Mint Swirl, Bound and Entered

Most everyone voted for a red binding earlier; I agreed. So red it is. Riley Blake confetti cotton red. Luckily I’d bought a couple reds and a darker teal when I was RB shopping.

Since today is the final day for submitting to the Modern Quilt Guild’s Riley Blake challenge (#mqgfabricchallenge), it is a good thing the weather, my quilt holder’s schedule, and my schedule cooperated for the photo. (The binding has been stitched for about a week.) I lost a little width and length because the sides were more irregular than I’d realized when measuring earlier. After trimming to the smallest on each side, I ended with a quilt 49 x 68. Close enough to the 50 x 70 goal.

Mint Swirl bound

49 x 68

Does it look like the quilt is defying gravity?  I was in such a hurry to catch the sunlight just right that I neglected to have the top on top, so yes, the photo is rotated.

Back story begins here 

Just in case you don’t read back to the beginning, I’ll repeat my design source.  I was following Sherri Lynn Wood’s Score #9, Get Your Curve On from her Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.

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Riley Blake Piece Almost Finished

About ten days ago I was arranging pieces (here); now it is quilted.

I was about to quickly sew one seam to make the back. Luckily I had the smarts to lay it out before stitching (I had cut the yardage in half, though).  Oops. I’d needed 3 yards, but purchased only 2, operating from memory, not measurements and math. Must have been memory of a smaller quilt. Since the quilt needed to be made of Riley Blake fabrics for the challenge, I got out the print pieces left over and found enough to add. (There went all hope of eking out enough of the background for binding.) So I ended up with this.

RB back

Someday I’ll hire a full time quilt holder and take straight photos, meanwhile the sofa will have to do.  The mood of the back is quite different from the front. The main fabric was purchased with more red planned for the front and sharper divisions between pieces.

All along I had oriented the top this way.

RB quilting started

When I finally got it quilted, I reversed it.

RB quilted

And I like it better this way. Not sure why. Maybe the two aqua rows were too top heavy the first way.

The quilting is fairly simple: lines following the long curve made with the walking foot; the red curves free motion quilted–some zigzags to flatten the lightest red wedges, an X in the triangle print, and nothing on the red with white dots. All the rest a moderate size meander.

I gave brief thought to doing fancier quilting, different in each wedge.  However, because I’d preferred the blended look to a graphic look, it seemed unifying the pieces was a better choice this time.

I still have plenty of time to bind it by April 30. (And the Threads of Resistance piece is quilted too, but that is another post.)

ETA: Linked with Freemotion by the River and AHIQ

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Racial Art Challenge

I have been exploring quilting as art; I have been exploring art as protest; I have been exploring racism and whiteness. Into that mix comes the challenge to Make a work of art about race as a white person in America. 

Not a challenge to a single work nor to a juried show, but a syllabus for personal reflection manifested (or not) in art production. A way of rethinking traditional art about race.

Instead of waiting till I have an idea to post, I am posting now in case some of my readers also want to do this exploration. Some of you are not in America; some of you are not white. I leave it to you to explore/make art that fits your situation.

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More Progress on the Riley Blake Piece

I had barely stopped typing the previous post until I started arranging the curves.

Here is the first attempt.

RB first try

It looked hodge-podgey, especially the larger wedges. And I did give some thought to the placement of the darker red–sewing was too challenging. To sew more wedges or rearrange? Rearranging won, and after some tweaking, a second try–pretty close to the final version.

RB second try

More continuity here, but still some awkward spots where the larger wedges just end.  And finally the top, half sewn

RB top half finished

I solved the awkward ends by continuing the wedges with print instead of background, top left and bottom right in this view (which is the quilt on its side).

In the future I think I’d save large wedges for a larger quilt, and I’d make twice as many wedges as I’d think I wanted. It is easier to pull out extras and use them somewhere else than to shift from arranging back to sewing. Even though I’d not attached all of them, the chunks I’d sewn needed some pieces ripped off and other chunks were in need of pieces being added. No way to tell in advance.

I spent some time pondering the order to sew.  I located long, doable curves without Y-seams. Then started assembling the smaller pieces into units that made up the curves.  SLW suggests appliquéing the larger curves, but I prefer piecing. So far none of the curves has been too hard to piece. I had more trouble with the smaller, sharper curves.

I had planned to bind with the background fabric; however, I don’t think I’ll have enough large pieces–maybe not even enough small pieces to add up to 250 inches. I have a darker teal and a couple reds in the Riley Blake confetti cottons, the required solids. I can think about the choice while finishing the piecing and while quilting. You can make suggestions if you like. Whether I use suggestions or not, I always enjoy exploring options.

Linking with Needle and Thread Thursday and Finished or Not Friday (buttons in sidebar).

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Progress on Riley Blake Challenge

As I said earlier, I plan to use this challenge as a chance to play with Score #9, “Get Your Curve on” from Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. To that end I have made my three sets of curves.

Riley Blake wedges sewn

This is not an arrangement, only an attempt to see how much space I can cover–I need to decide between 40 x60 and 50 x 70.  I think the latter is quite doable. The aqua row is made from three 18-inch WOF strips of three fabrics. The aqua + red from three 9-inch WOF, and the red from 4 1/2 strips from half of three of the gifted fat eights. The 18-inch arch would not have occurred to me without the book–good thing I reread the chapter before cutting; I do appreciate how it fills space.

I have a bit of geometry to learn–not by studying but by cutting and sewing. I was surprised at how quickly the short wedges formed a circle. Most of the wedges were an inch different between top and bottom.  The aqua and the aqua + red wedges were cut variously, ranging from 1/4-inch difference to 1-inch difference. (Measurements are approximate.) I think adjusting the length alone would have adjusted the sharpness of the curve.

The plan in my head had been to outline curves with red bias. Now that I see it laid out, I am thinking I might want to keep the more pastel look. Time and rearranging will tell.

Eventually I’ll link with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters (button in sidebar–scroll down to fourth Tuesday post); however, I hope it is with a later stage!

Challenge fabrics sent here.

Fabrics I added here.

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Threads of Resistance Top

As with most items, the top took about twice as long as I planned for it. But here it is.

Threads of Resistance

~20 x 24

Not much is changed from the sketch.  However, it always amazes me how different a colored design looks than the black and white sketch. I pondered long over using two shades of red for the broken sign, and I’m not sure I made the right decision. There would have been more continuity with all one shade, but I didn’t want bright in the “dirty” bottom. And I wanted bright at the top. So let’s hope the fact of red, if not the shade, is enough continuity.

First I enlarged the design to the size of the quilt, played with the arrangement of the red pieces, then drew lines completing the curves. Next I traced the design onto freezer paper for templates. Before cutting the templates, I carefully labeled each piece with a number and its color, plus I made registration marks so that pieces would end up oriented correctly. (There were a lot of small squarish pieces that would have been easy to mess up.) When doing a design with fewer pieces I don’t make two copies, but this time I knew I’d get confused.

What took the most time was figuring out the order of assembling pieces so I would avoid Y-seams. That done–and written down, I started assembly.  Although I am rather comfortable with curves, I worried that the small pieces that made up some of the curves would distort more than large pieces do. So I didn’t cut the large blue pieces till I saw how the narrow curves fit on the master drawing. Besides ironing the shelf paper onto the fabric, I also pinned because I was worried that much handling would dislodge the templates and i needed the labels until units were recognizable and the registration marks till I got them transferred onto the fabric. Keeping the paper on the pieces worked for the slight curves, but the large ones required stay stitching just outside the seamline, stitching that also was a guide for seaming.

Now to ponder quilting design and thread. Red threads? All or part? Match color of thread and fabric? Hand or machine? Big stitch for accent?  While that is germinating, I’ll turn to the Riley Blake challenge top. And keep thinking titles: Currently thinking Over 350 or Deregulation.

I’ll be linking with Finished or Not Friday and Off the Wall Friday–buttons in the sidebar.

 

 

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Stretching Art and Tradition

Back in January I finished Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water and got it mailed off. Today all the Stretching Art and Tradition quilts are online here and next year’s challenge is here.

Enjoy viewing and consider playing.

Meanwhile, I’ve prewashed my Riley Blake challenge fabric, and I’m plodding away at my Threads of Resistance piece. Templates made, pieces cut, and a few stitched.  But it isn’t photogenic yet. Soon.

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