Monday, December 9, 2019

Overlapping Octagons is finished.

Following Sujata's challenge in January to replicate one of the quilts in the book "Unconventional and Unexpected, American quilts under the radar", by Roderick Kiracofe, I made the Overlapping Octagons.

Instead of continuing with hourglass blocks at the intersections of the octagons as I did for the first few blocks, I took the fabric of the "sashing" further to form the point. The hour glass blocks gave very bulky seams at the corners of the red pieces but now there is less bulk but more Y-seams!

The original quilt was pieced by hand and I think that if I had done that I may have been finished sooner. Slow going as it was I'm glad I persevered; I'm quite comfortable with Y-seams now!

I quilted the red squares with various FMQ designs, and varying degrees of success! In the "sashing" I followed the seam lines to avoid losing the shape of the octagons. In my view that has worked well and they stand out nicely.
fabrics: scraps from stash
measurements: 38" x 44"
pieced with Aurifil 50 wt light grey
quilted with Aurifil 40 wt dark blue, dark red and bright red.
Now I'm going to look into the book again and see which quilt I would like to make next! 

Happy sewing


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

September Maple Leaves....on the wall!

September seemed to call for a Maple Leaf quilt....especially since I had been eyeing the quilts in the "Unconventional & Unexpected" book  by Kiracofe and found one which intrigued me made in PA by an 'unknown quilter'.....more's the pity for there being no signature. I love the new improv quilts but I also like using well-loved traditional quilt patterns and making my own version of those familiar blocks that have been around forever. It feels fitting and proper to add to the quilt story with one's own humble version of the tried and true....a joining up with the sisterhood!

I chose smaller calico-like prints from my stash and dug deeper into my older fabrics. It's always such a pleasure to place an 'older' fabric in a quilt and give it a reason for being! I took my cues from the inspiration quilt (below) but didn't use any stripes or plaids like this quilt maker did. I also did not add that unexpected strip of  bright red on one side. My blocks seemed to call for a softer green border. My quilt is approximately 51 1/2" x 51 1/2". The inspiration quilt is 65" x 68" and notice how there is binding on three sides but not on the fourth! There is definitely a story with that added strip of red but we'll never know! Ah...the mysteries....

I machine quilted it in horizontal wavy lines and pieced a large maple leaf for the backing.

And I didn't forget the signature!

And now the completion of  this Maple Leaf has me eyeing yet another Maple Leaf quilt in another exciting book full of inspiration:  "Signs and Symbols: African Images in African-American Quilts" by Maude Southwell Wahlman.

And I find myself thinking hmmm......

Friday, November 1, 2019

Thirty blocks pinned on the wall for UANDUQAL

Target reached with the blocks and now on to sewing and the
borders on.
A rough photo here I'm afraid, blocks just roughly pinned on the design wall.

I should be back during the week with a finished top - fingers crossed!
Excuse the very, very short post but I have a visitor just arrived.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Conundrum - The Quilt

Conundrum is finished!

Measures 30" wide x 42" long

Created using the cut off corners 
from the blocks for Optic Strings.

Layout inspired by the "String Grid" quilt on page 22
of Roderick Kiracofe's Unconventional and Unexpected.

This is my first finish for Sujata's U and U QAL.

Backing is by Keiko Goke ("stripe plaid")

I used the one leftover triangle to create a label.

Quilted with Affinity variegated Rainbow thread
(with Glide Bark in the bobbin)
using my unmarked liberated free motion all-over fans.

And here is where Conundrum will live
for the foreseeable future -
what you see when you first step through
the door to my design studio.

And this is the view as you leave the design studio.

* * *

There are three more UandU quilt tops to be quilted.

Sooner rather than later, I hope.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Optic Strings and Conundrum - Two Flimsies

Optic Strings - the flimsy 

48" x 64"

Inspired by "Aunt Etta's" string quilt on page 135
of Unconventional and Unexpected.

Pieced using Moda solids and reproduction prints.

You can read the complete reveal post on my blog HERE.

Conundrum - the flimsy

30.5" x 42"

Pieced using the corners cut from Optic String's strip sets.

Layout inspired by "String With Grid" on page 22
of Unconventional and Unexpected.

You can read the full reveal post on my blog
by clicking HERE and scrolling down a post or two.

* * *

The U and U QAL has been so interesting.
Thanks, Sujata for posing this challenge!

With four quilt tops waiting to be quilted,
I think I'm "done" with the challenge for now . . . 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

And still the blocks keep on coming for UANDUQAL

I'm slowly moving towards the finish line with my blocks 
"Cross"/Four Patch
with another five shown below.

I'm looking forward to having all 30 blocks on the design wall
and spending time arranging.

It may be next week before I'm at that stage due to a
 bout of tendonitis in my forearm!

I'm having such a lot of fun playing with the colour in these blocks and
intend to spend a little time soon looking for another
inspirational quilt from the U and U book.

More next week - have a happy weekend.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Yet more blocks for UANDUQAL

Yes folks,  a few more blocks from me and only 12 more
needed to meet my target of 30.

Can't wait to get all these up on the design wall, play with
placement and begin sewing rows.

There's a bit of mix here, murky colours and two somewhat lighter in colour
with one being definitely bright with that zigzag outer border.

Must hurry now and cut more fabric!!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

More blocks for Unconventional and Unexpected

At last, back to my blocks for the quilt inspired by
"Cross"/Four Patch!!

It's been so long since I made any progress so here is a photo
of the quilt 

Now, most folk know I love bright and bold, the more colour
the better for me.

So, I had made a few blocks way back in January which then languished
in the studio. It was time to get busy and make some progress.

Made in the past two days the ones below are bolder than the group
mentioned above, and I had a ball making them!!
I'm going to continue on using KF Collective, AMH anda few fabrics from 
other designers presently giving us the sort of fabrics I love.

Those of you who follow my blog will be seeing these
for the second time I'm afraid!

Now I'm not going for the size of the quilt in the photo,
I think probably five across and six down with the blocks being
11" finished and a decision on whether to border, as the original,
or not, will come when all blocks are up on the wall.
Meanwhile I'm looking through the book trying to pick out
which quilt would be next in line!

Optic Geese Has a New Name - CONUNDRUM

These are the trimmed-away corner triangles
from this week's batch of Optic String blocks.

These trimmings have turned into a second project
for the #UandU quilt challenge.

Initially named Optic Geese,
I have now renamed this quilt-to-be

Read on and you'll see why.

Same parts sewn together into pairs and 
randomly plopped on the design wall.

This is the new inspiration quilt
from Unconventional and Unexpected.
(click here for that story)

A quick side note for those who have asked.

I am using this large triangle ruler
to cut away the sewn on corners
from the previously shared flying geese blocks.

I am not unstitching all those corners.

Here are a few more blocks on the design wall
with spaces added for future sashing and cornerstones.

Interesting to see how the different colors
appear to create such different patterns
when reduced to black and white.

Same blocks but in a different arrangement.

Again in black and white.

This has possibilities, 
but I need to work with it some more.

Checked the inspiration quilt in black and white
(phone photo of the computer screen)
to help reassure myself I'm on the right track.

And then . . . 

it happened again . . . 

What if I turn the squares on point?!?

And what if I mix up the colors
instead of keeping them in pairs?!?

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Evolution of an Idea (or how my mind works)

This IG post by Edith aka piecing passion 
recently caught my eye.

I love the red cornerstones, 
the scrappy sashing, 
and the wide possibilities for fabric choices.

When I asked, Edith shared that this IG post
was her inspiration so  I spent the next hour or so 
with pencil and graph paper to see if I could 
come up with dimensions that worked for me.

But as I pondered whether or not to add this to my 
ever-increasing project list, I kept thinking about
one of Audrey's posts at Quilty Folk
and this phrase in particular: 

"What really interests me right now 
is recreating old utility style quilts."

Honestly, that feeling is what drew me in so quickly
when Sujata announced the U and U quilt along -
I flagged at least a dozen quilts in the book
that I wanted to make using fabrics in my stash.

Another click or two on the Internet led me to this photo
of a one-patch quilt c. 1940 by Magalene Wilson 
who is one of the Gee's Bend quilters.

And another click to see more of her work
led to another of her one-patch quilts
with more red cornerstones . . . .

At which point, I had to get up
and walk away from the computer
before I found any more inspiration.

Once I was safely in the studio
I pulled out my copy of U and U
and flipped through the pages.

And my eyes landed on this one -
yet another fabulous inspiration quilt
which turns out to be one and the same
inspiration quilt Maureen chose - click HERE.

I have plenty of shirting, reproductions, and solids . . . 
but I also have too many other things going right now
to be able to drop everything and start on this idea.

Circumspect - meaning "well considered" 
will simply have to wait until October or November.

Between now and then
I'll be doing a lot of pondering
on which direction I want to go with this.

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Makes Me Want to Make Another

I'm not sure how many quilts I've made with Sujata's free-pieced blocks, but I'm always encouraged by the outcome. There's just something about the method that resonates so well with me, helps me to not get bogged down in decision fatigue I can often experience with other styles of improv.
Vintage Lily
Vintage Lily above, is the most recently completed quilt made with help from the 'Cultural Fusion' book. Love the old timey vibe from imperfect piecing and a scrappy fabric pull. This one even managed to incorporate some reclaimed, well loved shirting fabrics! You can read more about it on my blog if you like or maybe take a look while its hanging in the NCW Quilt and Art Festival later in August. {If you happen to be in the area, that is.}
Chunky Crossroads
Chunky Crossroads, above, is an earlier attempt at yet another free-pieced block in the book. I meant for the blocks to look even 'chunkier', but we all have our natural rhythms when cutting! When thinking to post the Vintage Lily quilt, I remembered that this one never got posted over here on Sujata's blog. These blocks turned out to be such a wonderful base for the applique border that I was itching to do. So many times, I'm really just looking for a great, but unobtrusive compliment for whatever applique that is on my mind. Thinking about complex piecing can just make my head hurt! This quilt was given to one of my sister-in-laws shortly after finishing and I'm pretty sure she loves me just a little more now....