Like most quilter, I have lots of fabric in my craft room. But, unlike other quilters, I try to keep the amount as low as possible. I no longer purchase fabric “just because see it and like it”. I have to have a specific project that I plan to use it in before I will purchase any fabric. Over the past few years, I have also received fabric from my sister, my mother and some of my friends. So, I really do not need to add to my stash.
When I am designing a quilt, I try to plan around fabrics that I already have. If I do need to purchase fabric, I calculate the amount of fabric yardage I need to be a careful not to purchase more than necessary. Sometimes this has been to my frustration, especially if I decide to change the design and find that I am needing more fabric to make the changes. But, usually this works well and keeps me from having too many scraps left over. I have even created an Excel spreadsheet that helps me calculate the yardage quickly. If you are interested, email me and I can send you the file.
Every once in a while, the quilt design I am working on is too abstract or too intricate to be able to calculate yardage exactly. This was the case when planning the “Moonscape” quilt for my son. I did not plan out the quilt in enough detail prior to sewing to be able to calculate how much fabric I needed. Using grey fabrics and black fabrics I already had, I added other shades to create the gradation I was seeking. Not knowing how much fabric I would need, I purchased a half yard of each shade. After I had pieced his quilt, I had a lot of excess fabric.
What to do? Make a scrap quilt? Stick it back on the shelf for another day?
Make a strip quilt? Now, this was an idea I liked. I have been wanting to try piecing with strips on my longarm machine for a while now. So, this seemed like the best idea for a quilt to try this out on.
I loaded the backing onto the frame and pinned the batting in place. After basting the first strip in place, I cut and pieced 2″ x 72″ strips in the gradiant order of the fabric shades. To sew, I carefully measured and marked the placement of the begin and end point of the seam that I was planning to sew. Then, I used the multipoint placement, border only sewing to sew the next strip to the the first strip. The new strip sewn was flipped and ironed lightly in place before going to the next strip (my cordless iron was really helpful for this step).
A pop of color was incorporated with scraps of yellow, orange, red and purple.
I successfully used up my shades of grey and black and have another nice quilt to donate.
I enjoy reading historical fiction books. When reading, I like to look up information about the events happening at the specific time in history. This helps me understand the book’s story line better.
I enjoy these books even more when there is a reference to the art of the era. Having recently I read the latest book by Jennifer Chiaverini, I did some additional reading about the history of quilting.
One of the sources talked about Depression Era quilts. Many of these quilts were string quilts made of small fabric scraps stitched together to make a piece of fabric large enough to cut a pattern piece. These larger pieces were stitched together to make a quilt block. The quilt blocks were put together to make a quilt top. This method was used during hard times when money and fabric were scarce. Scraps of all sizes were utilized.
Over the past decade, this method has also made a resurgence within the art quilt community.
There were several pictures of a string quilts that have caught my attention.
One of the quilters that I really liked was Ursula Kern. Her string quilts are breathtaking. The illusion of movement and shape that she creates is absolutely amazing.
I decided that I wanted to try to make a string quilt wall hanging for my sewing room. With wall space limited, the only spot I had left to hang something was adjacent to my four seasons landscape quilt. So, in keeping the the landscape theme, I thought a tree might fit the area well.
Looking at tree clipart images, I selected one, traced it out on pellon, and then divided the pellon into a 7×11 grid. Each section of the grid (2″ x 3.75″) was used as one block of the string quilting.
Since I have a lot a scraps from various other quilts, and not wanting to purchase more fabric right now, I pulled out my scraps, sorted them by color and started creating each of the blocks.
The seventy seven blocks were sewn together (with numerous changes to match my design better). The illusion is somewhat like a stained glass window – I really like it!
For the quilting, I used one layer of Quilter’s Dream Cotton batting. To create texture for the tree and shrubs, I placed pieces of Quilter’s Dream Wool batting in these areas between the cotton batting and the pieced top. The background sky was quilted with straight lines and the tree was loosely quilted to allow the depth of the batting to show.
Having received a large quantity of fabric from my sister, I needed to make room for storing this. Sorting through my current stash of fabric, I found a container of dyed fabrics that I had made when trying different dyeing techniques.
The ones left were a bit dull in color. No longer needing these, I decided to make another of the many quilts in my “Future Projects” folder on my computer. To brighten them up, I combined them with white fabric and use variegated thread for the quilting. It’s amazing how the white makes even drab fabrics look cheery.
This was a simple pattern that combined these 250 different swatches in long rows separated by white sashing, turned on point and set in asymmetrically. I really like how it turned out.
A friend recently pointed out that I had not posted pictures of the quilting of my Burst quilt, as I had originally said I would do.
So, here are a few close-ups.
And, the full quilt hanging on my wall.
I especially like how the doll quilt turned out. Kinda wish I had made the bed quilt the same design! Maybe, some day, I will make this quilt again (perhaps with a black background?)
The Minnesota State Fair is currently taking place. If you are not from MN, you may not realize how big our state fair is. While MN only ranks 12th in size and 21st in population, it ranks second in state fair attendance, with over 2 million people attending each year. This is just behind Texas at 2.25 million visitors. However, Texas is second in land mass, second in population, and their state fair runs for 24 days (twice the length of the MN fair). Thus, I would say that the Minnesota State Fair outranks even Texas.
The fair is so popular that, even on a rainy morning like today, there were lots of people in attendance. What do people like to do at the fair? When I asked some of my friends, they replied: eat the food, attend a concert, eat the food, see the animals, eat the food….
I think you get the picture – there is lots of food to eat if that is what you are interested in.
For me, the State Fair is a place to go to see the craftsmanship and creativity in the Arts and Crafts Building. Today was no exception. After getting very wet walking from the transit center to the A&C building, I spent a couple hours walking around taking pictures.
Here are my quilts:
Some of the other quilting highlights:
Some other crafts that caught my eye:
When designing a quilt, I like to plan the quilting at the same time as the piecing. This allows me to think about adding something unique to each quilt. My recent project for the two sided tree quilt was no exception.
The quilting of the tree, leaves and background would be fairly straightforward. Wanting to add something special to the quilt, I thought about what I could add to the tree. One idea was to place flowers or shrubs at the base of the tree. Another was to add some animals.
My final idea, and the one I actually used, came while reviewing some photos from my childhood. These photos brought back memories of things growing up. I decided to add theses memories to the quilt.
I needed to invoke the idea of a memory without overwhelming the quilt. To do that, I planned to used only thread to make the images appear very faint. After stitching, I realized that the images were there but extremely hard to see. Having recently purchase some textile medium (InFusion Textile Medium) that was very lightweight (did not stiffen the fabric) and shiny, I decided to use this to enhance the visual effect of the memories.
I am really happy how they turned out. If you look closely at the images, you will see a boy leaning against the tree reading a book, a girl on a tree swing, and their faithful dog laying on the ground near them.
Here are the full images of the quilt front and back: