7 Quilts

The Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville had a show at the Handmade in America gallery this summer. Here are a few of the quilts. Unfortunately, there were difficulties with photography so the pictures aren’t as good as I’d like, but these quilts are just too good to pass up.

Quilt Show

Grumpy Cat. by Diana Cantor

Modern Quilt Show

Through the Open Window, by Amy Anderson

Modern Quilt show

Dreamsicle, by Kelly Wood

modern quilt show

This, That, and the Other, by Miriam Coffey

modern quilt show

Fantastical Astronomy, by Erica Kilgo

improvised modern quilt

Karla Made Me Do It, by Mary Puckett

Modern Quilt Guild Asheville

Migration, by Emily Coffey

The Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville continues to grow and thrive, so look for more news in the future!

Modern Sampler: Painter’s Tape Block

For the next block in my modern sampler, I used an improvisational technique that first occurred to me several years ago: I outline the size I want my final piece to be with painter’s tape and then fill it with whatever shape I’ve decided to use.

My first exploration of this technique was a T shirt quilt.  The motifs from the shirts were many different sizes but could all be cut as rectangles or squares.  I outlined a rectangle about 55″ x 68″ on one of my carpets and stated filling it with shirt pieces.  I selected a modern fabric to fill in the holes, and here it is:

Improvised T Shirt Quilt

Improvised T shirt quilt

The shirts were all cut into rectangles and squares, and the fill-ins therefore were rectangles and squares as well.  I’m not saying this is easy, but it sure was more fun than just making a bunch of blocks the same size and lining them up.

So for the next Modern Sampler Block, I outlined an 8-1/2″ square on my cutting mat and started filling it with triangles.

Improvised quilt block

Starting a square that will finish 8″

I added 1/4″ strips between the triangles to give the whole thing definition.  Then I just kept addiing triangles (that I cut randomly) until it was done.

Improvisational quilting

Improvised triangles block

No chance of a pattern for this one.  To make it, just cut a triangle you want to start with and then keep adding on.  I have a couple of deliberate exceptions to my “rules” so that the eye doesn’t just keep saying “yes”, it has to stop occasionally and say, “hey, wait!” The only trick is to keep finishing with a straight edge so you can easily add on the next section.

Try this technique! I hope you enjoy it!

Here are the previous posts in my Modern Sampler series:

Humbug Star

Improv Block I

Pretty Blocks–better look at this one!

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take a Year!

 

Slabs in 4 Colors

One of my quilt groups is swapping slabs, those blocks made up of scraps all in a single color range.  (The name was given to this block style by Cheryl Arkison, who blogs at Dining Room Empire, if you want to check her out.)  We all have MORE than enough scraps in all possible colors, so each of us requested slabs of a specific color.

It turns out these are addictive!  Usually we make only 2 blocks for each recipient, but I got a little carried away….and this is only half the blocks I’ve made so far.

Improvised quilt blocks

Just a few of the slabs 

Aren’t they pretty?  And such fun!  So fair warning to my quilt group friends:  I HAVE the scraps and I know what to do with them!  You will be getting lots of blocks this time!  Which should give the option of taking a break to those of you who have weddings to plan, etc.

If you think I’m kidding about making extra, just look at the scrap bin. Something must be done!Scrap-Basket

What are you doing with your scraps these days?

3 Little Soapboxes

Here are 3 topics on which I just couldn’t hold back:

1. Competitive quilter?!?! I don’t think so!  I took a great class with a noted quilter about two years ago and was stunned when she referred to herself as a “competitive quilter”.  I’ve always thought of quilting as the ultimate cooperative endeavor, with women working together in quilting bees and quilt guilds, sharing both their work and their lives. It was discouraging to hear that many quilters find out who the judge will be at a major show and then make a quilt specifically to please that judge.  I do understand that many people make all or part of their income from quilting, and that big wins can bring in both fame and fortune.  I’m still shocked that some people quilt for other people rather than for their own artistic expression.  Just call me grumpy.

free motion quilting

Some practice quilting–love that shiny thread!

2. I don’t want to become a machine. I’ve written before about what works and doesn’t work for me in terms of learning to quilt on my domestic sewing machine.  It finally occurred to me when I was working to get all my loops exactly the same that a pantograph (all-over) design on a longarm machine could do exactly the same thing with a fraction of the effort. HUH.

So, from now on I’m going to limit my efforts on the domestic machine to small items that are easier to do than to send out, and to quilts that really require custom quilting for some reason.  And I’m going to quit trying to “perfect” my loops, stitches, etc.

I figure I could have every quilt I’ll make for the rest of my life quilted for what it would cost me in time and money to buy, house, and learn to use a longarm machine.

I recently met a woman who says she will have her longarm paid for after 40 quilts. But she was accounting for only the cost of the machine, not her time in learning to use it, her time doing the quilting, or the cost of finding a place to set it up.  Seems to work for her and for many others, but I think it’s not for me.  I’ll hire one of them to do my longarm work!

free motion quilting

More practice quilting, more shiny thread

3. Chutzpah and modern quilting.  I’m not big on a definition of modern quilting. “I know it when I see it” works for me.  But in looking at many blogs and websites, it appears to me that it’s modern quilting if you say it is.  I’ve seen very traditional designs done in modern fabric and called “modern”. So I  if I use traditional fabric but with asymmetric design or lots of negative space or one of those other “hallmarks” of modern quilting, that would be a modern quilt, too!  Looks to me like modern quilting is a lot like all other art: 80% chutzpah.  Fine by me. Don’t tell me my design isn’t modern and I won’t tell you that yours isn’t either.  We get to define ourselves.  Enough said.

Have a good week!

One final sample...

One final sample…not perfect and not meant to be since I’m not a machine

One Big Improvement

Here’s the donation quilt that resulted from following one of Sherri Lynn Wood’s “scores” as it originally turned out. I didn’t much like it. As several friends pointed out, there wasn’t anywhere for the eye to rest!

improvised quilt

This came from following one of Sherri Lynn Wood’s “scores”

I got some great suggestions from readers and other friends.  I considered them all and finally used EQ7 (the Electric Quilt design program) to draft a layout.  I removed the borders and cut the center into 9 equal blocks, each 10″ square.  I loved Wanda’s idea to make the blocks different sizes with frames, but I was afraid the design already suffered from too much “creativity” so I didn’t do it.

improvised quilt blocks

10″ x 10″ blocks cut from the quilt center

Checking my stash, I came up with these options for sashing. I guess if I’d wanted a “really” modern quilt I’d have chosen the gray ;)

improvisational quilt block

Sashing options for the revised quilt

I chose the marine blue because it calmed things down without making them dull. I’m pleased with the result.

improvised quilt

The “New! Improved!” quilt top

Thanks to everyone who provided input about what to do with this!

What To Do x 2?

Here are two projects I need to “fix”, and I’m open to suggestions.

improvised quilt

“Swim” is about 50′ x 50″

This first one, shown above, is an improvisation I did about 2 years ago.  I haven’t finished it because the lines between the layers are more distinct than I intended.  I joined the layers with curved seams cut freehand, and I changed the fabrics I used in each layer gradually, but the layers still aren’t blended as well as I’d like.

My “UFO finish” for June is to do SOMETHING with this top. (Mother used to say, “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” when we got stuck on a task.)

My current thought is to cut some freehand diamonds and applique them intermittently along the seams I want to blend.  Any other ideas?

And here’s the second one that needs “fixing”:

improvised quilt

This is to be the June donation quilt, 40″ x 40″

This is my second attempt to follow a Sherri Lynn Wood “score”.  I followed her instructions more closely than last time, and I like it a lot less!

I chose a focus fabric from my novelties because this is a quilt for a child. I followed Sherri Lynn’s directions to make some “rules” and cut up 3 fabrics for the quilt, etc, etc. When I finished, I thought it needed something to “pull it together”, so I added a border of the focus fabric.

BUT, my friend who coordinates our donation quilts looked worried when she saw it. (PLEASE don’t tell me you think that’s a donation quilt?)

So help me out here! What should I do with this?

1. Leave it as it is and quilt it, already!

2. Cut it into blocks to be joined by solid color sashing to calm things down.

Option 1

Option 2

3. Dye it black and use it to back something else (kidding!)

4. Another idea?

Option 2

Option X

Hope you have a good week :-)

My Modern Sampler: Humbug Star

I recently read one of Gwen Marston’s books, and she had directions for a sew-and-flip star.  Like most of modern quilting, this star has been published by multiple people in multiple places, so it’s not new.  However, if you’ve never done sew-and-flip, you can find my tutorial below.  It’s a very fun technique.

flip and sew star

There’s a major flaw here!

So, HUMBUG!  Can you see what I did wrong?  I didn’t see it until I took the picture!  I rarely rip out seams in my improvised blocks, but this was too much for the perfectionist who whispers in my ear much of the time.  So here’s the corrected block:

Sew and flip tutorial

Humbug Star

This block finishes 12″ X 15″.

Here are the links to my other modern sampler blocks so far.

My Own Modern Sampler–It May Take A Year!

The Modern Sampler Continues

Improv Block I

 

And here is the tutorial on the sew-and-flip star.

This project was originally developed for Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine.  You can read about it here.

Unfinished block size 15″ x 15″

modern star block

This block finishes 14-1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

Fabric Requirements

modern quilt fabric

Fabrics supplied by Michael Miller Fabrics

Background fabric 16 1/2″ x 16 1/2″

Star center fabric 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″

Eight solid fabrics for star rays, each 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

Piecing Instructions

Note: all seam allowances are 1/4″.

  1. Cut the background fabric into a 9-patch of 5-1/2 inch squares as shownCutting Diagram
  2. Remove the center square and replace it with a 5-1/2 inch square of your center fabric

    Center square surrounded by background squares

    Center square surrounded by background squares

  3. For star rays, build 2 rays on each of 4 background squares as follows:
  • Lay the one 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ piece of solid fabric on a 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ square of the background as shown.   Place pins approximately where the 1/4″ seam will be along the long edge of the ray and turn along the pins to check placement.  Diagram-3-web Adjust if needed to make a star ray that suits you and to completely cover the foundation piece where the star ray will be.  Note that you will need to have your ray end at least 1/4″ from the edge if you want to see the point.  However, if you want blunt points there’s nothing wrong with that!  Here’s an example:Blunt point example
  • Reposition the pins and stitch 1/4″ from the edge of the ray as shown below:Diagram-5-web
  • Remove pins, turn the ray back into place, and press. Trim the side and bottom edges of the ray even with the foundation fabric.  Do not remove the foundation fabric under the ray, as it helps keep everything square and stable.Diagram-4-web
  • Place the fabric for the second ray, pin and test position, then stitch, press, and trim as for the first ray.Diagram-6-web Note that the rays need to overlap at least 1/4″ away from the raw edge where this section will join the star center. It’s fine to overlap more than that.

    Diagram-7-web

    Press the second ray and trim to match the background block.

  1. After building 4 sets of 2 star rays, re-assemble the 9-patch with the plain corners, printed center, and colored rays.

    modern star block

    This block finishes 14-1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

From Orphans to Donation

One of my UFO (UnFinished Object) goals for the year is to do something with some of my orphan blocks. (Those are miscellaneous blocks left from various projects; you can read about them here).  I’ve already turned a bunch of them into quilts, but I hauled them out again last month to give it another shot.

orphan blocks

These star blocks are orphans left over from several projects, so they are different sizes

These are left from various projects, but I just love star blocks so they probably won’t be the last of the breed :)  And you can probably see that one of them even has a piece turned wrong, which I did NOT see until just now :D

After fooling around with various options for them, I selected 5 and made this quilt:

orphan blocks

Donation quilt made from orphan star blocks

It actually worked out just fine to simply add a partial border to the smallest one.  And the purple fabric is left from yet another project, so win-win!

What do you do with your orphan blocks?

Anniversary!

Zippy Quilts is now two years old! I’m still having fun, so I’m signing up for another two years.
Here are a few pictures of projects from the past two years and links to popular posts:

Rising star art quilt

Rising Star, made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY contest in 2013

This is “Rising Star”, a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance “Twenty” contest back in 2013.  It’s still one of my favorite quilts, which is why it’s still featured on the blog’s header.

Here is a quilt I made for Modern Quilts Unlimited, where they did especially beautiful photos of it.

quilt photo

Zippy Star Quilt and Pillow as shown in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2014

Readers seem especially to have enjoyed posts with pictures from various quilt shows, and I know I appreciate those posts when others do them for shows I can’t attend.  Here are links to a few of those:

Here’s a picture from the post on QuiltCon Fashionistas, which was popular:

QuiltCon Fashionista

Julia of the Houston MQG

And here’s one from the post on AQS Charlotte, where I found the talented Jean Larson and her tessellation quilts:

modern quilt AQS

This quilt by Jean Larson won the Original Design award at AQS-Charlotte

Finally, here’s one from the post on the Vermont Quilt Festival, one of my all-time favorite shows:

pieced quilt

Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca–my FAVORITE!

In the coming year, I’m planning to update the blog, of course.  I’ll first revise my “About” page, then get to work on adding a gallery.  Please stay tuned!  I appreciate your comments.

8 Projects for April and May!

In keeping with the plan to finish a UFO a month during 2015, here is the April finish.  Since this fabric has been waiting for about 5 years, I’m calling this a significant finish!

donation quilt

Flower Fairies, A Donation Quilt

The second April finish is not only finished but delivered to the Quilt Alliance for their 2015 challenge. This one is called Cat Circus. The Laurel Burch fabrics reminded me of how just one cat can be a complete circus (polite word for disaster) in just a matter of minutes in any room in the house. I love cats, so that’s OK by me.

Quilt Alliance

Cat Circus, my 2015 Quilt Alliance challenge quilt

And here is the May finish, along with two other donation quilts I made in April and May. This means 6 so far this year–I’m caught up through June!  I’ll have more information on some of these in a later post.  They are an improvisational quilt, an orphan block quilt, and a quilt using Cuddle charms and cat fabric.

I made two more blocks for My Modern Sampler this month.  You can read about the improvisational one here, and I will blog about the Humbug Star at a later date.  For now, here’s a preview:

Finally, I bound the Charley Harper quilt that came back from the quilter a while ago.  These organic cottons from Birch are stiffer and less silky than my usual quilting cottons, so I washed the quilt when it was finished.  That helped some with the stiffness and also made the quilting stand out more.

Charley Harper

Turning Twenty Again pattern in Charley Harper fabrics

On to the June projects–I’ll have much more news coming up!