Tag Archives: Stretching Art

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

Beginning

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.

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Practicing

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.

7-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).

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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.

 

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“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

Begun

Designed

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).

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“Stretching Art”* Top Finished

Once I stopped dithering, sewing went relatively quickly, so now the top is finished.

a stretching art 19 top

Because I have several small projects ahead, I’ve set up my portable (52 x 52) design wall. I’d thought I’d be using it for this project too, but since I was following a paper diagram, I had to lay the pieces flat until now when they are attached. You may notice a couple small changes from the preferred arrangement of a couple days ago.

I got several design suggestions, but only one before I’d done a fair amount of sewing.  Kate suggested the bottom left “vein” that had been in the first rejected layout. It took me a while to remember why I had dropped it. At the time I was thinking of the way the veins really angled in the photo of the leaf. But when abstracting from reality, such things as realistic angles don’t matter. and I agreed with Kate that the design needed it.

In case you are wondering, No, the angle variations are not a mistake. I wanted the traditional blocks to be at a traditional on-point angle, and the leaf “veins” to have no right angles and not to parallel the blocks, more like the casual placement of modern improv, and the two “grids” to be in tension. I don’t think this tension between the two is what MQG means by their category “Modern Traditional,” but I might submit it to QuiltCon next year anyway.

I am still not sure if the design has a focus.  My eye tends to fall at the spot where the two veins almost meet above the autumn tree block. Not sure if that qualifies it as a focus.

Now to plan quilting–I have two tentative ideas. Tune in again next [whenever].

*For those interested in details of the Stretching Art Challenge, here is the link.

Meanwhile, while piecing the top I finished off 11 more sets of 5 squares for the Irish Star quilt, the relaxed schedule QAL, relaxed because many of us are making the chain blocks as leaders and enders. (Link here if you are interested in the tutorial.)

Irish Star progress

Whereas most people are making blocks as they go, I am making columns.Why do something easy if you can make it more difficult? Before I realized that each star’s background involved 4 of the chain blocks as well as the star block itself, I’d decided I wanted to use left over background fabric and not have the backgrounds match. I won’t have enough variety to make each of 17 unique, but there will be variety.  That means I have to know where the stars are going to be placed before knowing where to put the background square in each of the four surrounding sets of 25 patch blocks. (If this doesn’t make sense, go look at the tutorial.) I need 68 pairs of 2 1/2-inch squares, so it will take a quilt or two before I have them ready.  I also need to cut more pieces for around a dozen star blocks. To do that, I need to do some scrap control, i.e. cut more 2 1/2-inch squares. My color selection is getting very limited as well as there not being 136 usable squares.

I plan to link with Moving it Forward Monday (ETA link here) and Oh Scrap! (link in the sidebar.

 

 

 

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Mental and Visual Planning

I have thought on the various options I left off with and finally decided to cut strips to see how the veins would look.  “Make visual decisions visually” is advice I’d gotten somewhere; perhaps in the Masterclass with Elizabeth Barton a couple years ago. In the Masterclass, I’d been faulted for laying out strips including the seam allowance.  Trim or press it; it’s only fabric . . . But pressing seam allowances on narrow strips seemed too much handling. And of course I was always sure I’d end up just that one or two inches short. So on to viewing the plan with strips.

attempt 1

Besides trying strips in the correct size, I auditioned two possible fabrics for the possible varying of the background. I did not like the three colors of veins nearly as well IRL as in my head. And my first thought for the background variation was to add some color to the rather bland winter block. Not thrilled with that either. Moving on

attempt 2

This one seemed too dark.

attempt 3

I tried the varied background in different places.  The bottom fabric drew too much attention to itself for a background. It would maybe have worked had I stayed with Plan A to replicate the leaf segment, more or less.

To view more than one segment of the less bright color I needed to cut fabric. Since I had only a fat quarter, I had to be sure I had enough. So I went ahead and drew the “map” of the plan and the tissue paper templates. (Yes, I decided on templates instead of improv, mostly because I had to end up with a specific size.) There was enough fabric, so I laid it out.

attempt 4

And I switched out a couple leaf veins to a lighter orange and liked it. But wondered if I needed more of the alternate background. So tried one more layout.

attempt 5

You may have noticed that the spring tree doesn’t have as stable a position as the others. I’ll need to decide soon.  I like the idea of a narrow piece of the second background, maybe down the whole right of the main vein. but I don;t like the two background colors together without the vein between, and that is not a place to put a vein. I’ll probably go with the fourth layout.

I realized that I don’t have a clear focus area.  Not sure what, if anything, to do about it.

Come Friday, I’ll link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays (link in sidebar). You might enjoy a visit, check it out.

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A New Year and a New Quilt

With a due date the beginning of February, I guess it is time to get beyond mental quilting. The Stretching Art theme this year is “Under Scrutiny.” (The Stretching Art challenge is to make an art quilt 18 x 36 on the assigned theme and to try some new technique. The quilts are hung in three or four Mancuso shows in the East, so I’ll probably never see them hanging.) This theme was daunting for quite a while. Last year’s, Dream Big, was much easier for me (Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water here ).

What hindered me was that the theme, asking us to look deeply and drill down, seemed to invite representational art (even though the challenge mentioned abstract ideas) and I prefer abstract design. I didn’t get an idea till Fall came, and gorgeous leaves filled the sidewalks.

So I took a walk, camera in hand. From the photos, I selected this one and cropped and cropped and cropped. Idea one was to replicate the last one, more or less. But before I started sketching, I remembered an ancient start of a tree themed quilt. I’d made four test blocks, one for each season, and gazillions of  one-inch HSTs. The plan had been to make the first four the center of a queen sized medallion quilt, either as four blocks on point or as a square..

I got stumped on the decision of whether to keep the season represented by the center tree for that whole quarter of the quilt or to intermingle the HSTs randomly or to keep seasonal coloration by rows. I set them aside with the fabric the HSTs had been cut from while I thought on the dilemma. And you know all about “out of sight, out of mind.”

Having remembered them, I thought, Why start my scrutiny from the tree when I could start with ecosystem, forest, tree.  Finally I was ready to sketch. Although I did the outline to scale, I’d made the 6-inch tree blocks too small, but the idea seemed a good place to start..

leaf sketch

I’d gotten this far before Thanksgiving, but set it aside again for the holidays.

Today I dug the old tree blocks out from the bottom tub in a four-tub stack and began auditioning fabric.

leaf fabric audition

The leaf “veins” will be much narrower, of course.  And I’m still debating whether to vary the shades of gold in the background or use just one. I’m leaning to the one. I also have to decide whether to make the “veins” straight or slightly curvy as in the sketch. I’m leaning to straight. Curves can come in the quilting. And I’m pondering whether to make templates or do improv piecing. I’ll sleep on it.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

 

 

 

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