A Study In Pink

Last quilt finished – I need to think about the next one. I just went through my batik collections and found a scrap bag (twelve 9″ strips) with “pinks.” Next I browsed the piles of individual batik cuts and came up with many more that could work with those original twelve.

Study In Pink

I still need a few more light pink fabrics – I’ll shop for them tomorrow. I also need to see what I have in daylight to get a better idea about which fabrics blend well and which should be pulled.

What am I thinking about doing with these?

Well, there’s Tula Pink’s “City Sampler” – a quilt constructed from a collection of 100 “sampler” blocks. Here’s one from Pinterest in grey/brown tones:another in a rainbow of colour

(It’s a popular quilt — there are tons of images to be found), that suggest a way for me to think about my collection of pinks.

Tula Pink’s quilt consists of 100 different blocks – I don’t intend following her directions or making the blocks she suggests, although there are a number there that might get pieced as I go along. My plan is to start creating 6 1/2″ (maybe 7″) blocks, each unique, with the fabrics I have collected above — crosses, rectangles, half-square triangles, flying geese, log cabin, bordered squares… until I accumulate 63 blocks. That will give me a 7 x 9 array which, with borders, will give me a good lap-size quilt.

So, first a quest to find 2-4 more light pink batiks, then begin constructing blocks….

Lots to look forward to.

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Layer Cake Quilt – Finished

Finished this morning! I quilted both the narrow inner border and wider outer border over the weekend. That left the binding for today.

After my water aerobic class I pieced the binding fabric – six 2 1/2″ strips, joined end to end. Attached the binding to the back, then folded it over the front and stitched it in place using a decorative stitch.

Quilt Top

I used the same fabric I used on the back for the binding – it blended with the many grey and beige fabrics in the pieced quilt top quite nicely. The back was completed by splicing a single width of fabric and inserting a strip constructed from leftover squares from the top, and some strips of the background fabric and from the inner border. Simple, but turned out fine.

Quilt Back

Now onto a project I’ve been meaning to take on for a while. I have a Pfaff sewing tools carry case that came with one of my previous embroidery machines – I’ve had it for years. It’s reached the point where the outer case is falling apart – the binding has worn through on all the edges. So while the inner “pages” with zippered see-through vinyl compartments are still fine, it’s time make a new outer case.

I came across a pattern for a sewing tools organizer like the one I have.

Pattern for Sewing Tools Organizer

I bought some bright batik for the outside and a muted blue for the lining. I’ve spent the evening doing the prep work – I’m not exactly following instructions – I’ve added a welted zippered pocket to the front of the case, as well as a pocket on the inside of the front, and another zippered pocket on the inside of the back. The instructions recommend quilting the outside and lining fabrics but in order to put the zippered pockets into the outside and inside of the case that wouldn’t work. So instead, I’ve used a rather stiff fusible interfacing on the back of the outside fabric and a layer of quilt batting with the lining. When it comes to sewing the elements together I will have eight layers of fabric to stitch but it looks as if my new Pfaff Creative Icon will be up to the task – I will just sew more slowly than I normally would.

 

Layer Cake Quilt II

Just finished the central panel of the Layer Cake Quilt. I had two challenges with this quilt – the number of small pieces (408) and making the fabric I had on hand go as far as made sense in the context of this quilt design. Total number of fabric pieces in this 4 x 6 quilt – 600! Given the fiddlely work with the 1 1/2″ white squares I’m surprised that my points work as well as they do! Not 100% perfect, but close enough that when the final quilt is quilted the slight imperfections are not going to be noticeable.

Center Panel

Now I need borders. I want to introduce a contrasting colour. I have some 4 1/2″ batik strips that bring out the rusty/beige colours in the central panel,  but I think a wide border in that fabric will be too strong – I’m thinking a 1/2″ – 3/4″ border will be enough (the question is whether to piece the strip in or to create a narrow flange). The outside wide border will be the white Zen Chic fabric used in the panel itself. My problem is that I have, at the moment, just four 4 1/2″ strips of that fabric! My local shop has none left! I’ve ordered some from the Fat Quarter Shop online (they had what I needed, my other usual sources didn’t) but the fabric hasn’t yet arrived. So I’m on hold for the moment.

I guess I can fill in the waiting time by going through my fabric stash and pulling out something for my next quilt….

Quilt Backs

Yesterday, Melanie McNeil (Catbird Quilt Studio) posted a piece on pieced quilt backs.

That got me thinking about the piecing I do for quilt backs. She says she prefers a solid back (here quilts are bed size) – I prefer the adventure of piecing (I generally make lap quilts). The challenge for me is to get away with a single length of quilt backing fabric and filling in the width with leftovers from the top, retaining something from the character of the top but at the same time creating a new piecing. Most of my back piecing involves a wide strip, although occasionally I’ll do a block of some sort surrounded by backing fabric – it depends on just how much backing fabric I actually have to work with!

Here are some quilt backs:

#1 – This is the latest quilt (Improv Quilt) – a strip/block because my strip wasn’t long enough and I fortunately had just enough backing fabric to border the strip converting it to a block.

Improv Quilt – Back

#2 –  An opportunity to try some flying geese. The original blocks were all in shades of indigo but I decided to insert one gold triangle in each and it made a huge difference to the strip.

#3 – From the red/black/white strips quilt. The quilt top looks like three Venetian blinds with a red background. The grey backing reflects the fabrics used in the piecing from the top, with the red accents.

#4 – This back was for the Starburst Quilt: I had no fabric leftover from the quilt top so I decided to use  other indigo fabrics highlighted with the turquoise and green elements.

#5 – The inspiration for this quilt back came from a quilt by Weeks Ringle – it backs the Pick-Up-Sticks Quilt:

#6 – This is the back of the Medallion Quilt: I had just enough of the border fabric leftover to create these four mitred blocks. I decided to rotate them rather than keep them all facing the same direction. Spaced them out, offset top to bottom, with backing fabric because I had a lot of it.

Quilt Back

#7 – This back is from the Grey-Yellow Quilt: I had a lot of half-square triangles left over from the front. I decided to array them as a spiral. The panel is offset top/bottom, and left/right. My quilts are all modern quilts – they need asymmetry to look “right”.

#8 – This back is from Improvisation #6 – Asian fabrics, drunkard’s path quilt. I had several slightly smaller blocks left over. I decided to do a more conventional drunkard’s path layout with single complete circle near the top of the strip.

#9 – The back of the Asian Strips Quilt: I did the piecing of the on-point squares, added the filler and realized I still needed border/sashing to offset the insert strip from the backing fabric.


Obviously I have many more quilt backs I could showcase here, but these are enough to illustrate how I see a quilt back. All of my quilts are “double” quilts – they can be used either side – for me, that’s part of the challenge/adventure of improvisational quilt making.

Improv Quilt – Borders Attached

Borders Attached

Just finished attaching the borders. The quilt top is now just about twin size – I hadn’t intended making the quilt this large but that’s how it’s turned out.

Now to create a strip for the back – I’m going to need to add at least 12” to the width of the backing fabric (that’s because I’m too cheap to buy a double length of fabric and because there’s enough scraps to assemble a wide strip).

Sewing Again

Back to work, finally.

This is the quilt I’d been working on before my San Francisco trip. I’d got the piecing done both front and back, had pinned the quilt sandwich and had managed to quilt 24 of 36 embroidery repeats for the quilting. I had no time between returning from San Francisco and my wrist surgery so the unfinished quilt has been sitting on my cutting table taunting me.

This week I decided to see if I could manage to position the embroidery hoop on the quilt – I knew the actual sewing wouldn’t be a problem for my hand but applying the hoop mostly using my left hand I wasn’t so sure about. Turns out I was able to position and tighten the hoop fine so I did a couple of quilting embroideries – then then next day five more, and yesterday I finished up the remaining quilting.

Blues With Green – Front Of Quilt

This morning I created a label for the back and added the binding. So now the quilt is completed. The back is an improvisation – I created a strip of triangular (actually trapezoidal) pieces from the fabrics used to piece the front, done with sashing between the pieces and separating the strip from the backing fabric. I needed a 9″ strip for the backing to be wide enough for the quilt – this was the easiest way to do that. This insert creates a strong, bold contrast to the backing.

Blues With Green – Back of Quilt

My next project will have to be a couple of small art/landscape pieces – by small I mean 10″ x 12″ or so, for a class I’ll be teaching starting June 6. I need to get a couple of different pieces underway so I can demonstrate a variety of techniques people can use for creating textile art.

Japanese Strip Quilt – Finished

Here it is – the finished, bound quilt (just a label needed – I’ll do that later this afternoon when I get back from some errands).

Quilt Top

I did the quilting from top to bottom in line with the strips, instead of across the quilt. I wanted to emphasize the flow of the piecing. I was lucky my quilting design was the perfect size for the side borders and fills that space nicely (It was pure luck that I was able to balance the border quilting on each side!). It took a lot of precise positioning to make the embroidery joins work but it would take a hawk eye to detect the slight misalignments I decided to live with. I used a variegated white/grey/black thread, top and bottom and I like how it turned out on the back. On the front, the stitching blended well with the coloured strips. However, I darkened the light stitching in the dark strip ends because otherwise the alternating strip ends were obscured and that was a detail I worked hard to achieve.

Quilt Back

The back has worked out well. The pieced insert brings colour and interest to the back. The side borders of the strip blend well with the backing fabric yet effectively set off the insertion. I used strips of the backing fabric (which I had found in a second shop after I’d pinned the sandwich together) for binding. I’ve finally learned 2 1/4″ binding strips are better than 2 1/2″ – I have less fabric to fold under on the front of the quilt – easier to manage when I’m pinning the binding in place on the quilt front after first stitching it to the back.

I would have liked the quilt to be a wee bit longer but I was limited by my original 66″ length of backing fabric – all that was left on the bolt. The quilt is still a respectable 62″ long.