Layer Cake Quilt

I bought a¬†terrific layer cake was bought a couple of years ago and it has been “waiting”, along with its solid coordinates, for inspiration to strike.

quilting storage

Future projects are stored in boxes…oops, sometimes for years! (Found a nice set of these at Costco.)

Then the other day I decided I wanted to insert strips of the coordinating colors into the squares. As you probably know, a layer cake is a stack of 10″ x 10″ squares. That means fat quarters (18″ x 22″) of solids will work well for insert strips.

I started by sorting the layer cake squares into stacks with the solids I wanted to use with them.

layer cake quilt

Layer Cake and Coordinates

Then I cut strips of various widths from the solids.The strips varied from 1″ x 18″ to 2″ x 18″, in 1/4″ increments. I cut a variety of widths from each solid color.

insert strips into quilt blocks

Strips ranging from 1″ to 2″ wide in 1/4″ increments

I had NO idea what I was going to do with these blocks once I got them modified; I just liked cutting them up and inserting strips–it takes very little to entertain some of us ūüėČ Then I remembered John Cage’s “prepared piano”. ¬† So I called these “prepared fabrics”.

I did the inserts in several ways, still working on this just for fun:

When I looked at my “prepared fabrics” together, it was apparent I wasn’t going to just sew them together along the edges (for several reasons)!Retreat18

So the next step was to go to EQ (Electric Quilt, a computer program for quilt design) and make some designs:

Quilt from layer cake

Option #1. I’ve always loved concentric blocks, and alternating them like this produces a nice design easily.

modern quilt design

Option #2. Concentric blocks off-center are even better!

layer cake quilt design

Option #3. Flying geese are always a lively design element, and I just bought a special ruler for trimming!

modern quilt design

Option #4: I haven’t done anything with gentle curves for a while. These look like flags to me.

What do you think? ¬†Anybody have a strong preference for one of these designs? ¬†Whatever I do, I think it will be fun to see how the inserted strips turn out in the final design ūüôā

 

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Quilt of 5496 Pieces!

A friend who loves TINY things recently finished this postage stamp quilt of 5496 one-inch squares!!!  She will donate it to be raffled as a fundraiser at the retirement home where she works.

postage stamp quilt

Postage stamp quilt–all 1″ squares!¬† Made by Jerri Szlizewski

Jerri says this is “the ultimate I-Spy quilt”.¬† She has found many, many, little novelty prints to put in the little blocks.¬† She even has Elvis, though I didn’t get him in this close-up.

postage stamp quilt

A close-up showing a few of the little designs in the quilt

Here are just a few of the projects from the design walls at a recent quilt retreat at a “secret” hideaway:

slabs, quilt slabs

One retreater came up with this design to use slabs we had swapped previously

One person made several dozen of the cute half-circle napkins that fold into a Christmas tree.¬† She made a lot of place mats, too, but I didn’t get a picture of those.

quilt retreat

Christmas Tree Napkins

Retreat16

Working on a quilt from Scrap Quilt Sensation, by Katharine Guerrier

Here are a few more works in progress from various people:Retreat15Retreat18Retreat-4And finally, here are some of the quilts we made for Ronald McDonald House:

Only as Good as Your Last Quilt?

There’s a cynical phrase, common in professional sports, that is used often in other arenas as well: You’re only as good as your last game. It’s a commentary on public opinion. Unfortunately, there’s a corollary in our everyday judgments of ourselves.

Michael Miller Challenge 2013

This little quilt, “Packet of Posy Seeds”, did NOT win anything.

One of the modern guilds I belong to had an interesting discussion last meeting about which quilts are selected for QuiltCon, and why.¬† We pretty much all agreed that the show is used to further the MQG’s own definition of modern quilting rather than to reveal the depth and breadth of the modern quilt movement.

modern quilt

This little quilt was published, along with an article I wrote

So, am I a good quilter because my quilt was juried into an AQS show? Or a poor quilter because SEVERAL quilts were rejected for a QuiltCon show? A good quilter because I’ve designed quilts that were published?¬† Or a bad quilter because every magazine doesn’t love every one of my proposals?¬† There’s a temptation to feel great when a quilt wins a prize and to feel a bit down when one is rejected.¬† But does that make sense?

modern quilt

Happy Squares, designed and made by me. I love it, but nobody wants to publish the pattern.

Of course there are some “competitive quilters”, but most of us quilt because we enjoy it. My quilts are made to please myself, not to please other people.¬† Even when I make a quilt for a challenge or show, I make it the way I want it, and I expect that is true for most people.¬† I doubt that quilting is a road to fame and fortune for most of us, and that’s fine.

Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine

Zippy Star quilt for Modern Quilts Unlimited. I won a contest with this design.

So, if QuiltCon didn’t accept my quilt, it is NOT a personal judgment about me, it is a programmatic judgment about where the MQG folks want the definition of modern quilting to go. And if some of my quilts are published or win prizes, that’s dandy, but I still made them to suit myself.

improvisationally pieced quilt

“In Fairyland” has been in 2 shows but won no¬†prizes.

So much of life involves following other people’s rules, sometimes for good reason and sometimes not.¬† Although I’m a serious quilter, I want to do it by my own rules.¬† I’ll still submit to shows because I like to see my quilts displayed.¬† But really, the quilt is an end in itself.

Spring Sun, a design by me, using blocks paper pieced from a totally different Judy Niemeyer pattern!

I designed Spring Sun using blocks paper pieced from a totally different Judy Niemeyer pattern. It was juried into an AQS show.

My friend Melanie has written a couple of posts on why we quilt.  You might enjoy them:

Make Good Art

Saturation Point

Love Panto Quilting and KonMari Update

The two quilt tops I finished last month are back from the quilter already! ¬†I’ve used the same quilter for a long time¬†because she does wonderful work. ¬†I choose panto designs rather than custom quilting, in part because of the great¬†variety of designs of available and in part because it is so much more affordable.

panto quilting

Panto design of circles on a block from my modern sampler

Just look at these cute circles on the Modern Sampler Quilt:  Yes, that is an edge-to-edge panto design!  I have done those doggone circles on my domestic sewing machine, and they were a PAIN.  I am so thrilled to have someone do them for me at a reasonable cost!

modern sampler, panto quilting

Another block from my modern sampler showing all those circles in the panto design

Here are some close-ups of the quilting on the batik block-swap quilt.  I love the choice of thread color as well as the design.  It enhances the overall quilt!batik quilt, block swap

applique, applique blockNow I’ll just get these bound and ready to go!

Here’s one more reason I choose panto quilting. ¬†I asked for a choppy quilting design to go with the chopped-up blocks in this quilt and got just what I wanted!

modern quilt

Panto quilt design on one of my improvised quilts

I do quilt my own quilts on my domestic sewing machine, both free-motion and with the walking foot.

free motion quilting

Here’s some free motion quilting I did years before I tried the stitch regulator

free motion quilting

Here’s some sort-of straight line quilting I did freehand

walking-foot quilting

I did this with the walking foot without marking

It’s not my favorite thing to do, but if I need a quilt¬†done a certain way or in a hurry, I do it. ¬†Alas, I have not found the stitch regulator as useful as I expected. (You can read my review here.) ¬†I do enjoy all the things I can do with the walking foot!

walking foot quilting

Here are some variably-spaced lines I did with the walking foot

hand quilting

Here’s something I quilted by hand “back in the day”. ¬†It’s been around a while.

Update on KonMari in the Studio:

It took an entire week to go through all my fabric and then get it put away, but it was worth it. ¬†I had a great “ahhh…” feeling when it was all done. ¬†My studio is much neater and I know what I have.

One thing I learned is that almost any fabric brings me joy! ¬†Probably why I’m a quilter. ¬†So there wasn’t much fabric to get rid of. ¬†I DID get rid of a bunch of scrap collections I was “saving”. ¬†I cut my scrap fabric in strips of pre-determined width and store it by strip size so that I can find what I want easily. ¬†However, I had several collections of tiny pieces too small to cut into strips. ¬†I know some people just love those and do lots of things with them, but it’s not for me! ¬†So out they went.

My next project is the donation quilt for the Quilt Alliance’s 2016 Contest, so the next step in KonMari will have to wait until that is done. ¬†You should consider entering, too! ¬†Entries are only 16 inches square, so it’s not a huge commitment. ¬†Check it out here.

Quilt Alliance