Thursday 25 May 2017

A Quilt is not a Pillow

After I made this pillow for my friend I knew I wanted to make a quilt out of the fabrics I selected. The selection was challenging, but I managed to make the pillow look good and somehow the fabrics all worked together.

I was aiming for a strip/ coin quilt because I loved the look of the pillow but as I cut my fabrics and arranged them at the design wall I quickly became aware: A Quilt is not a Pillow!

What worked so well on a small scale just wouldn't look good in bigger pieces. I just didn't like the way it looked.

I wanted to even arrange the fabrics more randomly and in different widths but that didn't work at all. So I stuck with an even width of 12.5" for each strip.

I had the layout up on my design wall for quite some and stared at it. I remembered what I heard in the QuiltCon lectures and so I was identifying what I liked and what I didn't like and why.

I first identified the different types of fabrics I was using.

These are the high volume fabrics. All very saturated in different colours. The prints are sometimes very busy with stark contrasts.

These are mid volume fabrics but they are also very calming. There is hardly any colour difference in the print itself. I used these for some kind of neutrals in between busy prints.

These are the low volume prints (well, maybe apart from the second from the left). These fabrics are light in colour and low in volume despite the prints on them.

I have seen pictures like this in books before but I think for the very first time in my quilt making process I truly understood the use of so many different prints and the visual impact they have on a quilt. I guess you can read colour and volume theories as often as you like; if you haven't experienced it yourself you haven't truly understood it.

I also identified which fabrics didn't work in the mix:

I love those fabrics, but they are just too busy in the mix. The colour difference in the print is very stark and all in all too busy for what I was aiming for. I'm sure I will use these beauties in a different project in the future though!

So, here is a detailed before and after shot:

Before: Busy, too busy for my taste.

After removing the two too busy fabrics: Better! Amazing what a little change can do to an overall appearance!

After the photos I also removed the lovely turquoise/ white stripy fabric under the BlockM logo. Too busy.

I carefully selected fabrics for each row and there was also a lot of editing towards the end where I would take out strips and replace them with others to achieve a visually pleasing design.

The quilt top is finished an I'm very happy how it turned out. This quilt truly was a challenge but I have learned so much! I also had fun, so I came up with the name 'Playground' for the quilt not only because I used some of the beautiful fabrics designed by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics called 'Playground'.

I also love that now I look at the same fabrics than my friend when she looks at her pillow!

Saturday 20 May 2017

Pantone Quilt 2017 - Nature's Neutral

This is my first time taking part in the Pantone Quilt Challenge and I'm quite excited about it!

My first idea was a string quilt with very bright greens, yellows and blues. But then, one morning I looked at my Pantone mug and changed my mind.

I quickly sketched a block design which is inspired by this very iconic Pantone look:
A solid colour with the Pantone colour number in black in a white box below.

That was so much better than a string block!  

For the black colour numbers I picked four different graphic black and white fabrics. I paired each green with a different b/w fabric. 

To support this very graphic quilt design I wanted to quilt simple straight lines. My sewing machine gave me some head aches though as the fabric shifted so much and distorted the blocks that I decided to quilt it on the longarm.

I opted for a light grey thread colour similar to the solid background and quilted densely 1/4" apart. For the batting I used Quilters Dream Poly, which was in my goodie bag I got at QuiltCon. I normally use cotton batting or a cotton blend, but for this quilt I didn't want any crinkles so I gave the Poly batting a try. The quilt lays nice and flat so the little advertising in the QuiltCon goodie bag actually worked! I think I might use that again for similar purposes.

Since the topic of this year's Pantone colour is 'Greenery' I at least used some very floral fabric for the back. And you know what? For the very first time ever I hand sewed my binding! I have always sewed it with the machine, I guess it needed Katie Pedersen and Marla Varner who kindly showed me at my recent workshop at Katie's lovely Seattle studio how to do hand binding. So thank you, you two!! And surprisingly I loved it! Took me two hours for approx. 100" but that can only get better I suppose!

My husband recently spotted this awesome new graffiti at a tram station close to our home. I attached double sided tape to the back of the quilt and stuck it to the wall. Worked really well!

I am entering this mini quilt into the Pantone Quilt Challenge, link to vote here.
Voting opens May 29 2017.

Quilt stats:
Name: Nature's Neutral
Size: 29 x 21.5"
Solid fabrics: Kona Solids in Peridot, Basil, Chartreuse, Grass Green and Silver
Binding fabric: Black/White cross hatch Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufmann

Friday 5 May 2017

Cosy Comfort - My first finished Bee Quilt

My first ever Bee Quilt is finished!

The blocks were already made as I was Queen Bee in January/ February 2016 and it took me until now (over a year later... aham) to finally get it finished.

I picked the beautiful Amsterdam quilt block designed by Holly DeGroot for Cloud9 Fabrics and let my Bees do what they wanted. Here is the free download link for the pattern.

I added sashing in low volume fabrics, quilted in loopy loops with beautiful Aurifil 40wt in colour '2600 Dove', which always works so well when you have lots of different colours in a quilt.  And I finished the quilt with this quirky orange/ green stripy binding.

For the back I opted for a very colourful fabric with floral prints. I had asked my Bees at the time to include a white 3" square block with their names on it. I framed each of the name blocks in a different solid colour and added it in the back of the quilt.

I love this quilt so much and will keep it. My aim is though to give all other bee quilts away, either to friends or to charity. But this very first one is a keeper!

Thank you so much, Quilty Circle of  Bees, for all your beautiful blocks!
 Alison, Claudia, Magda, Melanie and Yara


The quilt finishes at 1,26 x 1,80m (50 x 70") and has the perfect lap size.