturated color in any of the fabrics that fall under  
           the broad spectrum of pinks/ oranges/reds (the Kona color chart has too many   
           choices to mention and all are acceptable).  

I am not posting any sample blocks this year, just inspirational pictures.  Please post all WIP under the #beesewcial and #inspiredbybeesewcial hashtags on IG and on Flickr. Please tag each bee mate as well so no one will miss your feed. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Checking the list and mailing things once

The packages of scraps, selvedges, hexies and orphan blocks are ready to go to their new homes. In the process of finishing a quilt, I "found" a few more so there will be 8 packages on their way.

I need mailing addresses for the following people.

Please send them to me at: spontaneousthreads at gmail dot com

For some of you I only have your "blogger"  name, so please forgive my not calling you by your given name. I am also posting this list on IG. I sincerely hope you all get this message.

Sylvia Shaefer, Aunt TC, Pajtr, Kathy (kayakquilting), Betty (b78ayers), Kathryn (kupitis), Teje and Jodi (gmmeenan).

Thank you all for participating and happy making!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I am so very thankful- a humble give away.

For many, many reasons, this time of the year often brings with it a time for reflection and thanks. I am truly grateful and forever thankful for my family, my friends (near and far), my health; but also for my freedom, and for the gift of life. I have had a safe childhood, warm home. I  live in a country where I chose a profession based on skill and aptitude instead of social standing and gender. My life has had it's twists and turns and it's ups and downs (who's hasn't), but everyday is a day of my own.  I very recently went back to college to teach, but also to learn.  I don't know what the future holds, but the now is pretty awesome.

In celebration of a year of many firsts, and because I am thankful to have been able to reach high and challenge myself, I have some gifts to give. They are humble gifts, but hopefully will spark a project or 2 for their recipients. As I embark on my final quilt of the year, made from very humble beginnings, (all scraps, but prints not solids), I'd like to share, to give back to the community of makers who each and every day offer kind words and encouragement to me and to others.

I have 7 large tyvek envelopes (14 x 10") stuffed with fabric. All scraps, all from my stash, collected over the last 3 years. The bags are loosely curated into the following:
A &B:2 bags- selvedges only
C:1 bag fabric in random shapes and one 6x9" bag stuffed full of selvedges
D:1 bag of already made hexies and many 2 1/2" squares for you to make more, plus one 6x9" bag stuffed full of selvedges
E:1 bag orphan blocks from various projects, lots of  varying sized triangle pieces of fabric and one 6x9" bag stuffed full of selvedges
F:1 bag jelly roll strips (various lengths) and one 6x9" bag stuffed full of selvedges
G:1 bag charm squares and smaller squares and one 6x9" bag stuffed full of selvedges

Most of the fabric scraps are small, but all are usable. They have served me well but now it's time for them to go and be other projects in other makers hands.

I want to give these 7 bags away to 7 people.

All you have to do is leave me a comment and specify in your comment which bag you would prefer (A, B, C, D, E, F, G). I will do my very best to match bags with preferences, knowing that it will likely be impossible for everyone to get their hearts desire. I will select 7 people at random and send you your preferred bag. Please leave one comment per person. If you have a project in mind for these scraps/selvedges, please feel free to share.

That's it. Simple and easy.
Recipients will be announced here and on Instagram on November 17th.

Thank YOU!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Traditional to Modern a Front Range Guild Challenge

There seems to be much interest in looking at our Quilting roots but making them perhaps more relevant to the newer sewing/quilting esthetic that appeals to new and established quilters.

The Front Range Modern Quilt Guild took up the challenge earlier this year with just this thought in mind. Take an older block and make it modern. And just to make it interesting you could only, use black and white (solids/prints and shades within the black and white spectrum) and one other color. Simple right???!!!

I chose a very simple block. The tried and true Split rail. Three equal strip of fabric, often rotated 90" in a single, simple block.

block by phoebemoon
Based on your color choice and placement the secondary design comes into play.
So, 3 colors to work with, a simple block with 3 strips of fabric.
Now, toss them in the air and maybe vary the length and width of said strips and you get…..

Modern Spelunking ( the name derives from the fact that when all was said and done, the placement and the design reminds me a bit of the stalactites and stalagmites you see in caves)

53 x 48.5"

I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could work with transparency without strict measurements. I did sketch the design roughly on graph paper to get the proportions correct, but did not add any numerical measurements;  the actual construction of the quilt was done on the fly. I did end up with some spectacular failed attempts at getting those transparency sections to work, and I did make my life a little bit harder by having many of the sections at angles, and not the same angles to boot. But that made the whole process  a bit more interesting and very satisfying in the end.

Front, no flash
Front, with flash
The nano particle fabric reads bright white
Top: 100% quilting cotton; Kona snow, black, caribbean, breakers, and retroreflective nano particle fabric.
Back: IKEA 100% cotton bedding

Threads: Aurifil 100% cotton, 50 wt in 2021, 4241, 2810. Superior metallic in peacock blue

Binding: 2" SOG, kona snow

Quilting: straight line and FMQ triangles. Matchstick quilting focally

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sewing the Arlberg

Basting complete, top
The grays make the pattern move
A gift to two wonderful people. A thank you for two years of service to the club.

Quilt Front
Quilt Back

70 x 70"
Quilted with a Modified #4 stitch; Bernina domestic machine
Threads: assorted off white to medium blues, various manufacturers
100% cotton warn and natural batting
2" SOG binding
100% quilting cottons top and back. Top, all Kona cotton in grays and blues

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Houston 2015

Kind of self explanatory, I have a quilt, "Embers" hanging in the Modern Quilt Guilds Special Exhibit at the International Quilt Festival this year. I also am fortunate enough to have been part of another quilt hanging in the same exhibit, one made by 22 talented ladies from the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild, called "Twisted Sisters Quilt" a Modern update of the Game of Twister. After Houston both quilts will be traveling to QuiltCon Pasadena, in February of 2016.