Tag Archives: modern quilt design

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



Filed under design, quilting

Belated Sisters Post

Yeah, most of you have seen this quilt before, but this is a better photo. I didn’t get to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show this year, but my quilt did. And posting about it fell through the cracks with my grandson’s visit. But my online friend Tierney visited it and caught a photo for me. It is so nice to see the quilt hanging, flat, and with quilting visible.

At Sisters whole

The hand is because the day was windy.

Portland Modern Quilt Guild had an exhibit area and set a theme: modern traditional.  The traditional was the 9-patch blocks   (after I ripped apart a 36-patch top I didn’t like), the modern, the Layered Curves, my favorite “score” from Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. (A ‘score’ is not a pattern, but a starting idea that can guide–limiting or changing as one progresses.) While using improv fabric in traditional patterns is fun to do, I enjoyed this reversal of putting the traditional in the made fabric.

For those new to my blog, here is a blog post with links to posts about the history of construction.


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Piecing Big Curves Without Losing Width

My friend, Tam, and I met for a sew day. She had a patchwork top that she wanted to add curves to, but couldn’t spare any width. She had a plan, but I was a skeptic. So we tested it on stash fabric that can become a charity quilt, and width won’t matter on it. Spoiler: She was right. The method is a bit fiddly, but when a detail is important, fiddly is worth it.

We laid the curved piece (green) on top of the whole fabric (print)–both right sides up–and marked along the curve.

curve-first mark

We used a hera marker because the fine line helped accuracy. Next we marked a second line half an inch UNDER the green.

curve--second mark

Note: we took photos from both sides of the table, so you can’t tell from the above that the second line was under the green. The measuring gadget helped accuracy, but any ruler would do.  We could not make continuous lines because the straight line of the ruler didn’t match the curve. So we made many single marks and joined them. Again with the hera marker, though I had to go back and use chalk on the cutting line. Tam’s eyesight was better than mine–she needed only the hera marked line.

Before cutting, we marked registration marks to aid in matching the two pieces.

curve first dot

We laid the green back matching the line drawn along the edge. The first mark was a short right-angle line across the cut line, marking both fabrics. We started with an erasable marker that was aqua–it showed up fine on the green but minimally on the print, so we supplemented with chalk. So that we wouldn’t confuse the marks, we used one perpendicular line, then two, then three, then back to one, etc.

So that we could see the mark when joining the pieces and when stitching, we needed a second mark on the cutting line under the green.

curve--inner dot

These too were 1,2,3,1 … little perpendicular lines.

Next we cut along the line that was half an inch from the edge under the green (had it been lying there). (If there is any mistake I’d make doing this, it would be to measure the second line the wrong way or to cut on the wrong line. I paid close attention, and Tam helped keep me on the correct line.)

curve-cutting line

We used scissors; it would have been possible, freehand, with a rotary cutter–whichever helps you be most accurate.  You can see how wide the chalk line is, so had I been able to use only the hera line, it would have been more precise.

The green is returned and placed edge to edge–right sides up. One will be turned so that they are right sides together.  Whichever piece has the concave curve (or the most concave curves) goes on top. In this case, the green had two long concave curves and the blue only one small one.

curve--concave on top

I am pointing to the blue convex curve.

Next, because marks were so hard to see on the print, we pinned at the registration marks.

curve--matching dots

The three little lines are clear on the green and the white barely visible on the print.

Notice that the pieces don’t look like they fit.


However, only about an inch has to fit at a time.

Sew a quarter-inch seam.


Had the marks shown better, I would have done my preferred no-pin method–it gives more flexibility in aligning the two pieces. When doing no-pin, I keep looking ahead to see how close the registration marks are and tug gently on the piece that looks like it might fall short. The gentler the cut curve, the easier it is to sew.

Press from the top, whichever way the seam wants to lie.


Finished, it lies almost flat.

curve--lies flat

The first curve lay perfectly flat–no photo, kinda like the fish that got away. This bit of pooch will quilt out. I think it happened because of the S-curve, the change in convex/concave. Or it could be because my chalk mark wasn’t as precise as Tam’s mark with the hera marker on the first curve.

But what is important is that the edges meet.

curve--edges even

Here is the finished section to show how large the curves.

curve--finished piece

Large curves, though unwieldy, tend to be gentler, so easier to manage.

A few more sections, also with curved piecing, and it will be a child sized top.




Filed under quilting, tutorial, Uncategorized

Quilt Show–Traditional or Modern?

These last quilts meet some tradition and some modern criteria. Sometimes it seems thinking in a continuum instead of in categories makes more sense. There were a couple quilts in the second show post that I thought also had some features of each. If I’d planned ahead to this post, I’d have saved them for it.

I think I remember others having distinguished between contemporary quilts and modern quilts that follow the “modern aesthetic.” In that classification, these would perhaps be contemporary quilts. There is no doubt in my mind that future historians would look at them and know they were made early twenty-first century.

NW Calypso

Jan Laus’ “Calypso”; quilted by Robin Hill

“Calypso” design comes from Smith and Milligan’s Simple to Sensational Batiks.

NW Radiant Suns

Darlene Miller’s “Radiant Suns”

“Radiant Suns” is a pattern by Cara Gulati.

There are those who question whether modern quilts can be made with batiks. I’ve heard other such absolutes be modified in a year or so.

NW Suitcase quilt

Carol Brown’s “Suitcase Quilt”; quilted by Carol Parks

Carol’s design source is “Trip X 2,” […] Designs. Alas I cut off too much of the right side of the label to read the full name.  This quilt won the Linda Tamlyn award for best use of color. Well deserved, don’t you think?

NW Splat

Jackie Putnam’s “Splat”

Jackie followed Bethany Reynolds’ Stack and Whack method. Sometimes I wonder at the source of a quilt name.There must be a story.

NW Quilt of Valor

Charel Walker’s Quilt of Valor; quilted by Colleen Barnhardt

Charel’s design came from American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. Quite a few guild members  make quilts of valor.

And I remembered quilting shots on this one and the next one.

NW quilt of valor detail

Nw orange parfait

Kazumi Peterson’s “Orange Parfait”

NW orange parfait detail

Kazumi modified a Fons and Porter “Easy Quilts” design. Her award is for the small pieced quilt category.

I just want to say again that what category I place a quilt into (or that others do) has nothing to do with how much I enjoy a quilt.  This is the last show post and I look forward to the next show.





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Quilt Show–Second Installment of Modern

Now for the modern quilts (in my eye) that were not so labeled.  In some cases it may have been a factor of size–big bed quilts have to hang on big frames (and the committee has the right to change categories). First the biggest, the queen sized quilt:

NWM2 aviatrix

Tam Gardner’s modification of Elizabeth Hartman’s “Aviatrix Medallion”

Tam’s quilt was quilted by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts–I apologize for not having photos of the quilting–or of any of the quilting for this group.

NWM2too much for me

Maureen Orr Eldred’s “Just a Little Too Much For Me” quilted by Kathy Morrison.

Maureen used “It’s a Plus” pattern by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic.

NWM2 red sunrise

Marjorie Rhine’s “Red Sunrise,” an original design

Marjorie Rhine reappears via her pattern, “Rotini.”

NWM2 Bali-tini

Nikki Schoeffel’s Bali-tini

NWM2 polka dot com

Kathleen E Schmidt’s”Polka Dot Com 2016″

Kathleen used a Freddy Moran pattern, Dot Con, and the quilting is by Jolene Knight.

NWM2 baskets

Sharon Bishop’s “Wonky Baskets”

Sharon took a workshop with Kristen Shields but produced her own free form, liberated baskets and layout design. Kazumi Peterson did the quilting.

NWM2 reverse star

Pieced and quilted by Kathy Morrison

My photograph of the label doesn’t show Kathy’s title; it does show that the pattern came from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

These quilts each struck me as modern in some way or another. I am always interested in definitions and would welcome comments about the degree of modernness that you see or don’t see in them.  Although I can get caught up in discussion of criteria, it doesn’t inhibit my quilting style or appreciation.





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Quilt Show–Quilts Labeled ‘Modern’

This is the first year my local guild has had a modern category, and there were a good number entered in it.  There were also modern quilts in other categories. Today I’ll share some of the self-labeled modern ones. Not all of them, though.  I took photos on two days and got two of some quilts and none of others. I need to become more methodical.

The show is not juried, but each category does have one quilt that gets a ribbon. Here is the modern one.

NWM Reach for the Stars

Colleen Barnhardt’s “Reach for the Stars”

No question why this is the one with the ribbon; isn’t that quilting wonderful? And the asymmetrical design. Here are some close ups.

The quilt is original design using traditional blocks; one of my favorite quilting designs is the ghosting of a block.

Here are more:

NWM Bedtime Stories

Karen Nelson’s “Bedtime Stories”

Karen attributes this one to a Rachel Kerley “Splat” class–unfamiliar to me. She says it is a way to showcase special fabrics. I didn’t get a detail of the quilting, though it would have deserved it.

NWM delightfully deco

Chelsea McLennan-West’s “Delightfully Deco”

The quilt was part of a quilt-along led by Christa Watson. Several people helped paper piece the quilt, and it was quilted by Debbie Scroggy.

NWM hearts and points

Etta Gordon’s “Hearts and Points” from Elizabeth Hartman’s pattern, “Pointy”

NWM triple play

Christine Jiun Li’s “Triple Play,” an original design

NWM sparkle punch

Dianna Miller’s quilt from Elizabeth Hartman’s “Sparkle Punch” pattern; quilted by Jolene Knight.

And I got a quilting detail shot of this one.

NWM sparkle punch detail

Of course, I also took the chance to get upright photos of my two quilts.

Skyline --hanging


without orange--hanging

Without Orange There Would Be No Blue

Quilts can be put for sale at the show, hence the red sign. There are not many sales as most viewers are quilters who can make their own. The quilts with green signs are from the treasure hunt, a gimmick to entertain the younger set who may not willingly have come to the show.  Another feature for the young ones (and adults) is Build-A-Block. Parts are set out and folks can design blocks that fit the 9-patch construction format.  Blocks are sewn as turned in and eventually assembled into charity quilts.

Tomorrow I’ll show some modern quilts that were not so labeled, and the post after that will be of traditional quilts.



Filed under quilting, Uncategorized

36 Fragmenting–Better Quilting Photos

I had time to take photos while the light was right, finally. Instead of editing the old post, I’ll just put them here. First the whole quilt. By putting it sideways, I got better light on all of it.

36 Sideways large

Now you can see the swooping lines made with the walking foot that continue into the border. What you see on the right is the top, though I am not sure it matters.

And the three filler designs:

And the quilt has yet another name.  After show and tell at guild meeting (Portland Modern Quilt Guild), Chris suggested using a quote from van Gogh, “Without Orange There Would Be No Blue.” I like it, so the name is changed.


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Orange Layered Curves Finished and Named

The quilt’s title is Thirty-Six Fragmenting; that name seems fitting, considering the quilt started out as a 36-patch baby quilt. I was about to type “Untitled” on the local guild show entry when the title occurred to me. Nothing like last minute.

So here is the finish photo. It is too late in the day for good lighting. I may change the photo tomorrow.Or the day after. Or . . . ETA Actually I’ll just put photos in a new post (here).

Finished top

50 x 70

When I pulled it out to quilt, I found the border was waiting to be applied–darn! I was thinking it was ready to go. I hadn’t thought the design needed a border, but I did need the quilt to be larger. Now that it is bordered, yes, it did need it! I really like it better this way. I think part of what makes the border work is that it matches colors in the blocks and “bleeds” into them.

Long lines are quilted with the walking foot and filler is free motion quilted. I pondered long and hard over how to quilt it. I wanted the quilting to further the design, not conflict with it. Plan A had been to echo all the curves, letting lines butt into each other. But that got way too busy. (I didn’t sketch; I auditioned them in my head–the actual stitching and the overlay drawn lines are just too different for sketching quilting to work well for my planning.) I finally got out the walking foot and just started with one big curve. After it was finished, I realized I needed to decide which curves were worth the emphasis of added lines of quilting and then ignore the rest.

The quilting shows a bit better in this half shot.

36 upper

Once the curves were stitched, I switched to the free-motion foot and thought about fillers. Plan A was circuit board, so I did one section. My thought was to contrast straight line and corners in the filler with the curved dividing pattern. But to use the same design  for the whole quilt seemed boring. (Oddly all over patterns don’t seem boring to me, but because of the divisions, this quilt seemed to need variety.) Since nothing from my limited filler repertoire seemed appropriate, I browsed Leah Day’s 400+ ; obviously with that many to choose from, I needed some criteria:  It couldn’t have lines close together because I wanted contrast with the narrow lines echoing the curves. I wanted about the same density as circuit board. It needed angles. I finally found Angles and Circles and Playground Blocks. ( I should note that Leah Day has one called Circuit Board that is different from what I used. I don’t remember where I originally got the one I used. ) I added a few circles to Playground Blocks to make it a transition between the other two; now that it is finished, I wish I’d added a few more.

The border was another design decision–independent or a continuation from the center. I decided to experiment with the latter, and I am glad I did. It makes the border seem less like a traditional quilt border. To maintain that effect, I faced the quilt instead of binding it. (I didn’t have enough of the lighter blue to do a two colored binding, which would have extended the border colors.)

There are a couple small tucks, front and back.  It could be the super puffy batting or it could be operator error: Maybe not smooth enough pinning (usually I quilt from center out, so the quilt can keep moving if necessary), maybe inaccurate long seam stitches , maybe not holding the layers tightly enough while stitching. Maybe I just need more practice.

The backing fabric was a lucky find: half off of $6.99! No fancy piecing on the back, but I did match the print at the seam as shown in Elizabeth Hartman’s free intro to Craftsy classes, Pieced Backs. Up close you can see the seam, but not from the magic four feet.

36 back

Among other things, I need more practice with travel stitching.

History of the quit:

Beginning failure. This disaster has been in time-out since October 2013! Rescued by Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters, Layered Curves (Score #7).

Testing an Idea (Jan 2016)

Six Blocks (Jan 2016)

Nine blocks (Feb 2016)

Top sans border (March  2016)

I’ll be linking with Moving it Forward Monday, Free Motion By the River, Free Motion Mavericks, AIHQ, and if I don’t finish anything else this week, TGIFF–links in side bar, but link up at Celtic Thistle Stitches 4/29/16. Finish it up Friday (link added 4/29/16 because I forgot last week).

4/22/16 ETA yet another new title. At guild show and tell Chris suggested “Without Orange There Would Be No Blue” (quoting van Gogh) for a title. I like it.

7/5/16 Adding link to guild Show ‘n Tell, April meeting, for a hanging view.

8/1/16 Adding link to the Sisters Outdoor Show for the best photo yet.


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

City Quilt Progress

The two half petals are sewn. Here is the first one.

city large segment

35 x 31 inches

You may remember a red bottom line in the original plan. The more I looked at it, the less I liked it. I wanted enough red for interest, but not enough to usurp the red in the fabric. As I auditioned various colors, I realized the dark blue echoed the narrow blue and black lines in the print, liked it and went with it.

Then to decide on the size of the second one I did some rough sketching.

This is with the smaller half petal about 3/4 of the larger one. I like that sizing, but am not sure yet of the placement. That will be easier to decide with the real pieces. I have often found that my mental enlargement with color doesn’t accord with what the pieces look like after they are sewn. Spaces and proportions that work in a small sketch don’t in the real piece.

I plan for the quilting lines to follow the background piecing lines, so I needed to think about options for the pieced background here as well. From many sketches, I chose these two.  Sorry the ray lines on the right one are so faint. I am leaning toward the curving lines on the left, anyway, except I think there may be more space needed between the two shapes than I like.

So out comes the “design” sofa-bed (and there goes my living space till this part of the project is completed). I put tape on the mattress to mark the desired finished size and began to work with the layout.

city layout 1

Now to work on spacing and background. See you later.


Filed under design, quilting, Uncategorized