Tag Archives: Stretching Art

Another Beginning

So the T Quilt doesn’t have a deadline after all. (Plans had changed when I wasn’t paying attention. ) There is no rush for the baby quilt. What better time than now to start something new?

Stretching Art and Tradition is coming up early next year. This year’s entry is being held to show next year, but we have also been given a theme for next year: When One Door Closes. (Wonder where that came from. )

This time the size requirement has changed to 24 inches by 36. A little easier than the old 18 x 36. So I started thinking. As you will remember, I prefer more abstract design, and that makes following a theme sometimes challenging. Also I have some Japanese kimono silk that I’d like to use; working with silk would be the new technique.

The first idea I had was an overall 9-patch structure composed of 9 9-patch blocks, each adding one more light square (well, rectangle and an odd size at that).

The idea turned out to be more interesting conceptually than visually. So I shifted to a grid of 4-inch squares with a dark to light movement. First try

I plan all the light squares to be the silk with fabric manipulation for variety and the dark to be one shade of dark, varied textures (velvet, cotton, satin, corduroy) and maybe different close hues ( brown, purple, black).

Not sure I like the clump of four, though the idea was to have it reappear after being blocked. Again the visual interest may not equal the conceptual. So I tried again.

I’m liking it better but not committed to it. Stay tuned.


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And “Solidarity” Is Finished

A little more than the original three-day estimate, to be sure. But with each closing, more time became available, and with it expansion of work to fill available time. I did end up quilting closer than originally planned; it was good to have the option.

I quilted everything except the sky then stopped. The original plan was problematic.

2 solidarity before sky

I’d planned straight lines with a scalloped bump for a cloud. First I stalled on where to put the bump. Then on how close to make the echo lines. Then on what to do with the little narrow spaces. If I hadn’t had three days to just look at it and think, I’d have quilted a big mistake. Finally I remembered advice from a quilting class: if you want something to recede, quilt it closely. I realized that all my previous ideas kept the sky at the same level as the buildings. So my old standby, meander. Or maybe it is stippling when smaller.

2 soliarity sky quilted

But I didn’t want to let the cloud idea go, so I did a wee bit of padded quilting. I’d meant to do two, but there wasn’t enough space on the left to get the padding stitched in and cut around.

Then I tried a new way of facing that I’d learned in Elizabeth Barton’s Mod Meets Improv class on the Academy of Quilting. (I was reminded of a tailoring class I’d taken years ago where at every class the instructor said of some technique, “If you don’t learn anything else, this technique is worth the class fee.” I feel that way about this facing; however, there was much else worth while too.) And the quilt is finished.

2 solidarity finished

And I can still go to the post office and get it in the mail. Time will tell if the three shows Stretching Art and Tradition is scheduled for will take place. Meanwhile I have enough books, fabric, and yarn to keep me occupied and enough food to eat for a week or so. I hope the rest of you are coping with this coronavirus thing.

ETA: As I expected, the first show has been postponed till June. I’d have had till May to complete it.  Glad it is completed.

ETA July 7: All three shows have been postponed till 2021.

History of this quilt

Stretching Art theme for 2020 and sketch

Embroidery and beginning improv

Improv finished

Template section finished

I will be linking with Needle and Thread Thursday , the Clever Chameleon, and various Friday linky parties. (Buttons in sidebar)

Linking with Free Motion Mavericks too. But, full disclosure.  The bottom half quilting was done with a walking foot. FMQ from the “river” on up.

Also linking with So Scrappy.  and Oh Scrap! The bottom section is made from true scraps; the upper from pre-emptive scraps–IE, cut from fabric purchased for another project.




Filed under design, quilting

Building a City

In the previous postI showed the rally/march; now I am working on the city background.

2 city partial

The next time I design a city, I’ll make it require fewer than five L-seams! In the above photo, three are finished. I had originally planned to cut and piece buildings so that the seams would be straight, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would break the buildings up too much. Photo was late afternoon while there was still some daylight, so the colors are pretty true. I had all those grays on hand because I am planning another quilt with city buildings. I don’t think I’ll miss the little bit of each that I used for this piece.

Now that the city portion is finished, there was less light, so the photos are darker.

2 city portion pieced

Several of the plain colors are oxford cloth, and it is really flimsy to work with. (I didn’t want to use starch because the piece will not be washed.) You’ll notice how ripply in the first photo. I tried an old embroidery trick of ironing it wrong side up on a thick bath towel, and it smoothed right out.

And here’s a preview layout.

top plus march

I still have some curvy green to add and the river. It seemed easier to make the buildings as if they were the whole section, then to cut away the curve later using freezer paper templates. I have an extra inch all around in case piecing or quilting loses inches (required size is 18 x 36), but templates seem safer than improv for the curves of greenery by the river.

This portion also took longer than I expected, since I’d not originally planned the L-seams. But I haven’t been working constantly.

I plan to link up with Needle and Thread Thursday (button in sidebar) Oops; not happening this week.

ETA: I had thought it would be finished by Scrap Happy day, but with all the cancellations because of the coronavirus, I had free time and you know the saying: work expands to fill available time. The bottom “march/rally” portion is all made of scraps. The city from pre-emptive scraps since the fabric was bought for something else. 🙂 All from stash.

Check out other scrap projects at Tall Tales From Chiconia.



Filed under quilting

How about Four?

Not four instead of three, but instead of one for the improv piecing (estimate had been made here). Here’s why:

2 improv detail

I knew I intended to make tiny pieces; I just didn’t know how long it would take. Good thing I have some wiggle room in the schedule! A comment about the letters.  They were too small to make curves (This one is the smallest, 5 threads high), so O and D look the same.  I hope the context makes this read “wind” and not “wino”! At any rate, the improv piecing is finished.

2 piecing (improv) finshed

My only nod to perspective was the decrease in size. The letters in the signs in the foreground are 10-14 threads high. I aimed for 10 but sometimes missed a thread.  I ripped out really bad errors but not skipped threads.

Tomorrow on to making the templates for the top portion.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).


Filed under quilting


After two days, I begin to think I might actually finish by the 20th–my goal so that I won’t have to pay extra postage for 3 day or (gasp) 1 day service.

I finished the hand work this morning, made the big pattern, and made a mess looking for fabric, Then I started the improv part. I’m not trying for any realism, like making people shapes. I’m just aiming for the energy of the crowd.

2 piecing bottom half

Some pieces are attached; some are just placed to audition. At first it was hard to make the pieces as big as I wanted the for the “front”; then I had trouble sizing back down for the “distance.” So there is some adjusting to do.  The embroidery on the “posters” didn’t end up graded in as many sizes and I’d originally intended, but I think it will do.

They get quite small in the back.

2 piecing top half

I see my sketch of the “city” at the top is too light to show. The smaller sketch is here, in case you didn’t see it a couple days ago.

The plan is to finish the improv tomorrow and maybe start the “buildings.” Another day for quilting and another for facing and label and hanging sleeve.  I might not have to cancel any activities and still have plenty of time to finish. Optimism is a good thng, right?

Linking with the Clever Chameleon’s Colour Tuesday and Oh Scrap!


Filed under quilting

Stretching Art Project

The idea has been brewing for a while, but work has begun now. First the sketch.

2 sketch

As usual the required dimensions are 18 x 36 inches. The theme is community, emphasis on belonging and finding energy. Many people chose geographical responses. However, I don’t feel attached to any place I’ve lived. I went with the finding energy aspect of the prompt and thought of recent protests I’ve attended. Now all rallies are not protests of disliked policies; some are encouraging actions to be completed. (Was it FDR who said something like, “Make me do it”?) So I didn’t want to name the quilt Protests. I went for Solidarity.

I plan mostly an abstract mass of color representing a mass of people,with a few posters. I had originally sketched more posters and smaller. But once I did the lettering on a couple I realized I couldn’t get that small and have legible words, so I redrew the placement of larger pieces. The bottom portion will be improv; the top where the city background is will be made with templates. It is my hope that the windows in a couple buildings will link the two portions so that it doesn’t end up being two designs instead of one.

2 stitch

I had thought counted cross stitch would work for the larger signs and a sort of outline stitch for the middle size. I found some 32 count linen and started to stitch. It is more tedious than I remembered counted cross stitch being. Of course I used to use 14 or 16 count Aida cloth.


Filed under quilting

Stretching Art Project (70273) Finished

And here it is.

70273 finished

(It is more rectangular than the photo looks.) I am mostly satisfied with the result. I wish only that I’d calculated the trim line a bit better when outlining the space around the numbers. I liked it better when there were two or so rows of quilting all around it instead of the cut off on the bottom. I also forgot to calculate the loss of measurement when turning under a facing instead of adding a binding. Maybe I’ll remember next time. Once I finished the wishbone quilting in the back leg of the Xs I was sure I also liked the ruching. I’d been undecided till then on whether or not it had been a good idea. And the varied widths of the echoing turned out to be a good decision, I think. A little variety within the similarity and a ripple effect like a stone in a pond.

Here is a close up of the quilting.

70273 quilting detail

If I do stuffed quilting again I hope I can do a nice small stipple instead of the solid scribble that I ended up doing. And I’ve read that others use wool batting. Maybe that would have given a fuller stuffing, or maybe the wrinkles come from making large shapes instead of more delicate ones. I foresee more practicing in my future.

If you are not familiar with the 70273 project, here is information. (They reached the total of blocks February 14, 2019, but are still assembling quilts, and the education aspect remains.)

This quilt’s history


Quilting decisions

I have no other immediate deadlines. (And this quilt will get to its destination 10 days before it is due. Perhaps this is the end of my last-minute finishes.) The Stretching Art and Tradition pieces will be exhibited in Mancuso shows in Lancaster PA and somewhere in New England. I’ve lost the specific information, but will edit when I find it.)

I’ll be linking with TGIFF, Finished or Not, and Off the Wall.


Filed under quilting


  1. I don’t always practice quilting before I start the quilting on a piece, but there were several reasons to practice this time.  Stuffed quilting is new to me. (Oh I did a brief try last year on a long straight stem, but you couldn’t really tell to look that it was stuffed. ) I don’t usually quilt so precisely that I need to follow lines, and I wanted to test a look.

I liked Kate’s suggestion for quilting on the previous post, (here) as did a couple other commenters. So I combined testing that with testing stuffing.

7 practice 1

The photo doesn’t show how awful the 2 looks; I tried following the line by free motion. it obviously wouldn’t work. So the rest of the stitching is with the walking foot. Now all that turning was a breeze with the small sample piece, but I knew it would be different with the whole piece. Even though it is small (18 x 36 inches), so is my Featherweight. So, while I liked the idea, it wasn’t going to work this time.

Photos don’t show the comparison of the stuffing too well.  The 2 has one layer of cotton batting; the 7 has one of polyester. The 7 seemed a little higher, but the 2 seemed more substantial. I wondered if I could maneuver a double layer, so tried. And by then I had another quilting idea, a modification of Kate’s suggestion.

7 practice 2

Much fuller looking (you’ll have to take my word for it). And the quilting idea was to stipple the area immediately surrounding the numerals, then to close that off with a curved line, then follow the long curved line for the rest of the quilt.  The lines will start narrow. If I get too bored, I’ll gradually make the spaces between wider. In the sample I did a real stipple; on the piece itself, I was having trouble making the spaces small enough so allowed myself to backtrack.  Then it became easier to backtrack on purpose, the first rather large shape pass would ease out some fullness, then crossing over would get the density I sought. (I vaguely remember Leah Day having a background she named “Scribble.” Maybe that is what I am doing.

And so I marked the numbers on the quilt after checking to see that the Marvi marker line did in fact disappear from the trial swatch after four days.  It still feels odd, putting that purple line on white fabric! Meanwhile, while the marking shows, I took a photo so you can see the intended layout. (I don’t expect to be able to show the quilting on the whole piece ; usually I can show quilting only in parts.

70273 top-numbers

And while it was daylight I got a photo that shows the ruching.


I have 3 full days to spend on it before my preferred mailing date. No more of this Next Day stuff if I can help it.

I’ll be linking with Finished or Not Friday (button in sidebar).


Filed under quilting

Time for Stretching Art 20

This quilt has been a mental quilt since the beginning of the year when the theme was announced.  This is Stretching Art and Tradition’s 20th year, so the theme for this year’s pieces is anything to do with the number 20. (Click here for history of the art-quit show project.) One requirement is that the size must be 18 x 36 inches.

I considered several possibilities: a line of houses and an address  20 20th Street, a pair of glasses on a quilt titled ’20/20 Vision,’ and then the one I chose.

I played with the Roman numeral XX, and two Xs made me think of the 70273 project.  Either last year or the year before the project was exhibited at our quilt show, and I was interested.  In short, the number represents the number of people  killed in the Holocaust as mentally or physically unfit. The determination was made without physical examination or consultation, only a look at medical records. Three doctors examined each set, and if two marked a red X, the person was sent to the concentration camps. The goal of the project was that people make blocks, two red Xs on white, one to memorialize each person killed. The blocks would be made into quilts and exhibited (as at our guild show) to educate the public. The goal of 70273 was reached February 14, 2019; the blocks are continuing to be made into quilts. (For more information see the 70273 website, and to stay updated follow their blog, here).

I decided to make a single 18 x 36 block (of course that is not one of the required sizes.) And the top is finished.

70273 top

I had two construction concerns: keeping edges straight with the sharp angles and matching the cross-link of the X when I added the second leg. The latter was much easier than i expected, unlike other times I’ve had the same issue. But the edges!

Luckily, I had made the templates 2 inches larger than the required size. The little half-inch jog on the left didn’t worry me. Then the bottom leg got stitched upside down on its first seam.  The photo isn’t clear enough to show that each X has one leg that is ruching (I got that idea while working on the small quilt earlier.) It seemed a way to add interesting texture to an otherwise stark design. Before that I’d planned wishbone quilting on the red legs of the letters; I think one so quilted will compliment the ruching.  However, the ruching was such a pain to baste and sew that I didn’t want to rip if I didn’t have to. And I think I’ll be trimming off only1 1/2 inches, so still in the limits for the exhibit.

So far I have only one plan for the quilting, to make the numbers 70273 run diagonally from top left to bottom right in stuffed quilting. I have practiced one and am testing the marker whose lines are to disappear in a couple days.

70273 practice

I remain stumped on the next quilting steps, other than there will have to be something close to each number to help them puff up, and it has to be detailed because of the starkness of the piecing, and I don’t want quilting to detract from the two Xs.

I’ve considered sectioning it off with 1/2- to 1-inch unquilted lines with small background pattern inside the spaces made, but how to arrange the lines? Two thoughts so far: One option is 6-inch spaces echoing the lines of the two Xs. Another is rays radiating from either the numbers or the Xs. I’ll have to start quilting in a couple days, but would welcome any suggestions that get here before I start.

I’ll be linking with Needle and Thread Thursday and Off the Wall Friday–you might enjoy seeing what others link up.



Filed under quilting

“Leaving” Is Finished

I just finished the last stitch, and I do mean last–attaching the label.

Stretching Art 19 finished

I have some quilting photos from before the facing was attached.


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And the whole

a stretching art quited

Once again I had to depart from nature. Plan A had been to follow the side veins. But designwise, it seemed better to alternate directions.

Ironically, of the two due in mid February, this finished one is the one with the date extension, and the one that is still only a sketch had its date shifted to Feb. 6.  At least it is only the top that is due, and I think I can get that accomplished.

Now to get it ready to mail.

Quilt history



Top FinishedThis is the post where I talk about design decisions, for those who are interested.

Sometimes quilt history is shorter than others, and of less duration.Deadlines can do that.  Stretching Art information here with photos from last year.

Linking with Connie’s Freemotion by the River.

I’ll be linking with the TGIFF and Nina Marie’s Off the Wall (button in sidebar).


Filed under quilting, Uncategorized