Category Archives: design

The Threads of Resistance Piece Finished and Entered

I finished this one first –you know the old ploy, do an easy finish first to get your energy going.  And small meant it would finish quickly. It took a while to get a photograph, and in the process I learned how to change the number of pixels. I also learned I could find the number of pixels via iPhoto, and when I did, I barely had enough. So no change was necessary.

Threads-whole-2

21 x 22

You might notice a change from the previous “finished” top. It measured less than the required minimum of 20 inches in each direction. So the partial border on the right side. In some ways it completes the look, so it is an error that helped the design.  Perhaps it also helps the theme by stopping the flight of the last piece of the prohibition sign.

After reading Elizabeth Barton’s post about artist statements, I ponder how much I should say about what I was trying: in her thinking, if it has to be said, I didn’t accomplish it. I’m not sure how I feel about this.  As a viewer, I know I’ve had my interest in a piece expanded by an artist’s statement (both in quilt art and paint art). Maybe that just means I am an unsophisticated viewer.

Caution aside. The Threads of Resistance call was for pieces expressing anger at an action of #45 or sadness about a loss caused by his actions. I chose to express anger at deregulation and all the harm it would do to the environment. (I’m curious–to what extent do you see anger or not?) In addition, when looking at it, I kept seeing hints of the traditional block, Moon over the Mountain. And I thought that too fits if you think of the loss caused by mountain top removal for cheaper, easier mining of coal–a precursor to today’s more intense deregulation. All we have left of some of those mountains is a trace, if that. I did not put the idea there; I saw it there.

Then there are ideas I neither put there nor saw there. As one comment on the finished top suggested: it actually shows freedom. In that case the mood would not be anger but exuberance. (Once again, what feeling does it make you feel, if any?) And I am reminded of grad school discussions of Paradise Lost: Is Satan the hero regardless of Milton’s intent?

And there is the problem of titles. In an abstract piece, do I want to direct/limit  interpretations by the suggestiveness of my titles?  As a viewer, I resent titles like “Untitled” or “Red dots on green squares.” Yet doesn’t anything more specific start to direct the viewer to see in a certain way (or to realize what is missing if the artist failed)? Is an appropriate title “Deregulation” or “In the Eye of the Beholder” or “Red on Blue”? to what extent is a title a limitation? An expansion?

These are not rhetorical questions: I invite discussion.
The quilting:

threads-detail-2

This detail photo captures most of the quilting variation: micro stippling in the inner circle reminiscent of the old atomic bomb shelter symbol’s triangles, miniature prohibition signs tossed around, and then more generic wavy lines and straight lines.  The mottled aqua, not shown here, is quilted with a moderate sized meander.

I recently read that there were 500 entries, and they don’t yet know how many their venues can hold since the list of venues is not complete. So my chances of getting into the show are barely better than to get a quilt into QuiltCon. But as the director of Quilt National said, “Every quilt in the show was entered.”

I’ve seen one other quilt entered, my friend Mary’s at Zippy Quilts. Do have a look at her quite different approach to the theme. I am hoping for a photo gallery on the Artists’ Circle’s Threads of Resistance blog.

I plan to link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).

Quilt History

“Finished” top

Preliminary sketches made

The call for entries (now concluded)

5/14/17 ETA link to see all the entries

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City Squares Finished

A guild quilt show coming up does help UFOs become finished pieces! This one has been in ‘to be quilted’ limbo for quite a while. One reason was that I couldn’t decide how to quilt it. Usually I have a focus to emphasize or some lines that get me started, but there was nothing like that on this one. As the deadline drew near I went with my default, meandering.

I did consider an angled meander instead of curves. I always ponder whether to echo or contrast. I thought curves contrasting to the straight lines of the piecing and print would work. And it is the easier of the two, for me. Sorry, no quilt holder available; maybe a better photo at the show.

City Squares finished

~50 x 70

I haven’t actually measured the finished piece yet; 50 X 70 is the target size.

This quilt was also inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern quilters; it is Score #1, Floating Squares. Sherri makes two suggestions for edges: cut them straight (as I did for Mint Swirl in the previous post) and follow the curves that form naturally. I tried the latter on this quilt. To deal with the curves I made bias binding. It worked pretty well.  I had most problem with the down curves.

city squares--unsmooth curve binding

This is the worst curve, and I’m hoping it doesn’t show much after being washed. Possibly a single layer binding would have helped (I always make double layer). But  a gentler curve would have helped more. Next time I won’t be so stingy about losing fabric as I create the edge.  I did feel that I had to do the binding the traditional way, machine stitching on to the front and hand sewing the back. I’d not factored that into my time allowance, so cancelled another outing in order to work on it.

The finished quilt doesn’t look much like the picture in my head.  I knew this when I had it laid out and was assembling it, but didn’t know what to do about it. It came to me while quilting. The background needed to have been closer to the background color of the print fabric; then the line between the print and the piecing wouldn’t have been so sharp and the two would have blended better. Also instead of the three areas of color I had planned with most of the red in the middle, maybe I should have used pieces to actually extend the partial city groupings in the print wherever they occurred. The quilt is okay this way, just not the look  I had aimed for.

So my three pieces for the show are finished, but I still have hanging sleeves and labels to go.  I’ll have no trouble meeting a new challenge. Annie’s Ruby Slipperz has a challenge to sew 30 minutes every day, 6 out of 7 for the month of May. (It is early May, you can join in. Information here and here.) At the end she will do a drawing from those comments on the appropriate posts of hers–once a week, I think. Commenting is more important than actually sewing every day for the drawing. This challenge might keep me sewing after these three are labeled and delivered.  Often after a push to deadlines, I take a break. This time I’ll try not to.

Quilt history in reverse order:

Finished top (way back in July)

Assembling the top

Early assembly and arranging and rearranging

Starting the arrangement

An abandoned plan

Skyline, the quilt that made the scraps

I still have a long, narrow piece of the Utopia fabric. And a couple ideas.

 

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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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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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The High Cost of Free Fabric

Seems like forever since I’ve added enough fabric to warrant a stash report, but at long last, a shopping day!

It started with the six free fat eighths provided by Riley Blake for this year’s MQG challenge (Creative Rockstar line). In the past,a requirement has been to add print fabrics only from the same line as the freebies and any solids.  This year the solids had to be Riley Blake cotton confetti.

Well, I don’t label my solids,so whenever a brand is required, I must shop. And shop I did.

Riley Blake additions

And of course some additional of the prints. The four small prints are the same as some in my six free pieces; the multicolored triangle print is for the backing. The varying shades of solid have two functions. I like using near shades/tints. And I couldn’t be sure what I saw on my monitor really matched what I had in my hand.

I did try to shop at my local quilt shops. But luckily I phoned before traveling, and none carried the challenge fabrics or the cotton confetti solids. I suppose they can’t keep up with all the challenges that are out there. I might have bought more variety in prints, but limited myself because the shop had a one-yard minimum cut. Otherwise I might have bought the two gray variations–I’d had an idea for using them. But they were not essential.

The plan I have so far involves improv. I’ve been wanting to try Score #9, Get Your Curve On, from Sherri Lynn Wood‘s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. This seemed a good chance to begin. So no sketch this time. I have nothing planned except which colors will go in which rows, which is background, and an overall size (either 45 x 45 or 40 x 60, whichever works with what I get).

This quilt is due April 30 so I can dawdle a tiny bit.

I’ll be linking with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash Report someday (Molli is on vacation). Here is the button so you can see past posts.

“Sunday-Stash-with-Molli
The button isn’t working today–it was back when I posted. Here is another link.

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