Friday, March 15, 2019

U AND U QAL - First Draft

My first interpretation of  Page Two-- not sure about the bold colors.  
These vertical inserts are cut 3/4" which seems about right. Maybe strips cut 5/8" would be better. 

I will try another with quieter vertical inserts -- maybe florals on a white background. 

Just love seeing what others are doing.  

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Unconventional and Unexpected - an Octagon quilt finally finished!

I received the amazing book "Unconventional and Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar" by Roderick Kiracofe  for Christmas and soon thereafter came the UAUQAL challenge led by Sujata Shah. Could events have converged more perfectly?!

This book just knocked my socks much quirky beauty and so many wild and unusual quilts! Inspiration to last a looong time!

Anyhow, I pulled out some of my older blue fabrics and began strip piecing. I changed the proportions of my block a bit because I wanted more of the stripped piecing to show - the center square is 4 inches and the pieced sides are 3 inches. Also, this top went through quite a few iterations until I finally just wanted to be done! And here is the FINAL version....

At first I was a bit lazy and didn't want to piece the quarter-square triangles for the corners....deciding to use 3-inch muslin squares this was the first version.....

But after looking at this top on the wall for awhile, I decided it was
too stark and didn't really fit the idea of the octagons that was in our inspiration quilt on page 51 of  "Unconventional and Unexpected" I decided to go ahead and make quarter-square triangles and remove the muslin squares....hello seam ripper....

And then I started fiddling with the main center many possibilities..... NO!

I finally settled on this final version and machine-quilted it fast so I couldn't change my mind!

Love the octagons that show up now!

I'm looking forward to seeing other versions of this quilt inspired by the work of an unknown quilter......what if this unknown quilter were somehow to find out that she was inspiring so many other quilters by her humble quilt.....wouldn't she be surprised! Wouldn't you all just love to meet her and compliment her on the complexity of her quilt that ended up being published in a much touted book inspiring so many other quilters!!!


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Duet #2: Nolia and Me

Here is the second quilt that I deconstructed and resewed from tops that I rescued from my sister's bonfire during her backyard shed-cleaning binge last year. My sister had received her mother-in-law Nolia's (b.1921 - d.2010) pieced tops and simply didn't know what to do with them since she doesn't sew. Still don't know why she didn't immediately think of me because she well knows I am a passionate quilter.....but anyhow, I took it as my mission to honor this veteran quilter by turning her tops into completed and loved quilts.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Nolia grew up in southern Louisiana without any benefits of education...not even grade school. She married and had two sons (one of them married to my sister) and was a devout Catholic all her life. She had a simple sewing machine but she couldn't figure out how to use it so she hand-pieced ALL her quilts. And she used anything and everything she had on hand or could purchase from her local Ben Franklin store.

Close-ups of resewn and quilted blocks.......

Nolia also used all kind of fabrics from linings to flannels to double knit and lightweight cafe name it, Nolia pieced it into her quilt tops! And this was why I had to deconstruct her tops and replace many of her fabrics with my own cottons because quilting all these different weights of fabric was just too difficult for me. 

Here is the original top before any changes were made.........Nolia used a lot of very light-weight blue gingham in this top and bordered two sides with two lengths of a kitchen cafe curtain. All of her tops are variations of the "housetop" block....a block often used by the Gee's Bend Quilters as well.

Here is a look at the back of the original top - Nolia used the front of a polyester dress with buttonholes next to light-weight gingham......also uneven seams. In order to use the blue gingham, I used quilt spray and fused another light-weight white fabric onto the back to give it more weight and heft. This worked perfectly!

Polyester dress piece still containing darts...... 

Cabbage Patch centers and fabric with facings irregularly attached

Slippery polyester!

Extra fabric simply folded back to fit
Some of the fabrics deleted from the original top - those Cabbage Patch centers really had to go!

Fabrics Added

I tried various options for bordering the top but eventually came back to the original cafe curtain fabric. Since it was so light-weight, I fused a light-weight white cotton onto the back of the curtain panels and sliced each piece in half in order to make it reach all around the top. I think the striped binding also added an interesting finish to this reconstructed top and finishing it with simple straight-line machine quilting made this piece something I can finally live happily with!


Monday, March 4, 2019

Here it is! My answer to the #UANDUQAL challenge. I combined this with the #AHIQRED challenge over at Adhoc. Improv.  blog and I think that worked very well. There's only so many projects I can work on at one time and as usual, the idea of using an Unconventional and Unexpected quilt as inspiration could not be ignored!
Approximately 58" x 72"
You can read more about this quilt top over here at my blog. Both challenges are ones that I want to think more on, maybe have a deeper play with. So many possibilities... Thanks Sujata for another interesting quilt project!