June 29, 2011

Finishing up slanty rail fence

I recently finished up a small quilt (36x36) that I started a while back, something fun to piece to take a break from a large piece I was quilting. This small quilt was done from scraps of solid fabric that I had on hand. I am pleased with the color work here. Though it may look like a huge range of virtually all colors, it actually took some significant selection, which I was able to do without agonizing. I couldn't have done that a couple of years ago--nice to feel the progress in working with color.

Quilting is still a big challenge. I did many samples on extra, individual blocks before deciding on a simple wavy line through each "slice." I'm fairly pleased with this, both in terms of ease of sewing and in the final look.

Here's the back of the quilt. I first made a simple line-up of fat slices that went across the whole back, but that arrangement looked boring. So I cut it into four pieces, moved the pieces around, and came up with this. I like it.

The quilting on the back looks like fat noodles:

June 28, 2011

Working with large-scale prints

This is a quilt I finished recently. I was interested in using some large-scale prints, not something I'd not done much of before. I used a very simple pattern of rectangles to show off the prints--"Carousel," by Kim Shaefer, Cozy Modern Quilts (C& T, 2009). I'm pleased with how this turned out.

This detail shows the two different fabrics I used for the binding; I had assumed I would use green, but the light teal looked much better. The very nice quilting was done by Mary Walck, a long-arm quilter in Galesburg.

And here's the back--most of it a large piece of sage-colored Kona cotton that I over-dyed with greens and brown, and then an extra piece of hand-dyed yellow-green to complete the back.

June 18, 2011

Working with magenta and friends

I had a stretch of four full days of quilting with friends in the Chicago area, and was able to work from start to finish on a half-square triangle quilt top like this one by Katie of "Sew Katie Did." Since not all my fabric dyed up well enough to use, and because I wasn't sure how the quilt would look in such a different color palette, I just made a small baby quilt (38x44). I'm pleased with how it turned out. I love the quiet palette Katie used for her quilt, but I think the format works well with these highly contrasting bright colors with black as well. I was also pleasantly surprised that the improvised placement of the triangles went very quickly. I made squares of each color with each color, and then I just started putting them up on the design wall. After placing all the squares, I spent perhaps another 10 minutes or so making small adjustments, and that was it. It helped that a couple of the other quilters took a look also, and confirmed that the arrangement was fine. I think if I'd been by myself at home, I might have kept fine-tuning longer.

Back from the retreat, I'm finishing up some projects. First to be done is this quilt, made a year ago with my friend Kay, when she was visiting me from Boston. We made the blocks together, and then I did the quilting some months ago. But what color binding to use? I saw Kay last weekend, and she decided on red. I think it looks great!

June 5, 2011

Dyeing a new palette: Magenta and friends

Last summer I dyed fabric in what I think of as my "pine grove" palette. I was very pleased with the results. Not only did I get the colors I wanted (thanks to the workshop I did with Carol Soderlund), but I also got a very nice solid using the flat-dyeing technique of Robin Ferrier. But this time I cut a couple of corners, and much of the fabric is mottled with water spots:

Well, now I know more about what I need to do to get the look I want!

This palette originates from a small piece I did a few years ago with commercial fabrics:

Then I saw a concert by Sweet Honey in the Rock, and they were wearing costumes in these colors, but with green and orange added in. Even better! I bought Kona cotton in these colors and did a couple of small pieces, including this one:

I don't have a photo of the finished quilt, but here's a close-up of some of the quilting I did:

So, I'd like to have a stock of these colors in hand-dyed fabric. For a first project, I'm thinking of a half-square triangle quilt like this one by Katie of "Sew Katie Did."