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.

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)


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