Category Archives: Non-traditional Quilts

All the choices!

Yesterday I had a clean slate on the design wall and time to play. I thought I’d start some big new art project  or at least transform an old project into some cool new art piece. I looked through piles of stuff that had been sitting on the shelves.

Selected a queen size top to get ready for basting and decided that it could wait until warm weather. Then I can set up several tables in the garage, spread the thing out and make it easy on myself. Went through all the other tops in that stack–nothing spoke to me, but I don’t have as many waiting as I thought–only 8 or 9, not the 17 I thought were there! I guess I have managed to reduce the stack a bit over the years. I have sent a few out to longarmers!

On another shelf, packed neatly away in it’s own little bag, with all the extra fabric, was a quilt I had started in a workshop. I liked the fabric quite a bit, but never quite got back to finish it. By the time I got everything out of the bag and looked it over, I figured I might as well make it a useful size and at least add it to the stack waiting to be quilted!

As I looked over the parts, I remembered part of the reason I packed it away. It was one of those mystery patterns, and you put squares over the end of the rectangle and sewed it and trimmed it to make the triangle at the end…and I did that with the wrong fabrics right at the start. I hate the wastefulness of that, but I did it–and with the right fabrics–and got the thing put together.

I spent most of the afternoon putting together those little cut off triangles because I couldn’t stand to throw them away! They were mostly a little bit different in sizes but I persevered and got them together well enough to use for a little border.

It was frustrating at first, but after a while I slowed down, let go of the frustration and it became a relaxing, repetitive exercise.

And I’m going to use those blue and blue ‘wrong’ rectangles for another border. It will simply read as blue and it will be fine.

And I will be happy because I’m using up that wasted fabric, the top will be a good sized throw and one more project will be out of it’s bag and on it’s way to a useful life!

Not what I thought I’d be doing at all, but simple and relaxing are often the best things for you, in spite of yourself!

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Filed under Non-traditional Quilts, Fabric, Thinking About Quilting!, Color, Use Up the Stash

Workshop fun day

Today was a guild workshop day, with Mary Hogan. Mary wrote the book String Quilt Style, but today’s workshop wasn’t about her great string techniques. Today was a free design play day and I loved it!

Many design classes teach the typical art school design definitions and use many of the same type of exercise. Very clear but can be dry at times. Mary gave us tasks and let us ‘free form design’…she wanted to enable us to express our own unique creativity.

I did not take pictures of what anyone else created. I didn’t even take pictures of everything I created! We were too busy MAKING stuff!!!

This was my first one. Then busy, busy, busy! The great variety and beauty was astonishing as the day went on and pieces were hung on the wall. We did our own thing, yes, but we looked and learned and discussed what we saw. We were able to think outside the box and get ideas from outside every else’s box, too!

These are my last pieces…a series because I used the same background fabric and palette of materials. I like it and that first one enough that they will be finished, not thrown in the box of class samples that just sit and gather dust!

This was such a wonderfully fun day. Thanks to Mary’s direction and instruction, we learned, laughed and had a great day!

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Filed under Designing Quilts, Learning New Things!, Non-traditional Quilts

Rusty finish.

Quick post because I actually finished something!

This is very neutral and soothing to me, but because of the wonkiness of the angles and construction style, it will never, ever look like it’s hanging straight. That won’t bother me, but it could drive some people crazy!

This will post while I’m taking a design class, for the pure fun of it. Looking forward to another happy day!

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Filed under Art Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts, Thinking About Quilting!

Rusty, from start to finish

My intention when I went into the studio today was to use up some of my stash and make a polka-dot quilt. I never even touched the polka-dots! I got sidetracked by rusty fabric and discharged black…a whole pile of it.

I’ve been wanting to make something with this for a long time. There is easily enough fabric for a whole, real bed quilt, but I have not found a pattern or idea that I’m happy with. So, the hell with all this wishy-washy procrastination…pick up the fabric and cut into it…make something!!!!

Four light squares, four dark squares, about 8″ or so.

Four separate stacks and four separate cuts, simply to have them all different. Certainly I could have stacked them all up, but…

Now remember that the pieces and curves fit together perfectly before they are sewn.

But when you are sewing without added seam allowances, the edges SHOULD NOT line up.

Start with 8 squares, end with 8 squares and I decided to make them into split-circle blocks, sort of!

And added random red-orange strips between the quarters. And those uneven edges are simple to sew by laying the straight edge of the strip along that uneven edge and sew.

Trim now or trim later…it doesn’t matter. There’s always a lot of that when you are doing improv. I was deliberately trying to keep seams from matching and all the edges uneven. Sometimes thing match by accident, though!

I made a couple more blocks and then auditioned fabrics for setting the blocks together.

Red–too cliche.

Aha–frame each block, as unevenly as possible with the rust and black fabrics! I like it!

Ready for basting and quilting!

The outside edges will probably get trimmed a bit more after the quilting, to keep them the same size as the inner edges. Now to agonize for a while over what color thread to use for the quilting, and how to quilt it!

It was a good day in the studio today, even though no polka-dots made it off the shelves!

 

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Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Designing Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts

Once again…where to now?

The fact that I have no chores to do and time to sew is wonderful! My fingers are still sore, but my calluses are coming back and my fingertips will soon be tough as nails again!

The constant dilemna–and delight!– of my life is figuring out the next step in each project as I do it.

This is as far as I have come with my last little triangle undertaking.

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I like this embroidery detail on my circle holes and I’ve used it before, with additional stitching and beads.

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Those details don’t feel necessary for this project, but I’m not sure which direction to head in for the next part of the journey.

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There is a lot of empty space in this one and I’m thinking that while it may need filling, it should be simple stitching, probably only a running stitch. Matching colors? Perhaps. Beads within the circles? Only there? Maybe.

Have several days in the car to think about it…since I can’t work or read in the car without getting carsick. Love those audio books!

And I’ll be desperately working on finishing the project-that-I can’t-show, so you may not see these again for a little while. I WILL show you the finishes, though, I promise! And, of course, I always enjoy your suggestions.

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Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Handwork, Non-traditional Quilts, surface design

Progress is being made

Taught Rule Breaking Quilts at Friendship Knot Quilt Guild today and thought I’d show you pictures of pieces from starts to almost finishes! There are a couple that I just did not get photos of, but sometimes people pull the pieces off the design wall to actually get them assembled and then I miss the opportunity!

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As often as I have taught this, I am always amazed at how different each piece is. Totally unique in both construction and the artistic expressions of each student. I’m so grateful that I get to do this!

Tomorrow is Quick Start Quilting and Monday is Your Design Here. Two more days of fantastic fun for me…and work, work, work for these women! I do hope they are having fun, too!

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Filed under Color, Designing Quilts, Learning New Things!, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilting, Teaching Quilting

Facings and holes again!

The subject of making holes in a block–on purpose–has come up again! I wrote about how I make them here, here and here but I’ll give it another go with my current pile of scraps…just because someone asked how to do it and I really, really want to use up those scraps! I’ll try to keep it short and illustrate with pictures, but it’s quite easy to do.

WHY would you want to do something like this when it’s so much easier to fuse on a shape or applique it? Well, sometimes you don’t want the stiffness of the fusible or you don’t like to applique or you might like the added texture of the facing as a frame. Or it’s fun and different…

I had some leftover triangle blocks and will demo with those. First thing is to choose a shape and get it on a piece of fabric that will be your facing. The facing fabric will not show, unless you really want it to and press it that way.

facing-1

Place your facing fabric on the right side of your block and sew all around it on the line.

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You will then cut out the hole, inside the line, pull the facing to the wrong side and press it down.

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Circles need to have the seam allowance clipped all the way around. Squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. only need to be clipped in the corners, but right up to the last couple of threads in that corner!

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Once it’s pressed, you are ready to audition fabrics behind your hole. The piece of fabric you choose only needs to be large enough to cover whatever hole you have made.

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After that, you get to decide how you are going to make that fabric stay where you want it. Sometimes I reach into my jar of fusible scraps and fuse them to the facing. Then I throw on the hole fabric and it’s all fused together, waiting for the next step.

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facing-8

Sometimes I use a glue stick, or glue baste or liquid thread. I almost never use pins and if your hole is no larger than these (the whole block size here is about 7.5″) you probably don’t need anything but your final solution. And that’s where the fun begins!

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You can do any number of things to your lovely little holey block! I used one of the built-in stitches on my machine and a metallic thread here. I’m not 100% sure that it’s gonna stay that way! But since the fabric isn’t fused, even if I rip this out the holes will close up with a little spritz and ironing.

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I love to embroider and bead around my openings and so I created this piece.

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And that’s why the subject of holes in quilts came up again! I’ll be showing everyone in my Creative Seasons art group how to do this Monday evening. We’ve had it demo’d to us before, but if you don’t do something right away, you forget how to do it! Or what you see in a demo doesn’t appeal to you or have any relevance until further down the line…I know that I’m going to have fun with these small blocks and their little holes! And there will not be one little scrap left when these are finished!

 

 

 

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Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilting