fabric challenge

Color or colour, fabric stashes and book club!

Oh no, I’ve joined a book club to read and learn hands-on about colour! Normally something that would not cause a negative reaction. But, the first thing we are told to do is cut the 150 color card swatches included with the book: The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color : A Hands-On Workbook for Mastering Fabric Selection

Rache Hauser cover
The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color : A Hands-On Workbook for Mastering Fabric Selection by Rachel Hauser.

Why do we need to cut up a perfectly new book? It goes against everything I believe! I work in a library, I’m a library technician! I can’t possibly cut up pages!

Rachel Hauser Table of Contents

Cutting up a perfectly fine book (I know I must!) notwithstanding, I am excited to be participating with a small and enthusiastic group of quilters on this project. We are a mixed bunch – some have been quilting for many years and others fairly recently. Some have an art background and many others don’t. I know we will all learn a lot from each other and this experience whether we do or don’t have an art background.

Rachel Hauser. About

I have a good size collection of fabrics in my stash. Will it suffice for this project without purchasing? I hope so, as I do want to use the colours I have collected without adding any more. My aim is a deficit, not surplus.

Fabric Stash in closet of doris lovadina-lee canadian textile artist

The first cut is always the most difficult!

Quilts at the Creek 2016 Blue By You Challenge

It was a hot weekend but that didn’t deter visitors from viewing the 298 quilts on display this year at Quilts at the Creek 2016. I participated in the Blue By You Fabric Challenge and was very interested in seeing the quilts others had created using the same bundle of Northcott fabrics. I photographed all the quilts I could find – they were scattered throughout Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Here are the quilts in no particular order:

Blue by You by Jane Cramer
Blue by You by Jane Cramer

 

Modern Hexi by Brenda Horvath
Modern Hexi by Brenda Horvath

 

Early Spring by Katie Johns
Early Spring by Katie Johns

 

Blue Gingko by Maria Pascoe
Blue Gingko by Maria Pascoe

 

My Australian Blue Sunflower by Diane Daniel
My Australian Blue Sunflower by Diane Daniel

 

Into the Deep by Kim Workman
Into the Deep by Kim Workman

 

Mama's Blue Vase by Maria Steveton
Mama’s Blue Vase by Maria Steveton

 

Underwater Blues by Joy Takahashi
Underwater Blues by Joy Takahashi

 

Blue by You by Dorothy Green
Blue by You by Dorothy Green

 

Blue Bayou Kisses by Susan Gaston
Blue Bayou Kisses by Susan Gaston

 

Hunter's Star by Daryl Workman
Hunter’s Star by Daryl Workman

 

Bias against Blue by Valerie Prideaux
Bias against Blue by Valerie Prideaux

 

Deeply Darkly Beautifully Blue by Peggy Pirillo
Deeply Darkly Beautifully Blue by Peggy Pirillo

 

Ocean Blue by Lyne Mielke
Ocean Blue by Lyne Mielke

 

Phoenix by Robert Gutcher
Phoenix by Robert Gutcher

 

...And So It Grew, Out of the Blue by Judy Messenger
…And So It Grew, Out of the Blue by Judy Messenger

 

Blue by You by Cathy Fortune
Blue by You by Cathy Fortune

 

Blue Bayou by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Blue Bayou by Doris Lovadina-Lee

It was fun walking around trying to identify the Blue By You challenge quilts. Every person used the Northcott bundle of fabrics very differently. I was impressed by the designs, the variety of techniques and the workmanship in these pieces. Which piece to you like best?

 

Blue Bayou Quilt

This beautiful bundle of blues are the Northcott fabrics selected for the 2016 Quilts at the Creek challenge: Blue By You.

Northcott fabric bundle for the Blue By You quilt challenge. (photo courtesy of Quilts at the Creek Blog)
Northcott fabric bundle for the Blue By You quilt challenge. (photo courtesy of Quilts at the Creek Blog)

This was one of the easiest quilts for me to name. When they announced this challenge at a workshop last year they called it Blue by You, but, I heard Blue Bayou. The fabrics reminded me of the changing colours of the tropics. Aerial photographs of the ocean show the colour changing from a deep blue that is almost black to a light turquoise.

Blue Bayou Quilt front
Blue Bayou Quilt front

The word bayou conjured images of hot temperatures, beaches, water and buildings painted reds, pinks and corals. I searched through my stash and found a few more blues to co-ordinate with the Northcott bundle. I added 2 small prints in red, some of my hand dyed solids and the navy with circles of blue, green and red tying the fabrics together.

Blue Bayou Quilt draped
Blue Bayou Quilt draped

Many of the colourful painted houses found in tropical climates have jalousie or louvred glass windows. The design of this quilt reminds me of looking out of these jalousie windows and seeing a beautiful tropical vista.

Blue Bayou Quilt detail
Blue Bayou Quilt detail

Blue Bayou is machine quilted with a walking foot. The undulating design in the blue rectangles refers to waves and the straight lines of the navy and blue solids to the frame of the windows.

Blue Bayou quilting detail
Blue Bayou quilting detail

Stop by the Blue By You display at Quilts at the Creek July 23 and 24, 2016. See what others have created with their fabric bundles!

 

Quilt Canada Solids Mini-Quilt Challenge!

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild issued a challenge to its members, create a 14 inch square solid mini-quilt from a select colour palette. No embellishments, no applique, and the quilt had to be bound with a faced binding. The quilts would be put on display during Quilt Canada and the pubic would vote for their favorite.

TMQG solid mini colours
TMQG solid mini colours photo courtesy of TMQG

Seven colours were selected for the palette and only 3 of these or less could be used. The colours are from the top: Storm, School Bus, Peridot, Ash, Berry, Coal, and Pomegranate.

Frond
Frond

I chose to use Pomegranate, Coal, and Ash. I created this piece improvisationally using a log cabin design.

I enjoyed the process and especially loved hearing comments from people viewing the quilts during Quilt Canada.

Frond detail
Frond detail

There were three winners of the Quilt Canada Solids Mini-Quilt Challenge. First prize went to Rebecca Burnett, second prize went to Doris Lovadina-Lee (me!!) and third prize to Lynda Hutchinson.

Many more great photos are on the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild Facebook page and blog. Head on over to see the other entries in the Solids Mini-Quilt challenge and other quilts our quild had on display.

Inspiration from architecture

I have a fabric challenge that I signed up for and am committed to having a finished piece by the end of November. I had a couple of ideas for the quilt but I haven’t narrowed down the concept so that I can begin.

Stone window panel
Stone window panel

One of my ideas is to use the log cabin block, another is to base the quilt on architecture.

Mosaic floor
Mosaic floor

Looking back at some photos taken on vacation last year may provide the spark that I need.

Mosaic floor tiles
Mosaic floor tiles

Tumbling blocks, rail fence, hexagons, attic windows, these are just a few of the patterns I see.

Mosaic floor
Mosaic floor

Inspiration is all around us, we just have to look for it.

 

Circles for the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild

I was the facilitator for the May meeting of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild. One of our new members, Emily, was interested in how to piece curved seams. So, I demonstrated curved piecing – full circles, quarter circles and my favourite – wonky circles. I used Petal Pinwheels fabric from Michael Miller. These are the six fabrics that Michael Miller donated to the  4th annual MQG member’s fabric challenge. I added the Kona solid in green from my stash.

Circles from Petal Pinwheel
Petal Pinwheel Circles

Five tips for successful curved piecing:

  1. Cut your pieces out exactly!
  2. Stitch a precise quarter in seam (a 1/4 inch pressure foot helps!)
  3. Focus only on stitching the half inch or so of the seam in front of your pressure foot
  4. Reduce the length of your stitches
  5. Match the edges accurately at the beginning of the block

When sewing curves, you will need to stitch slowly, sew a few stitches, stop, pivot to readjust the curve, continue sewing a few stitches, stop, and pivot and so on. You are only looking at about 1/2 an inch in front of the pressure foot and in smaller circles, this might only be 1/4 inch or so in front of the foot. Sewing curved seams is not like sewing straight seams where you can quickly sew through piles of blocks in an assembly line. Stitching curves requires focus and time.

Quarter Circles
Quarter Circles

The circles below were the pieces cut out of the background or square fabric. I took these circles, split them and inserted a wedge of the Petal Pinwheels fabric. I then trimmed the block into a circle. I had wanted to make the insert off centre – a little wonky but I didn’t make the cut enough off the centre line. Nevertheless, I am happy with the way they look and will use them in another project.

 

Circles with Petal Pinwheel wedges
Circles with Petal Pinwheel wedges

As for the Modern quilt challenge blocks, I need to think about them a little longer before I decide what I want to do. Should I combine the circles with the wedges? The deadline and my fabric stash will factor into the process!

Modern Quilt Guild Challenges

The Modern Quilt Guild announced the 4th annual MQG member’s fabric challenge. This year Michael Miller Fabrics is the sponsor. The fabric is from their new collection called Petal Pinwheels.

The rules are super easy: use all or some of the line, add a solid or another Michael Miller fabric and make something quilted. That’s it! So, why is so difficult to make decisions? I’ve participated in 3 other Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenges and they were challenging! Not in the piecing and quilting necessarily, but narrowing my focus in order to decide what I wanted to do.

I determined that I would try something different with each challenge – a new technique, a new block, or a new free motion quilting design. I also decided to use only the amount of challenge fabric provided and to ‘shop’ for additional fabric from my stash. This adds another layer of complexity to the process!

Riley Blake sponsored the 3rd annual MQG members fabric challenge . 6 fat eighths from the Basic category were sent out. The rules: make anything quilted, use any solid or other Riley Blake print. With this challenge I set out to try two new things.

Riley Blake quilt
Riley Blake challenge quilt

I had just seen a demonstration on making half-square triangles and decided to make the biggest half-square triangles I could with the fabric I had! I also tried different free-motion quilting designs in each of the sections. I am happy with the results. I could see improvement in my quilting from the first block I quilted to the last.

With the Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge I chose a solid from my stash that I loved. I had purchased the end of the bolt of this particular yellow/green fabric and had a limited quantity. That plus the challenge fabric resulted in this: Urban Habitat.

Urban Habitat
Urban Habitat quilt

I like the Habitat fabric pieced with the solid. I used a light pink to bind it. The top was long arm quilted by Sandy Lindal in an allover design. The angular shape of the quilting with the occasional spiral gives it a modern look.

The MQG challenge in 2011 was sponsored by Robert Kaufman. You can see many of the quilts from the challenge here. My quilt, Sunday Morning was created with the Robert Kaufman Kona Solids 5” charm packs. I added a creamy white solid to act as the sashing. This was the first time I sewed an entire quilt top using fabrics from the same manufacturer and I noticed a difference in the piecing. Since all the fabrics were the same, it sewed together beautifully – no fudging required!

Sunday Morning Quilt
Sunday Morning quilt

My husband suggested the name – he said that the quilt looked like stained glass windows. I machine quilted this one and am not entirely happy with the look of the quilting. I would quilt the top differently if I were to remake this quilt.

How many of you use fabric challenges to try new techniques? In many ways it is liberating to work on a challenge quilt. There is less of an emotional attachment. This could be because the fabrics are donated and the quilt is not being created for a specific person. Fabric Challenge Quilts allow me the opportunity to stretch my technical and design skills without pressure. Some of my most interesting pieces of work come from answering the question: What if…?

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