Saturday, July 25, 2015

Accentuating the Negative: Dark Shadows

"I myself an made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions"- Augusten Burroughs

"Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts"- Winston Churchill

A story of making the most of your flaws.

The piecing of linear scraps and black batting accentuate the seams. The seed stitching adds depth

Truth: I've been lucky on 2 separate occasions with 2 different quilts to have a "negative" judging comment of: Dark fabric shadowing under lighter fabric. Yes, you read correctly, lucky to have received a constructive critique. Lucky because I used that critique to challenge myself to take that perceived "flaw" and make it a design feature. I mean why not, I'm obviously very good at it. I've done it twice- OK likely more than twice, but these 2 quilts had a judge looking at them. So instead of wallowing in self doubt, why not grab the shadows and bring them into the spotlight?
Can you see me now? The seams become design feature instead of design flaw.

Coincidence: A Front Range Modern Quilt Guild challenge to take a traditional block and make it modern.

Lucky me: I have clever quilty friends. We talk, we share…. we encourage and support.

Personal Goals Revisited: for 2015 I have several, 2 of which entail making quilts entirely from scraps.

Cooking up a storm: There is great Truth in Personal Coincidence, Lucky me. Using already cut scrap fabric strips, and  keeping within the Guild challenge guideline (black (any shade)/white (ditto) and 1 other color), and having a great sounding board- off I went to do my own thing. I pieced, awkward angles
awkward angles and a few Y seams
as well as straight seams. I cobbled batting from scraps as well and mustered some courage to try my hand at hand quilting. I incorporated 2014 (metallic) and 2015 (nano particle fabric) idea trends and ended up with a little quilt with a lot to say.

I was pleased with my interpretation of flying geese. What I hadn't expected was the secondary pattern that also emerged of log cabins, and a new found love of dark shadows.

Quilt front

Title: Dark Shadows, Derived Inspiration, No. 5
30 x 22"
Improv with intent, original design.
Fabric: Top: Kona scraps in white, snow, black, coal, medium gray, shadow, curry, saffron, nano particle fabric.
             Back: Black and white dots by Allison Glass
Thread: Aurifil #2021, 50 wt.;  Superior Threads Metallic in silver, Marathon metallic in white and black; embroidery floss in white and gray.
Quilting: straight line, near matchstick, focal FMQ
both cotton (Aurifil) and metallic (Superior and Marathon) threads were used

Guild challenge: Traditional to Modern: flying geese, log cabin
Batting: Quilters Dream black, 100% polyester scraps.
Labeling: Versatranz reflective heat press- Spontaneous Threads

New to me: hand embroidery, seed stitch both on quilt and on a portion of the binding.

even the binding got some hand stitching.

Black batting to accentuate the seaming. A small quilt. (Most of my quilts are much bigger).

I ran out of "white" scraps. I guess gray will do!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

On being Uncomfortable

One of several overriding themes this year for the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild was to try things outside your quilting "box" to stretch your skills, to be "uncomfortable". We told the guild members, any thing they made throughout this process that they weren't thrilled with, or that they didn't like enough to try again, we would take and incorporate into charity quilts for the the Guild.

So far this year, 2 quilts have been made from donated blocks. Much of the donated fabric comes from Pink Door Fabrics.
Three of us took donated blocks and pieced the tops. It took us one day to get 2 tops plus backs pieced and ready for quilting.
Selecting the blocks to use

The quilt top coming together.
Lots of "Y" seams
We made a few additional blocks to make the top cohesive.

Quilt top done!
Second Quilt top pieced.
Yes, some people have seen a secondary (unintentional) image here.

 Susan Santestevan did the quilting. The quilts are gorgeous.

auditioning the binding in Susan's studio
So, beauty from scraps. It can be done. These 2 quilts will go to the local police department and will be put in patrol cars responding to domestic violence calls where there are children known to be present.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Binding 2.0 , Please Hold Math Against Me

Normally I don't fuss much with math while I'm quilting. It gets me into trouble more times than not. I'm not afraid of math, I just like to use it when I need it, not any more or any less.

But there is one time when, to me math makes a whole lot of sense.

Tight, neat, just right, binding.

One of my friends (Thank you Hillary for asking the important questions)  recently asked the "how wide do you cut  your binding" on Instagram and I was surprised at the variety of answers.

So here is my take on Math and Binding.
Simple binding in progress, clover clips in place, ready to go

99.9% of the time, I cut my binding strips at 2", straight of grain. Some times I cut them on the bias, but I still cut them 2" wide.

Sometime I get "fancy" and piece/ embellish my binding,
hand stitched binding

binding with inset seam (retroreflective fabric)

Binding with double inset seam

Embellished binding

pieced/matched binding

inset seaming and binding

pieced binding, tiny inset fabric pieces can be used with ease. It's a great way to use scraps.
BUT, I still cut them 2" wide.

Let me tell you why: AKA the "math".

If you cut fabric strips 2" wide x WOF, fold in half, length wise, wrong sides together, raw edges matching and press, you'll have a folded binding strip 1" in width.
Then sew your binding strip to quilt top, matching raw edges, using a 1/4" seam.
When you bring the binding to the back, you've doubled the binding over the sewn 1/4" seam (on the top) leaving you about 1/2" of binding to fold over the raw edge of the quilt (which is about 1/8" thick) and cover your machine stitching on the back, which is (ha) 1/4" from the raw edge.
Neat, small hand stitching (with blind hem stitch, makes the application tot he back nearly invisible).

If you've done this, you end up with a beautiful 1/4" binding on the front, and just over a 1/4" binding strip on the back.  The binding is snug to the quilt  ( I guess judges LOVE this).  And your binding on the front and the back are essentially the same width give or take a millimeter or 2.
Quilt front at top, quilt back middle, quilt top, bottom.
The binding is Kona snow. The binding width, same, front and back.

Since I often piece my backs, I like to treat the composition of the back as an alternate front. I like my binding to be the same on the front and the back.

 I'm not saying this is the ONLY way to do binding. Or even the right way to do binding, it's just my way…... binding, tight, neat and just right.

To read more about the quilts featured here, click on the My Quilts tab at the top of my blog!