Monthly Archives: April 2015

President’s Challenge Quilt 2

I was inspired to create another President’s challenge quilt after reading Gwen Marston’s new book: Minimal Quiltmaking.

Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston

Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston

I love the quilts in her book, they look simple and spare, yet the designs are powerful. There is something very interesting going on in each quilt. Sometimes it is the colour combination used like in: Turquoise on page 47. There are only four colours but the composition makes the quilt glow!

Other quilts have a very strong graphic quality, like: Winter Beech on the cover above and on page 56. Gwen has distilled the idea of a tree into its simplest form.

Spring is the challenge word and bright green grass sprouting through snow was the image that came to mind. I wanted the grass to be a small rectangle floating on top of a 12″ quilted square that would act like a mat.

grass

Improvised grass

I roughly sketched out the different grass shapes on paper so that I would get the proportions correct. The finished grass piece needed to be about a 3″ x 9″ rectangle. Hand dyed green cotton was improvisationally inserted into white linen. I started piecing from the left side, cutting and inserting and pressing as I went along.

grass detail

Grass detail

I auditioned the grass strip on a 12″ square, trimmed the top and bottom and added a 1/2″ strip along the bottom, this was the snow that still covered the ground!

grass closeup

Grass closeup

The blue/grey linen square was finished using the pillowcase technique and then machine quilted with a walking foot. I used a lovely metallic mauve thread to quilt the lines. Even though I cut the square so that it would be 12 1/4″ finished, the quilting process shrunk the top a little. Next time I think a scant 12 1/2″ square would be better (bigger if the quilting is denser).

grass blocked

Grass quilt being blocked

The grass piece was also finished using the pillowcase technique and then hand stitched on top. Blocking the quilt was necessary to make the piece square and flat. The finished size is about 11 3/4″.

I am very happy with this quilt. Creating a minimalist piece is more difficult than you might imagine. While I was working on the quilt, I would constantly ask myself whether I could eliminate anything from the design and still maintain my vision. What were the very basic elements of the design that needed to be included in order for the quilt to work? It was this constant dialogue that helped me throughout this process.

Do you talk to yourself when you quilt?  :o)

Metamorphosis Series

Chrysalis Awakening was the quilt I created as part of the Canadian Quilters’ Association “It’s Time for Colour Show“. This piece was sold and the money is going the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. Those of you attending the Creativ Festival on April 24-25th will have the opportunity to see these beautiful one-of-a-kind quilts in person.

Chrysalis Awakening Quilt

Chrysalis Awakening

As soon as I finished this piece, I knew that I needed to create three more to complete the cycle. There are four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly: egg, larvae, chrysalis and adult. With Chrysalis Awakening, I had completed the pupa or chrysalis stage, where the larvae or caterpillar anchors itself to the underside of a leaf and transforms itself.

Metamorphosis leaves

Metamorphosis leaves

To create the other three stages, I pulled some green fabrics to create the leaves. These are improvisationally pieced and so much fun to make. The one on the right above is too big!

Metamorphosis leaf

Metamorphosis leaf being cut down

So, taking the leaf that was too wide and long, I cut a curved section out and will piece it back with smaller sections on each side. Below, I’ve stay stitched the area where I am going to insert the purple fabric to create the vein.

Metamorphosis leaf insert

Preparing leaf to insert purple fabric for vein

I’ve included just a few of the process pictures. I still need to individually back and free motion each leaf, insert the leaf into the background fabric, free motion quilt it, appliqué the flower and then quilt it, and bind each one of the quilts. Each leaf will also have a special surprise hiding underneath. The quilts will be similar but not identical, each having their own personality.

Metamorphosis leaves

Metamorphosis leaves with backing and flowers

Above, you can see that I’ve grouped the leaves with the backing fabric and flowers. I may switch them around again before they are finally pieced into the gorgeous cotton ombre fabric of the background. I will use the same piece of fabric I used in Chrysalis Awakening but each quilt will be a different colour, due to the gradation across the fabric.

The Vibrant Path chakra quilt

The Vibrant Path

This is the finished piece I submitted to the Sacred Threads Exhibition. It’s a chakra quilt based on the Kundalini serpent design. Kundalini is a Sanskrit word describing the life force or spiritual energy that resides in the body. I’ve been exploring the ideas of balance in our lives or more likely, imbalance in our lives! The Kundalini serpent represents the seven energy centres (chakras) awakening, rising up, activating each in turn until a whole, healthy and balanced state is achieved.

The Vibrant Path

The Vibrant Path

This is a juried exhibition, so I won’t know until the end of April whether this quilt has been accepted. Below is a detail of the Throat Chakra, it is said to be located in the throat area and deals with communication, self-expression and the truth.The Vibrant Path detail

The Vibrant Path detail

All of the fabric is hand dyed, including the background. I followed the information on Robin Ferrier’s blog on flat dyeing.

The Vibrant Path wing detail

The Vibrant Path wing detail

The top is a combination of raw edge appliqué – the wings and serpent, and satin stitched appliqué – the chakras. The quilt is machine quilted with a walking foot.

I encourage you to have a look at the Sacred Threads Exhibition website, they have a gallery of works from previous years along with the artists’ statements.

 

Pouch received!

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild participated in a pouch swap with the Victoria and Maritime Modern Quilt Guilds.  It was fun creating the pouches and luggage tags, you can see the ones I made in this post. At our guild meeting this weekend we received the pouches made by the members of the VMQG.

Flower pouch

Flower pouch

Wow! They were all gorgeous – lots of time and effort went into making very individual bags. I chose a small round pouch with a beautiful flower on the front.

VMQG pouch back

back of flower pouch

Not only was the bag lovely, it was filled with loot!

VMQG loot

loot inside flower pouch

A panel printed with nostalgic sewing images tied with the tape measure ribbon, lovely smelling soap and a small bag of buttons and embellishments.

VMQG loot detail

Soap, buttons, ribbon and pin

The blue and yellow pin is from the Satin Moon Quilt Shop which I think would be the local quilt shop of the very talented quilter that made this gift. I especially like the tiny scissors and thimble.

VMQG pouch side

side view of pouch

This was the first exchange I participated in. I understand now, why they are so popular. It’s like Christmas and your birthday receiving a surprise gift. So much fun!

VMQG loot2

Have you participated in a swap?