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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Hey, Wassily #2 - Quilt Expo Modern Mini Quilt Challenge



     April and early May were BUSY!  I finished my two college art classes, took a 6 week (one morning a week) watercolor class with my mom at a community art center, completed 24 hours of Continuing Legal Education classes, took over newsletter duties for one of my quilt guilds, and co-hosted a wonderful 90th birthday luncheon for my mom! Whew!  No wonder I haven't been quilting or blogging!  
     May 1 arrived, and it was time for the Quilt Expo Modern Mini Challenge (link to web site). I have entered twice before, with "Off the Rails" last year and "Stepping Stones" in 2017. I enjoy this challenge, but couldn't begin to work on my submission until May 8!
     I did have an idea in my head for my piece.  The art of German Expressionist painter Wassily Kandinsky fascinates me and his Color Study piece inspired me.  I wanted to work in solids, and use the Kona color of the year, Splash, as a part of this piece.  I decided to forego white or black, and tried to pick a limited and saturated color palette that had some contrast created by using warm and cool tones, and dark and light tones.  I wanted the colors to zing!  
     I also wanted to experiment with free cutting (no templates) and piecing circles.  I continue to be inspired by Maria Shell's work.  I attempted a piece last year, but wasn't entirely pleased with the end product.  The curves weren't as curvy as I had intended and I also wasn't entirely happy with the composition of the final piece.  
I called this Hey, Wassily. 
     I started with a few test pieces to see how much work and fabric was required to make these blocks. 
You need lots of pins to sew curves like these! 

     I had picked 8 colors for the circles, and pieced them one layer at a time, trying to keep the center and finished shapes generally the same size.  I was enjoying the variety and the wonkiness of the shapes!  
     Since I was on a tight timeline, I made lots of decisions as I was going along.  I started with circles of just 2 colors.  I was also undecided about the background, which was between white or Kona's "Splash", a turquoise shade that is the color of the year.  
I put the two color circles on my design board.

     I looked at this for a day, and decided to use "Splash" for the background of all the blocks, and to add another ring of color to each circle.   

     I pieced the background around the circles, and used a square ruler to cut each block 8 1/2 inches square.  
      Once I fussed with the block placement, I began my quilting, using thread that pretty much matched the colors.  I usually like Aurifil for quilting, but didn't have all the colors on hand, and so ended up using Sulky (which worked just fine, too!)  I used a few different designs in the quilting to add a touch more textural interest.   Here are a few close-ups 




     I considered binding the piece in a black and white stripe, and also considered facing the piece.  I ended up binding in the turquoise, to to keep the focus on the colored circles.  
     I am quite happy with this piece, which measures 24 inches square.  I am glad I finished it in time to enter it into the contest.  There are loads of really interesting and beautiful modern quilts entered this year.  Please check them all out!  You can find all the entries in a photo album on the Quilt Expo Facebook page here.    
Submissions can be added through May 21, and winners are announced the following week.  
     Here is a photo of the back of the piece, where you can see all the quilting against the white backing.  
I am heading to a quilt retreat soon, and can't wait!  

Take care,
Gretchen  





Monday, April 1, 2019

Electric Stripes!

   Finally finished the quilt for little Nayla, a new arrival to my big extended family.  
    This quilt is the result of some experimenting with striped fabric.  Last year I had won some batik striped fabric in a raffle.  I loved how fun it was to work with the stripes, and figured out what the fabric was (Hoffman Artisan Batiks Elemental Stripes) and ordered up more.  

     One of the fabrics was in very bright, primary stripes.  
     I cut the squares to make the half square triangles that form the basis of these pieces, and tried many variations of putting them together. 

     I really enjoy the watercolor effect of these fabrics, and how interesting the squares are when mixed up and put back together.  (Isn't that just the beauty of making quilts?) 

     I tried out a pretty big lap size layout, but didn't really know where such a quilt would go.  It was quite vibrant and busy.    I ended up making two smaller pieces for baby quilts out of the squares.

     The baby quilt tops:
     Nayla is now two, so I wanted something a bit bigger than those pieces.  I decided to add some bright yellow solid to one of the center pieces, and then created a border of the striped fabric.  I ended up binding it in the yellow as well. 
     I like how the yellow sets off the center, and really like how the border looks.  The border had to be mitered, or else it would have looked odd!   The quilt finished at 48 inches square.
      Now that my Tiara is in my sewing space with the other tools of the trade, pinning and quilting went fairly quickly. I am enjoying  listening to the audiobook versions of the Agatha Raisin series by M.C.Beaton while sewing.
   Betty found the quilt to be just perfect and comfortable.  Unfortunately, this means I had to wash it again before sending it on! 
   The backing is a Kona Cotton wide fabric.  I have been looking for an opportunity to use it.  I did a simple big stippling all over the quilt.
     In other news, the "Turnabout Patchwork" quilt I made for the blog hop has also been gifted to another new member of my extended family.  Little Baby Coen is going to be cuddling with the fun circus animals!  
   
     I keep hoping that spring will come soon, but there is still snow on the ground, but there is also some open water!  Hurray!  
     Enjoy the spring, and I'll catch up again soon! 
Take care,
Gretchen