A Few More QuiltCon Quilts

Are you tired of QuiltCon posts yet? I’m not tired of reflecting on the show.

I enjoyed Casey York’s lecture on Art History and Modern Quilts. I’m not sure I’ll follow in her footsteps, but I liked thinking about bits that can be abstracted from art earlier than modern. Then it was fun to see in person one of the quilts she had shown in her lecture, Grand Canal.

Grand Canal

Grand Canal

Then as I wandered through the show I saw an example not in the lecture, Luke Haynes’ The American Context #16: Christina’s World.

Christina's World

The American Context #16: Christina’s World

In spite of the clothing change, I recognized Christina immediately. I had to read the description to see that Haynes had  kept the value pattern of the painting in his quilt. (ETA link to Wyeth’s painting.)

Did you read all the comments? I always start out a show reading them. Then it depends on how much time I have and how many quilts there are, whether I continue. I do like to read artist’s reflections on their work. And quilters’ as well.

Sometimes I take a lot of photos, sometimes I don’t even take my camera. I find the presence or absence of camera creates two quite different ways of looking, and I like both. I’m not sure there is a rhyme or reason to the rest of the photos other than the response of the moment.

I especially liked the Spring Cotton Couture Fabric Challenge quilts because when I saw the challenge fabrics, I couldn’t come up with an idea. So it was great to see what others had done. I got only one photo of them: Katherine Easterling’s Mondrian with Munsell’s Values. 

Mondrian with Munsell's Values

Mondrian with Munsell’s Values

I’m not sure I’d have been brave enough to put black with the pastels–but I really liked the effect.

Sometimes it was the quilting I looked at, as in the matchstick above and Linda Theofoldt’s Modern Mojo 2.

Modern Mojo 2

Modern Mojo 2–detail

I doubt I’ll ever get to this level of quilting, but no harm in trying. I did note that not all quilts were so closely quilted–I thought I had some sample photos, but I can’t find them. While I love detailed quilting, there are some designs that ask for less.

Sometimes it was the piecing that caught my attention (whether or not it was in the “Piecing” section): Welcome to Colorful Colorado by Katie Larsen and City Center by Angie Henderson were; Shifting Impressions by Marianne Haak and Chess on the Steps by Krista Hennebury weren’t.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado

Welcome to Colorful Colorado

City Center

City Center

Shifting Impressions

Shifting Impressions

Chess on the Steps

Chess on the Steps

And of course the use of color in all of them drew my attention.

After this post, I think I’ll return to real life and routine programming.


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QuiltCon, Negative Space, and a Puzzle

I will start my reflections on QuiltCon with the categorization system itself, and then my thoughts on Negative Space. The categories are problematic in that they are neither consistent nor exclusive. Some categories are about method (piecing, applique,improv, bias), others about design (minimalist, use of negative space, modern traditional)–immediately creating overlaps. That within the design categories a quilt can feature negative space and be a minimalist design adds to the confusion. Even though the categories were confusing, it was frustrating not to be able to choose which one to enter a quilt in. It seems they could have let quilters say their preference and still move a quilt if they felt it filled an empty spot elsewhere. It would have been nice to know that the first glance was where the quilter preferred.

I especially enjoy seeing creative uses of negative space. I have a few photos of quilts I especially liked and a couple that show I need more information. Only a little off from the judges who gave it a third, I would have given first place to Stephanie Ruyle’s Read Between the Lines.

Read Between the LinesThe narrow red accents crossing from the design to the negative space appealed to me on this one. (And the negative space fit with my understanding of the concept.)

Also appealing to me, and with understandable negative space, were Cheryl Brickey’s Pikes Peak and  (I think I have the name right–my photo of the tag isn’t clear) Amy Dame’s Wake Up, Wake Up.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

I have a fondness for flying geese, but even without that, the overall design impact would have caught my eye. The quilting that emphasized the lines moving toward a point with its varied widths added interest. There was a clear unity between the piecing and the quilting, something I strive for but don’t always accomplish.

Wake Up, Wake Up

Wake Up, Wake Up

I was drawn to the upper half circle “calling” to the two rows and to thinking of various wake-up scenarios: parent to child, sun to plants, and so on. Again the quilting seemed appropriate to the piecing. That the quilting echoed the lower rows and not the upper half circle placed the emphasis on the waking more than the calling.

You can see that both of the above could easily also have been placed with minimalist design (something I like almost as much as creative use of negative space). And Pikes Peak could have been placed with Modern Traditionalist.

Now to the two that raised questions for me. Phoebe Hamel’s (another unclear photo of tag) Transmission and Heather Pregger’s Tuning Fork #12. (Remember, the quilters did not choose the categories.)



Where is the negative space? It all looks like design to me. Or does each row take its turn being design and then space? Or instead of seeing six rows am I to see four rows and space? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuning Fork #12

Tuning Fork #12

I really like all that I have seen of this series (three in person, several in photos). The controlled busyness appeals to me as does the subtle color variation in the background sections. The energy. My questions are these: To what extent is “background” synonymous with “negative space”? How much design can negative space hold and remain negative space?

Now it would be lovely if I could ask the judges directly, but I doubt they read my blog. So I’ll link up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar) in the hopes that readers there will comment to clarify the concept of negative space.


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I May Have Cheated on Step 3

I had wanted to finish Step 3 of The Quilted Snail’s mystery quilt before QuiltCon, but it didn’t happen. So I got to it today. AND I managed to refrain from looking at Step 4 before 3 was finished. (For newcomers,  my step 1 here, and step 2 here)

I knew what I wanted to do with the two rectangles that connect two blocks (that is where I may have cheated); I was stumped by the triangles (3 different fabrics on 3 different blocks). But there comes a time to stop pondering, so here it is.

Step 3The rectangles are added to the upper right and the lower right blocks. Yes, I know they look like sashing. But they are rectangles, and they do touch two blocks, so I’ll call them linking. They were to be the other “neutral” than the one used in step 1. Hmmm. I’d used both “neutrals” in step 1. (My “neutrals” are the two shades of teal.) So I put a light where I’d used dark and a dark where I’d used light. Seemed a good solution. It involved unsewing one seam connecting two blocks. But improv involves ripping.

I prefer piecing to applique; that is one reason I’d not yet connected all the blocks as instructed. I ended up “designing” the triangles by checking where I could piece them. Not the most refined way to make design decisions, but I strived for the best possibility within that parameter. I wanted to repeat the purple of the circle and pondered the other two. Finally decided on the reddish batik with aqua splotches in the middle and a repeat of the red batik of the long narrow strip for the top. So I’ve added one new fabric; three to go.  I used stitch-and-flip, then trim to attach each triangle. And if you followed the link above to The Quilted Snail, you know what comes next. This was probably the last gasp of piecing. The smallest circle I could insert is 6-inch diameter, and that seems too large. Applique here I come.

I am still processing QuiltCon and will probably share some thoughts and photos in the next day or so. Overall it was a good experience. As with any show, I really liked about half the quilts and disliked a few. As with any judging, I didn’t always agree.

Traveling always makes me disoriented–just realized today is Wednesday, so linking up with WIP Wed.




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Leaders and Enders Update

Time to see where I am with the 50+ starter blocks shown here.  I have pressed what then was sewn (the 9-patch to two of the rectangles) and needed pressed.


And I have sewn a bunch of 1 1/2-inch squares to 1 1/2- x 3 1/2-inch rectangles to get ready to add to the other two sides of the 9-patch.

Sashing sewn

It looks like a fairly big pile. I don’t think I cut more rectangles than I can use, but it seemed good to press and check. I counted 45 as I pressed them and sorted them into dark, medium and  bright.


Actually I was living dangerously, attaching squares without a 9-patch to mate with it.  For the most part, I chose two that had some detail in common. Occasionally it was a color relationship, like opposites. And I tried to avoid repeating a neutral in the four sashings on a single block. Because I don’t like to do random, I took the time to choose which 9- patch to mate with which sashing+square and pin them.

Assembled one sideAgain, I chose a piece with squares that somehow related to the 9-patch, usually echoing a color in one or two of the patches, but sometimes a bright because a 9-patch was dull or a dark pair for a 9-patch that was made up of light squares.

As big as that pile looked, it didn’t finish the job. These eight remained.  These have some rather dark neutrals–I doubt I’ll rip them out. But they do require more careful combining.

8 awaiting sashing

They will probably get custom selected cornerstones. The goal is for all to look like this:

3 partially finished

And then to cut  triangles from 4 1/2-inch squares to add to set them on point. There are lots of leader-ender opportunities in this project. On the one hand it is nice to have a long, ongoing project; on the other hand, I may get impatient and just finish it up someday. After a few other projects are finished.

The blocks will be 7 x 7 finished. No harm in starting to sketch settings.

Linking with Leader and Ender Tuesday and Oh Scrap. Buttons to the right in the sidebar.


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Waterfront Park Bunk Quilt

You have heard of “planned over” Vs. “left over” meals? Well, this is a planned over quilt. When I was shopping the Waterfront Park collection (by Violet Craft for Michael Miller) for the Bridge Challenge last year, two ideas were forming. 1. I was buying more of the required challenge fabric than I would use because I hadn’t settled on the design yet. 2. I loved the “Bridgetown” print, but couldn’t see it in the challenge bridge quilt.

So I bought “Bridgetown,” “Flight,” and “Domino Dot” in navy, planning to use it with whatever left over fabric I had after completing the challenge quilt, supplementing from stash if need be.


The navy blue large pieces above are “Bridgetown” (all of Portland’s bridges) and “Domino Dot” (in honor of the domino games played in the park); the red bird print on white is “Flight.” The fourth design is “Reflections.” From the many color choices (and variations of dark on light) I narrowed my needs to teals and reds for the bridge challenge, thinking they would also go well with the navy “extra.”

I cut the “Bridgetown” fabric into four repeats and used them as if they were a panel; adding a square to get from WOF to the needed 50-inch width was easy. Next came the checkerboard. To cut squares and arrange or plan on graph paper? Since I had some large pieces and would prefer to have left overs in large pieces, I decided to work with graph paper.

Quilt top

50 x 70


It took several plans to accommodate the colors in hand. Or I should say to deal with absence of colors. I didn’t have nearly enough red for most ideas, and also was short on navy “flight” and “domino dot” for some. So I opted for clustering with a wee bit of red in the blue section and dark in the lighter red section in an attempt to unify the whole.

This is the second of the three planned bunk quilts for the guild’s camp project (first is here). On to planning the third, then quilting both.

I’ll be linking with Le Challenge–January’s challenge was Dots–and Oh Scrap! for the portion that was made from left overs/planned overs. And yes, even though there wasn’t enough for a couple of my ideas, there are scraps left for another project. I’ll be mixing them in with my other scraps rather than continuing to work with a single line. No immediate plans for them. And Let’s Bee Social.


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First Bunk Quilt Finished

Once upon a time, a long time ago (October 2013 to be exact), I started a bunk quilt. My local traditional quilt guild has several projects, one being to make quilts for each participant at an AIDS/HIV summer camp. I’ve always intended to make one, but somehow it gets set aside until it is too late for “this year.”

In 2013 I made up a kit to take to a retreat. It was straightforward piecing, so I could sew and gab too. I got the top finished.
Truck quilt topThat pile that shows to the left is a pile of unquilted tops. This one took its place in the queue, and all of them got set aside for me to practice a bit first.

This year at the January meeting they mentioned being short, and the article in the newsletter said they needed 45, had 12, and had given out kits for 10.  Something about knowing numbers is more energizing than a mere announcement of an upcoming project. So I got the top out.

Plan A was to quilt with yellow for most but to match the bright colors. I didn’t have all the colors on hand. (I need a stash of thread as large as my stash of fabric.) But I did have a variegated thread, primary colors. Close enough. Well, in hindsight, I’d rather have had the yellow on yellow. It was my first time using  other than 50 weight thread; this is Sulky cotton, 30 weight. It worked except for a few skipped stitches, but no gaps greater than the size of hand stitching distance.

Because I knew the quilting would show up,  I didn’t yet trust my FMQ, so used the walking foot and planned diagonal straight line quilting. It was good to know when pinning how I wanted to quilt it.

Pin Moors

I knew I was going to start with the bright squares so pinned in the yellow. I use PinMoors and it helped to know which way I would be rolling the quilt, so I could align them. I managed to quilt the whole first direction without removing a pin.  Taking them all out at the end was more convenient than pin by pin while stitching.

Now Plan A had been to quilt only at each corner of the 8-inch blocks; however, once that was finished that was too far apart, so I went back and did the lines between. (The batting I used had lost its wrap; it did’t feel as firm as that which can take 10 inches between stitches.) And it didn’t look good, so far apart.

Quilted and bound

The thread just looks dark unless you are up close. I’d have liked longer bits of each color and more yellow. You can’t always tell what you are getting when you see it on the spool. I also sewed the binding in the variegated thread.

binding and quilting detail

You can see one of the skipped stitches. And here is the back.

Striped back of quilt

Luckily I had enough of the striped fabric to add the piece and play with direction of stripes.

Most likely I’ll not have finished anything else this week, so will be linking with the various Friday finishes (TGIFF, LAFF, and Finish it up Friday).


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Mystery Quilt Clue Two Finished

It took a lot of gazing and shifting of the circle to finally decide on this:
Circle insertedWhile the folded fabric looked fine on the right in the audition (here), when I played with a larger circle there was no “right” place. I gave up my original thought, which was to insert something into the squares that did not get the red streak. It occurred to me that there would be other chances to put something there. So I started moving the circle around. It is small plate size–wait a minute while I measure it–I’m back. The diameter is eight inches. I had thought I wanted ten inches, but I don’t think any larger would have worked.

And I must say, it is the best job of inserting a circle that I have done yet. I use the Ricky Tims no-pins method. On my other tries I’ve ended up with small tucks or pleats. The last time I tried I didn’t trim the seam allowance down to the scant quarter inch, so then the concave couldn’t stretch enough to fit the convex. And the first time I tried a smaller circle than recommended. On all previous times I’d been rather careless about the angle of my registration marks so that matching them wasn’t exact. This time I was careful to make them perpendicular to the circle line. Both details helped a lot.

Clue three has been give–click if you want details. I am pretty sure where I want to put the two “neutral” rectangles; I am totally clueless where I might put three triangles. I have two weeks to ponder.

Oh, and I cheated a bit. Directions were to stitch all squares. I stitched only the ones that needed to be together to add the circle. It is easier to work with small pieces. We have photographic evidence of my plan, so I’ll not be able to cheat and rearrange any squares.

Linking to Design Wall Monday even if it is a design floor. And Let’s Be Social and WIP Wednesday–use button on sidebar.


Filed under design, quilting