WIP: kilim quilt

I haven’t technically started cutting or sewing yet, but I feel like I’ve already come a long way on this project (previously blogged here) just by figuring out the design and choosing fabrics.

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I spent a lot of time coloring in this rather large color & piecing guide. But I think it will be time well spent because now the design and color placement are all but finalized. And bonus: I can see it across the room.

I used double stick tape to attach the individual pieces to the wall so I can take the one I’m working on to my cutting station. The design has 8 whole blocks, 6 half blocks, and 4 quarter blocks. To create the half and quarter blocks, I’ll actually be able to piece a whole block and then cut it.

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That would have been far too confusing if I didn’t have this handy color chart.

For the fabric, I chose Art Gallery Pure Elements, which I am delighted to tell you were provided by Fat Quarter Shop because they have agreed to sponsor this project!

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I chose Pure Elements for 2 main reasons. The first is because I had a strong suspicion that these solids would be really soft and shimmery just because they’re Art Gallery. I was not disappointed. They’re gorgeous. But, even more importantly, I was drawn to this line because it’s a cohesive, limited collection. There are only 54 colors and they all seem to look great together. Ordering solids online can be tricky, so a line like this helps.

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I have ordered just a couple more shades to give myself some additional options. I love this stack but it doesn’t quite capture the contrast of the colors from the rug. This stack is almost too coordinated.

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I ordered a truer red, a less-blue purple, and a less-green yellow. That should give me an effect closer to that of the rug.

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After the holiday weekend I’m going to hit this project hard! I can’t wait.

Be sure to check in with me tomorrow because I’ll be giving away my very first blogger bundle, from the really cool Canadian site Fabric Spark!

WIP wednesday: gypsy wife update

I’ve made a bit more progress on my Gypsy Wife quilt:

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I’m afraid I might have been a little too proud of the perfectly protected points on this block:

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When I say the points are “protected,” I mean the points that face toward the outer edge of the block. See how there is a substantial 1/4 inch surrounding them? That means when the block is joined together with the other blocks, the points will still be nice.

But then this challenging block came along:

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I’m afraid a few of those points aren’t going to make it. In fact, a few of the inner points have already been sacrificed as well (the outer tips of a couple of the black striped pieces). But, on the bright side, a lot more points are intact and lovely! I can definitely live with it. Considering that it took an entire morning, I’m not redoing it.

One thing I really appreciate about quilting is how incredibly challenging it is to get it just right. Even the absolutely gorgeous and jaw-dropping original Gypsy Wife quilt might be missing a few points here and there if you really study it.

The quilt along schedule for February also included these “filler blocks”:

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All together now:

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The pattern calls for all pinwheel blocks but I thought it’d be fun to mix it up a bit. These blocks took 2 days instead of 1 because I used so many different fabrics, all of which needed to be starched and pressed. But now I’ve got those fabrics all ready for the next blocks! I keep them all in our hallway hanging on the railing, as if having a whole room devoted to sewing isn’t enough. #howquiltersannoytheirpartners

A few of these filler blocks will get small borders before going into the quilt. I decided to wait on that so I have more flexibility with my color placement. Since these blocks are constructed to some extent in pairs, I don’t want them to end up too close to each other.

This is such a fun quilt along. The quilt is really challenging, but taking it slowly through the year makes it doable for beginners and more advanced quilters alike. If you decide to join and have any trouble with any of the trickier blocks, I’d be more than happy to walk you through it to the best of my ability. Just email me.

Linking up with the other Gypsy Wife quilt alongers at Riddle and Whimsy and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Penny sampler: last update before the BIG finish (I promise)

I have been hard at work sewing the final stages of the penny sampler quilt top. (You can see my most recent previous post here).

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It occurred to me that it won’t be quite as exciting to show you the finished quilt if I show too many pictures now that assembly has started, so I’m only going to show a few sneak peaks and ask for some backing advice.

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Is it totally OCD that I plan to take the time to count how many fabrics I used in this quilt? I’m curious! It felt like a lot, but that may be because I was cutting from yardage (mostly half yards) and not scraps. Interestingly, it wasn’t until the very end that I ordered anything specifically with this quilt in mind. Most of it has just been pulling anything aqua, teal, purple or orange from my (overly) copious recent fabric orders. At the end I did need more white quilter’s linen (which is not linen, by the way, it’s normal quilting cotton with a linen-like tone-on-tone print) and the white Architextures crosshatch. I used almost no solids in this quilt, but I reluctantly admit that this quilt needed at least a teeny tiny bit of negative space to provide structure. Rachel’s design includes sashing that forms a cross that I didn’t want to lose in the chaos. Almost every other background besides that sashing is a print.

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I’m going to keep the back really simple, because let’s be honest the party’s in the front on this one. The back is not likely to see the light of day, but of course I want to know in my head it’s pretty. And on the off chance I ever allow anyone to sleep under it I’ll want them to enjoy the back.

I love using beautiful large scale prints on my quilt backs so I’ve been stocking up on yardage whenever I see a sale on fabric that fits the bill. I pulled these 4 Anna Maria Horner options because #1 I’m completely in love with AMH lately and #2 there is A LOT of AMH on the front so it seems appropriate.

My plan is to use the WOF (width of fabric) of one of these prints down the middle and then fill out the edges with something subtle. That’s kind of my go-to backing plan because it avoids any complicated pattern repeat alignment.

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I’m leaning toward one of these choices but I’m not going to tell you which because I don’t want to sway your answers. I’m curious what you guys will think!

Ok, I promise the next time you see this quilt it will be quilted and bound!

Linking up with Quiet Play’s Paper Piecing Party since most of what’s new here is paper piecing.

Tease Tuesday

Just a tiny sneak peak today at something I’m working hard to get done in time for Blogger’s Quilt Festival.

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Unlike a lot of my projects lately, this one is my own original design. I really hope you guys like it!

Linkups for BQF open Friday and run through the following Friday (October 31). The week after that is voting! The festival is such a great source of inspiration and connection. Definitely check it out if you’re not already planning on entering.

For now, I’ll be linking up for WIP Wednesday… as soon as it’s Wednesday.

Going post-modern

I didn’t get to go to Quilt-Con, but I eagerly read all the blog posts about it and also enjoyed the lectures on Craftsy. I remember it got a lot of people talking about labels and in particular the Modern Quilt Guild’s definition of “modern quilting.” I don’t think it was long until all the hullabaloo caused the MQG to adjust the definition to be a lot more inclusive.

This is the definition right now:

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.

The thing is, I’m not sure this definition goes far enough yet to include quilters like me. I’m not inspired by minimalism and negative space and solids. I admire it, but I don’t enjoy doing it. Clearly that last sentence tacked onto the end of the definition is supposed to make me feel included. They’re trying. 🙂

I want to make it clear that nothing I’m saying here is meant to be controversial or negative in any way. I recognize the tremendous contribution the Modern Quilt Guild has made and continues to make to the quilting community. I just find this topic really interesting and fun to discuss. Truthfully, this is more about me finding my place in the community than about me making judgments on the kinds of quilts others are making or should make.

One reason I find this so interesting is that I’ve been searching for my own style and I think I’ve been able to narrow it down this year. My goal is simply to make really educated decisions about what quilts I choose to spend my time making. I want to love my quilts when they’re done. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • For me, life is too short to use solids, even for backgrounds. Why use plain white when you can use polka dots or a subtle text print? A huge part of my enjoyment of the process has to do with how absolutely stunning printed fabric can be.
  • I prefer scrappy quilts – the more fabrics the better. It’s too repetitive to make the same block over and over in the same prints. I love to vary the background fabrics too.
  • I think it’s really fun to “deconstruct” large scale prints by using them for piecing and not just large borders or backings.
  • I like low-contrast quilts that need to be really examined for the design to come out. High contrast is good too but not necessary.
  • I like really elaborate quilts that take a long time to make: true modern heirlooms. On the other hand, I always like square patchwork- especially when it’s really scrappy.

So the question I’m asking is this: are we going post-modern? I feel like I’m seeing less of the truly minimalist super-modern quilts. Maybe I’m just more likely to follow the blogs of people who make quilts like mine. But I’m really curious whether you guys think the tide is turning back to more traditional designs.

And just because I know you don’t want a post with JUST WORDS here are my latest Penny blocks:

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Apparently I was in a bit of an Anna Maria Horner mood.

Apparently I was in a bit of an Anna Maria Horner mood.

Thoroughly post-modern if you ask me!

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday  and Thursday Threads since I’m never ready in time for WIP Wednesday lately! Oh, and this new one. Check it out.

Penny progress

We are almost done with the appliqué portion of the Penny Sampler class!

Here are my blocks to date:

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These are the new ones from this week:

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My style tends to vacillate between “pretty” and “funky.” The quilt was feeling more on the funky side so I purposely did 2 things this week to start to soften it a bit: I chose floral fabrics for my sunflowers and I forced myself not to sketch stitch them. I think it was the right choice. When we add some of the large sections of borders I plan to use large scale florals and that will do a lot to prettify things as well.

I am going to love the heck out of this quilt.