Tag Archives: art quilts

“Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water” is Finished

It isn’t often that two posts in a row document the start and finish of one piece! But deadlines (real ones) can promote that.


So here is the piece quilted, trimmed to 18 x 36, and faced.  The balance is back to something closer to that in the sketches. If I do something approximately this size again, I’ll add only one inch all around. It lost very little in quilting.

I had to wait a couple days to photograph the quilting–there was no sun and  my artificial light keeps the quilting from showing. The sun finally appeared yesterday–along with temperatures in the 50s.

I like the background quilting; if I had it to do over, I’d put another layer of batting under the “drops” to fill it out better. It’s okay as is, but I think puffier would be better. Puffier would be nicer for the big “pebbles” too, but that would be impossible to place extra batting since I decided on placement as I went. Maybe the whole thing needed thicker batting.

The ice finally melted so I got it to the post office in plenty of time.

I’ll be joining Friday links (buttons in sidebar). 2/3/17 ETA: Actually linking late because I spaced it the week I finished.


Filed under quilting

Stretching Art Progress

The Stretching Art challenge was posted long ago:  This year’s theme–Dream Big; Requirements–Size 18 x 36 and try some new technique.

So I started to think on dreams. I’ll admit to censoring out options that I couldn’t imagine a design or technique for or ones that I could imagine but didn’t want to do. I prefer abstract to representational, and that seemed hard, given this theme.

About the time I was exploring ideas, I was also reading of drought and forest fires, so dreaming of water seemed a good thing. Out came the graph paper..


Grid = 1 square x inch

I doodled more than two, but kept only these. Early thoughts were flowing rivers and drops containing trees, fish, and something else. Oversized drops to convey abundance. The right sketch got me into shapes going off the edge. And the plan moved on.


The new technique would be inserting those drop shapes rather than appliquéing them. And I did.


The upper left drop was inserted whole, but I have since trimmed it and will trim a bit more. I had added 2-3 inches on each side so that after quilting I could trim to size. My estimates on how much measurement will be lost to quilting are never accurate.The biggest trim will be at the right and bottom.

I tried sewing the first drop by starting at one side of the point, then starting again in the other direction. It was okay but not great. Better was starting at the side of the shape, holding the clipped background on top and stopping, but not removing the piece from under the needle, to turn. Yes, there was stay stitching first. I tried the first one without pinning, just like I do circles, matching registration points. The second one I pinned very closely around the point. If I ever do this again, I will pin. There will never be a tutorial for this, because there is no way I could interrupt sewing to do photos.

So on to the quilting.


You may notice lines near the point. Yes, it was for reinforcement as well as design. I’d sketched a possible design (too lightly to photograph), but this is what has emerged as I worked. The unquilted background is waiting for me to decide how many more “pebbles” and where among the lines. Then on to quilting the drops.

The Stretching Art project is an annual event, unjuried.  You can join the Yahoo Group, if you are interested in considering it for next year.

ETA link to Stretching Art website.


Filed under design, quilting


No, I’m not stalling on the ocean top. But I have to think interesting thoughts while doing repetitive tasks like trimming HSTs. As often happens, I have an idea for a motif, but not for a whole piece. And I have difficulty expanding.

A while back, Mary of Zippy Quilts sent me some fabric.


She was decluttering and had decided she had no idea to go with this piece. She thought I might like the challenge. (I had mentioned enjoying making something out of what others thought ‘ugly’ fabric, and while this wasn’t considered ugly, it prompted the thought to send it.)  I found two coordinating pieces.


The motif that had immediately come to mind: a big diamond (to finally use that ruler that I bought so long ago) with a circle cut out the floats somewhere. But what else?

I started sketching.


My first idea had been partial Lone Star as in 1,3,and 4. But I wasn’t thrilled. So I thought forget the star and tried #2. (Numbering doesn’t reflect order of drawing.) I also was asking the question: Do I really need odd numbers of items?

I tried some more.


Number 5 looks too much like PacMan, #7 looks blah, but I almost like #6. Is it detailed enough?

Those ideas can cook for a while while I get back to trimming. Meanwhile, I’d like to hear what you do when you have a partial idea that doesn’t a whole quilt make.

ETA corrected spelling. Always shows up better the day after.

Linking with Let’s Sew and  Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.


Filed under quilting, Uncategorized

It’s Not Working . . .

Because I have been guilty of commenting on quilts that “it’s not working,” and have tried to get more specific, I really appreciated this blog post by Elizabeth Barton.  Hope you like it too.


Filed under design, quilting

City Quilt Renamed “Skyline”

The top is finished. I’m working on use of space and balance. Not sure I’ve captured it in this one.  On the sketch the 3/4 size partial petal looked okay; here is looks like it could have been larger. And I never did comment on the reason for the partial petals. To get the amount of the fabric print that I wanted into one petal would have been too big to add anything else other than dinky little things that didn’t seem to fit the whole. So one night before sleep hit, I got the idea of half petal shapes.

Skylne top

50 x 68

Here’s hoping those bumps quilt out.

I love open spaces, but I never seem to buy enough fabric. This background had to be pieced more than I had intended. While looking at it and pondering how to piece either of the background ideas I had sketched, I came up with another idea and went with it. The idea was to echo the shadowy/misty silhouette in the print. You can see the lower one in the above photo. And here is the upper one.

City background detail

Now my question is how to quilt it.  Do I ignore the piecing to make it even more subtle or do I draw attention to it with different quilting from what is in the green? Let me know your opinion in the comments.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall and Em’s Moving it Forward–buttons in sidebar.







Filed under design, quilting

Finally Beginning the City Quilt

You may remember my dilemma on how to use the city fabric that I liked so much. I’ve been doing a lot of mental quilting on that project these last couple of weeks. And now I have three plans, and possibly enough fabric to make all three. Since I’ve not sketched them, there are no photos.  In due course . . .

I began by starting to make Sherri Lynn Wood’s Score #1, Floating Squares for background.

Floating Squares 1

I hadn’t worked long till I decided that the very light and the very dark (relatively speaking) contrasted too much for the idea I had in mind, so I cut more squares of the two medium value (again relative) and added another of almost the same value. I stitched some, but didn’t get a photo. As I thought about the long curving quilting I was planning, it seemed the squares would clash too much, even with the near values.(I know, sometimes the contrast of curves and squares is a good thing, but I couldn’t picture it here.) So these pieces will return later for one of the three planned tops that is more rectangular.

Moving from background to figure, I pondered Score #8, Bias Strip Petals, and #9, Get Your Curve On, where the latter involves these instructions: each curve requires varying widths cut from pieces of the same length. I want varied lengths as well in my finished curve, so I cut 8 1/2 x 5 inch rectangles of colors and attached a piece of background to each. That way I can work with fabric of the same length while getting my variety.

city pieces

I oversized the pieces so I could move them around and decide as I went just how much background to keep. Before stitching two together, I’d trim to the 8 1/2 length. (I’ll admit, I did use the ruler for that part–but I cut the wedge shapes freehand when that time came.)

I laid out a first approximation to see how I liked the color spread and whether I had enough pieces to make a large enough curve to show a big enough piece of the focus fabric. The top curve will use Score #9, the bottom #8.

city first approximation

Next I began cutting and stitching wedges, deciding on the width of each piece, the amount of slant, and the length of each color one by one. It made for a lot of jumping up from the sewing machine to lay out sewn portions and ponder the next. (I don’t think it would have taken much more  time to make and use templates. But I have long gotten over expecting improv to be a short cut.)

And here is where I am now.

city curve 1 stitched

I have remedied one seam with a tuck to get the arc to lie flat–I think the bumps are from folded background fabric under the arc. Next move is to decide just where I want it on the focus fabric, then to cut and sew the big curve. Then to make the half petal bottom.  I plan to make two of these partial petals, this one on the right and one for the left. Once that is done I’ll lay it out and decide if it needs more than two–there is a design consideration to use odd numbers. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll follow it.

Linking with Needle and Thread Thursday, button in the sidebar. (I think I’ll have more to show by the time the new AHIQ (Ad Hoc Improv Quilters) rolls around, but that improv linky button is also in the sidebar so you can check this month’s entries out.





Filed under design, quilting, Uncategorized

Reviving an Old Art Quilt Project

I’ve been thinking about this project for a very long time. Since 2010 in fact. When I said then that it would be a long time till it was finished, I wasn’t thinking 5-6 years! But you know how that back burner absorbs things.(Sorry, no new photos yet because I haven’t dug it out yet–just been thinking about it. So if you are curious, you will have to click the link to the old post.)

The first thing that held me back was all that red. We’d been told to select three strips, then listened to some color theory, and then were sent to select one more. When I selected the red, I’d had thoughts of accents, not of using four colors equally.

Secondly, I had never really liked the first three blocks from the beginning sewing exercise.

The third objection didn’t occur till later, several quilt shows later. The 9-patch layout and accompanying accents became a recognizable “I’ve been to a Jean Wells workshop” thing.

One advantage to letting a project sit for a long time (I’m enabling other procrastinators here) is that you learn new techniques and get new ideas. I’m not sure which order the new ideas appeared in, but it really doesn’t matter.

–It occurred to me that I didn’t have to finish as started. (Duh!) I could add more color and thus make the red into the accent I had originally envisioned. I didn’t have to stick with the 9-patch layout just because that was what had been taught.

–At a PMQG retreat I participated in an improv exercise where we made a start, passed it on and the next person made a change. After four or five rotations we got together to discuss what we had done and why. One member’s tactic often was to slice and rearrange. (Sometimes I wonder why I couldn’t have thought of such things, but meanwhile I am glad to be led to them somehow.) Now I had a potential solustion for redoing the three blocks from the first color exercise.

Now that I have the beginning of an idea, it is time to dig those blocks out from hiding. Stay tuned (not planning on it taking another 5 years).

Linking with Off the Wall Fridays, button in the sidebar.


Filed under design, quilting