The Boston Modern Quilt Guild has quite a few quilts on display at the Morse Institute Library in Natick, MA until the end of December.
We had to put the show together quickly so I grabbed some of my latest creations for consideration. Four of my quilts are on display. 3 of the 4 are Minnies and 3 of them are improv quilts. Definitely having fun playing with improv these days.
Here is another project that I recently finished. This quilt uses 3 panels. Two of the panels are cut into strips with background fabric using the Ricky Tims Convergence block technique.
I will eventually be teaching the process in a workshop at Quilters Common in Wakefield, but for now the pattern is available at the shop, or you can purchase a digital version of the pattern in my etsy shop.
I quilted this with a pantograph. The one I used is called flames, but I loaded the quilt on my longarm frame so that the panto actually looks like clouds/waves to complement the panel.
I have been playing with improv blocks and arranging them together to make placemats. This is going to be a workshop at Quilters Common in Wakefield, MA as soon as we can be comfortable and safe in the cozy classroom area there. It is a fun way to introduce folks to improv if they haven’t tried it yet.
I meant to do a post to celebrate winning a best long arm quilting award from the Spring Mancuso show. The show was virtual so this involved sending them photos for judging. This is the Quilt I made for Tom which is discussed further in this previous post.
I am taking a virtual quilting workshop that is basically a lot of fun, BUT, the instructor is relying on the traditional Red, Yellow and Blue color wheel for choosing the colors to use in our quilts.
For example, I randomly chose Tetrad Blue. So, I made an improv quilt with two sets of complimentary colors: Blue/Orange and Red-Violet/Yellow-Green. The idea was to start with monochromatic blocks with different values of the colors and then mix them all together. The mixing proved too chaotic and I felt it was a non-harmonic clashing mess. So rather than merge it all together, I softened the look with negative space and came up with this:
And I ended up liking it. Sometimes I even love it. It definitely looks better in person.
Next up was a small minimalistic quilt. I tried working with the color wheel but ultimately the blue fabric I picked seemed to look really interesting with the yellow and yellow green fabrics I pulled out of my stash. But, even though I thought it all looked okay together, I could not make it work on the color wheel. I pulled out my Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool by Joen Wolfrom and still could not justify the use of my colors. Regardless, I decided to use the colors:
Maybe improv is not your thing, but I do think the colors work, and it was a fun time putting it together. And, yes, it went beyond minimalistic, but never mind about that!
So I began wondering about the use of the color wheel for quilting. Should I be relying on it to pick “complimentary” colors? Do orange and blue go together? Here is an article I came across: https://blog.asmartbear.com/color-wheels.html
If you read through the article you will see alternative color wheels. Both the wheel based on light and the one based on the CMYK printing ink (process color) show yellow across from or complimenting blue, rather than orange. And, that is what I did in my second quilt.
If I had followed the traditional mixing color wheel I would have had a violet and yellow quilt.
There is a lot of discussion regarding the traditional color wheel and its shortcomings. Here is another article: https://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color13.html. I have not read through the entire discussion, but the point it this: the Wheel is controversial! My favorite quote from that article is this: “Experienced artists learn to use the color wheel as a compass to color improvisation“
I also have another tool that my friend Peggy Anne recommended years ago, The Color Scheme Bible by Anna Starmer. She used this to put quilt kits together for her shop for years with great success. I did not find any schemes that featured Orange and Blue in Anna’s book.
Each block will be a 12″ block (12 1/2″ with seam allowances). It will consist of four 6″ (6 1/2″ with seam allowances) improv blocks.
Start out with four 8″ squares of fabric, two light and two dark. Use fabrics that will all work together. Also have two, three or four 8″ long strips of contrasting fabrics that are between 1″ to 1 1/2″ wide.
Layer each light fabric with a dark fabric, both sides UP! Then slice through each set, being careful not to slice too close to the edges. Next swap the fabric pieces in each pair to set up four blocks.
The next thing to do is add in the strips … or not! Plan to add a strip to at least two of the four blocks. Decide for yourself how many of the four you want to put strips into, and also decide how many blocks you want to slice twice, as shown below.
Not adding a strip? Just sew the two pieces for that block together. If you are adding a strip then go ahead and sew it to the edge of one of the pieces, and then sew the other piece on. If you happen to have cut a curve when slicing, just straighten it out when you are sewing the strip in.
Then go ahead and trim the blocks you are finished with. I trimmed three of the four. Trim the blocks to 6 1/2″
I am going to slice the fourth block again and then add a strip to it. When piecing this block you are going to want to try and line up the seams from the first slice. Just hold the seam down 1/4″ in with your thumb and flip the fabric over to see if it looks like it will line up. No worries if not perfect! No one will notice with so much going on in these blocks! Press your seams towards the strip, and then trim to 6 1/2″.
Once you have your four blocks completed play around with how you want to arrange them and then sew the four blocks together into a 12 1/2″ block. Here is my completed block:
I am asking everyone in our circle to make two 12 1/2″ blocks. One of the blocks should be predominantly cool colors (purple, blue, green), and the other should be warm (red, orange, yellow).
Here are the rest of the blocks I made to give you an idea of the different ways you can slice your blocks and arrange them.
Tom asked if I knew anyone who would be interested in making a quilt with his collection of ties. Who me, did I know someone? So, of course, I am now making quilts out of silk ties. I had to practice with Bob’s before I would commit to taking on Tom’s Ties.
Here is what I came up with for Bob.
The plan for Tom’s Ties is a little different:
Here is what I have so far for Tom:
If you are working with silk in a quilt it is best to stabilize the fabric somehow. You can use a fusible interfacing for this. I have used a light weight fusible woven interfacing with silk in the past. For this quilt I decided to paper piece the blocks, as the paper provides stability. The other thing I decided to do was to spray the silk with Best Press, which worked great and did not harm the fabric.
Keep in mind that silk ties are not dye fast. They bleed like crazy, so be careful with the steam on your iron and when all is put together DO NOT WASH THIS QUILT IN WATER. The only safe way to clean a silk quilt is vacuuming it!
Jane Stickle finished her quilt in 1863. People are still enchanted and challenged by her unique quilt blocks. Even with all of my modern gadgets and fancy machines I still had a lot to learn from Jane. Could not have managed to get through all of the blocks without help from the Jane Stickle Group lead by Pat Kowalczyk at Quilters Common, which met for 4 years starting in 2013.
Checkerboard Skew Revisited, 2020
In 1973 Beth Gutcheon included this design in her book “The Perfect Patchwork Primer”. This book inspired quilters to take a fresh look at quilting and her designs are still making us ask what is a modern quilt and showing how timeless modern is.
Seeing Red, 2020
Are you seeing a red and white quilt? This is actually a pink and white quilt, but color is often a matter of opinion. The design is based on a half scale Fibonacci sequence used to determine the width of strips used. I borrowed Ricky Tims Convergence technique and sewed the strips together, rotated and then cut strips again.
During the pandemic I found myself trying a virtual workshop. I took Mid Century Modern with Carole Lyles Shaw. This is improv to the max. You start out with a big pieced circle and then you just keep slicing, relocating and adding. I posted my progress online and Carole commented that I should keep slicing! At some point I was satisfied with my slicing and this is the stormy result.
Process Color, 2019
I wanted to work with the four colors of ink that I am always feeding my printer to see how bold they might look together. I had been playing with the Ricky Tims Convergence Quilts style so I went from there and here is the result.
I am working with a group of ladies in the do.Good Stitches Hope circle of quilters. We are an online community working through Instagram and Flickr to design and share quilt blocks. I designed this quilt, collected the blocks and put this quilt together. It is always amazing how the quilts come together with just a little bit of prompting for fabric selection. The rainbow of colors gives us all hope for less cloudy days ahead.
The following contributed blocks to this quilt: Sherryl Barnum, Jeanine Conner, Angie Fitzreiter, Heather Flegel, Cath Hall, Christie Kline, Suzy Lampman, Susan McKinney, Jennifer Mendola, Sarah Terry
Garden Trellis, 2020
This is another one of my Stack and Wack quilts with a new more complicated block that makes the quilt look like a Garden Trellis. I have a pattern for this quilt and was scheduled to teach it at Quilters Common, but then suddenly everything changed. Hopefully I can get back to teaching classes later this year!
And here are two Group Quilts that the BMQG have put together:
“Orange You Glad We Made This Quilt?” and “Shattered” are group quilts created through distanced and virtual togetherness. The design process began with a group brainstorming in a park. Participants then made curvy starter-blocks using materials provided by the guild, followed by a virtual workshop where the starter-blocks were altered by random prompts. The improvised blocks were brought together at a backyard design session where two quilt designs emerged. Although the two quilts were made from improvisational blocks that were essentially the same, the resulting quilts were very different. The process was truly collaborative and fun.
Orange You Glad We Made This Quilt?, 2020, Long Arm Quilting by Rebecca Loren
Shattered, 2020, Long Arm Quilting by Patrice Denault