April 18, 2012

"Reflected Wedges" Table Runner

OK, at Lori's request, I'll tell you next about this one of my "four tops."  I was browsing magazines at JoAnn's a couple of weeks ago, and saw this new magazine on modern quilting, a special issue from Interweave Press:

There was one pattern in particular that leaped out at me, "Reflected Wedges" by Jacquie Gehring.

I find the wedge shape very appealing.  I haven't used it much, but I did this one baby quilt a while back that is a favorite:

The wedge table runner pattern seemed a natural for the Marcia Derse fabrics that I've had in my drawer for about a year; most of these are from her "Third in Line" collection.  I bought about 10 half-yard pieces, mostly choosing because of the printed designs, rather than thinking about colors.  Some day, I'd like to do more printing of fabric (have done a little thermofax screen printing, but that's it), and her designs are inspiring.  But with a half-yard of each, there's plenty to use in quilts, while still keeping samples on hand.  I've been collecting quilt patterns designed with Marcia Derse fabric specifically in mind, as well as others that I think would work well.  Jacquie Gehring's pattern, though, made me go right to the drawer and pull some colors that would work together.  I do like how the table runner came out.  (If you'd like to see more of Jacquie's work, go to her blog, or check out her new book (with Katie Pedersen): Quilting Modern)

The table runner went together very quickly.  Thought I'd try another with some Stephanie Brandenburg fabric.  Here's the fabric:

And here's the table runner I got by cutting out wedges:

OK, but not as interesting as I thought it would be.  So I made one more, this one by strip-piecing a lot of scraps and then cutting the layers into wedges:

Not so excited about this one either.  It's possible one or both of these will look better when they're quilted and bound.  But the Marcia Derse one will definitely get done first!

April 11, 2012

Triadic color scheme with black

My sister Cookie asked for more about this quilt first, so here goes!  This is a small top (about 20x25) that will be my contribution to my quilting guild's biennial challenge for our quilt show.  The idea is that the show organizers set a challenge for guild members, some limitation that will determine this one entry.  (Of course we're all encouraged to submit other quilts as well.)  This year the challenge was to work in a triadic color scheme--that is, three colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel, like red-yellow-blue or green-violet-orange.  I had a stack of solids put aside that I built off a palette taken from flowers in my spring garden: peonies, poppies, and sage.
To reduce this to triadic, I took out the deep pink, leaving me with coral, lavender, and sage green for my triad.  So, what to do with these fabrics?  Maybe you'll be interested to see how even a very simple design can involve many steps.

I started with an image I love--something I saw recently at a superb exhibition of contemporary drawings at the Art Institute in Chicago-- a small piece by Marija Vladimirovna Ender, "Color in Space":
I love the simplicity of the swatches of color on a plain background, so my first thought was to line up rectangles, using black as the background, to better show off the light-colored fabrics:

Very boring.  Moving the rectangles further apart didn't help either:
 Then I tried wonky squares:

And then regular squares:

Still boring.  Then I changed the scale, making the colored squares much smaller.  This I liked!

So then I just had to play around with placement of the colors, and I threw in a little variation in value also (see photo at top for the final layout).

The next stage is quilting.  I made up a small sample with 3 squares and have begun experimenting. (As always, double-click on the image to enlarge.)

 I used charcoal gray thread here on the black fabric; I may switch to black.  I may quilt each small square with something different, or all the same, or I may leave them unquilted.  Then there will be a decision about binding: black? one color? three colors?  Decisions, decisions. . .

And since I'm on the subject of challenge quilts, here's the one I did in 2008:

This is 18x27 and hangs on the door to my studio.  The challenge in 2008 was to work in pieces of three fabrics handed out to you--I know the pink was one of them, and probably one of the greens and one of the blues.  I used this as an occasion to try out some improvisational piecing, which I'd done very little of, and also some contemporary quilting designs, varying them across the space.  

This was the first piece I quilted where I actually enjoyed the machine quilting part, so it was a very successful challenge!

April 9, 2012

Four Tops

I do love Motown music, but the four tops I'm speaking of are these:

I had some extra time this weekend, and worked on four different projects.  The four blocks in the second column are part of a larger project; the other three are completed tops.  My plan is to do an individual post on each of them.  We'll see how far I get!  If you have a favorite, tell me which, and I'll start with that one.

April 2, 2012

Mod Mosaic--done!

I am pleased with how this quilt turned out--a version of Elizabeth Hartman's Mod Mosaic pattern.  You can see 50+ other versions in the Mod Mosaic Flickr group.  I've written about this quilt previously here and here.  The second post describes my efforts to dye gray fabric for the binding, but in the end I decided to go with white, as it best unifies the quilt.  I was concerned about how dirty a white binding might get, but in this case, I went with design over practicality.  

It was fun to piece these fabrics together.

The quilting was done by Mary Walck on her longarm. 
For the back, I pieced together what I had left of the fabrics.  It's fun to see some of them full-scale, including bits of fabric design that I did not include on the front--like these spiders (left out entirely) and this rooster (cut so that it's not recognizable:

Peter and Maya, I'll be sending this off to you before long!