Sunday, June 11, 2017

Quilt Top Remix at the Chattanooga MQG meeting

The glue sticks, scissors, crayons, pastels, colored pencils and grid paper came out in full force yesterday as the members of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild [ChattMQG] created design mock-ups for a Quilt Top Remix
Slicing and dicing color photocopies of a quilt top to create a new design.
Last year, I moderated the ChattMQG's annual brainstorming session to generate ideas for the 2017 meeting programs. One of the topics that came up several times was that members wanted more instruction or practice with designing modern quilts. What better way to learn, understand and put into practice design principles than to actually design a quilt? 

"One day, I want to be a real quilt!"
At one of the meetings of the guild steering committee, I suggested using an existing quilt top as a starting point for a quilt re-design exercise. My fellow committee members agreed this could be a fun and educational group exercise... and we'd use the resulting quilt to support our guild community service project—quilts for Habitat for Humanity Chattanooga.

This is the quilt top that I offered to sacrifice for the Quilt Top Remix design exercise. Fellow fabric reps and area quilt shops may recognize this fabric line—Mosaic Garden. It was a popular fabric collection from 3 or 4 years ago, and I believe it went into at least one reprint.

This quilt top was made as a sample to showcase the fabric line as well as a pattern—called Miller's Quilt—by the talented pattern designer, Julia LaBeuve, of JML Colors. Until now, this top was destined for quilt top limbo and would not likely be quilted and finished. So, this exercise was its opportunity for a new life—as a "real quilt."

Wanna try this exercise with your quilt guild or group? Here's what we did...
I put the top up on my design wall and took a photo. Photocopies were made from the photo and each guild member received two copies to cut/slice/fold/tear/color and somehow come up with a new design layout that would be re-pieced into a new quilt top at the next guild sew-in. Here is the meeting notice that went out to guild members.
Photocopies of the quilt top.
For reference, the original top: 40" x 60"    Blocks: 8" (finished)   Outside border: 4"
For our guild's community service project, we make quilts approximately 60" x 72"—a generous lap size.

Here are a few of the approaches members took with the design remix.
Coloring...
Coloring.
 collaborating...
Collaborating.
folding...
Folding.
 tracing...
Tracing.
 tearing...

Tearing.
and drawing.
Drawing guidelines.
Presenting the new designs
When the glueing and taping were complete, each member presented their design mock-up, with considerations for the background fabric and color and quilt top construction. Oh yes, designs can be fabulous, but the piecing and construction needs to be considered as well!
Martha (left) and Ann (right) present their mock-ups.
Denise (below) explained her clever approach that she calls the "magic number." It employs units that are multiples (or divisibles) of a base number.
Denise explains how she designs with her "magic number" approach.

The final mock-ups were just as innovative and diverse as the design approaches.
Zig-zags and fractures.
Improv cutting and piecing.
Pieced or appliqued?
Diagonal or straight sets.
Borderless or partial borders.
What color should the background be?
How did we decide? 
Well, everyone gave their "two cents worth!" (Actually, it was one cent). After the presentations, the design mock-ups were lined up and everyone placed a coin beside the design they thought was the best option for the new quilt top. Here is Vista's 8-penny Mosaic Garden re-design.
Vista's design received the most pennies (votes.)
As Pinocchio finally became a "real boy," so will this top find its way to becoming a "real quilt." Rather than preserve a quilt top "as is," it is far better to deconstruct, remix and reconstruct a top so it can be quilted, finished and enjoyed. Don't you think? I do! 

Guild members indicated they enjoyed the exercise and I think they were more fearless in their designs since personal emotions were not invested in the top that got deconstructed. (It's easier to cut up a top that you didn't make yourself.)

Thanks to the members of the Chatt MQG for contributing their time and talents to this Quilt Top Remix. We'll have another Habitat quilt coming to fruition in the future.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Prepping Projects for Spring Quilt Market

Free-motion quilting on Betula from Westrade Textiles.
If you follow me on Instagram [veronica.fiberantics], you may have seen progress of these pieces as I was preparing for Spring Quilt Market in St. Louis. So not to neglect my blog and its readers, I'll post photos of the projects I've been working on for the last month or two.

Westrade Textiles sent me a few lengths of their wide backings and asked if I would make a sample for their booth at Market. Westrade offers 110" wide quilt backings in a variety of designs and colors in cotton and brushed cottons.

This sample is from the Betula collection. I used a quilting stencil as a springboard for the free-motion quilting feathers and fillers. WonderFil Threads were used and it was free-motion quilted on a Janome 6500 domestic sewing machine.

Using a quilting stencil as a guide for free-motion quilting.
A second sample was with a brushed cotton from the Betula line. It was wonderfully lush to quilt with a brushed cotton... the stitches sink into the fabric... revealing a lovely, soft quilted texture. I practiced my rulerwork on this sample as well.
Westrade Textiles 110" wide quilt backings.
A contrasting color thread defines the rectangles.
Betula brushed cotton wide backing with free-motion quilting.
Another free-motion quilting sample went into the ADORNit booth for display. This piece incorporates one of their ArtPlay Stitchery embroidery patterns. These are cute, happy stitching designs that temporarily adhere to any background fabric—a yarn-dyed woven from Diamond Textiles was used here—and then wash away with water after the hand or machine embroidery is complete. I used this stitchery for free-motion quilting. 
ArtPlay Stitchery pattern with free-motion quilting.
I made two knit tops using Art Gallery Fabrics [AGF] knit fabrics. These cotton pullovers are becoming a staple in my wardrobe—in short and long sleeves! The first top was color blocked and had a fabric accent on one sleeve.
Color blocked T-shirt made with Art Gallery cotton knits.
 This second top used one of the AGF florals.
Cotton knit top.
I'm glad I brought a jacket to wear over my short sleeve tops. As expected, the conference center had the air conditioning set to "cool." Details about the process for making this vintage-inspired jacket using Diamond Textiles yarn-dyed wovens and vintage orphan quilt pieces can be found at these two posts: Part 1 and Part 2.
Yarn-dyed wovens and vintage textiles combined.
To carry a notebook and my business cards, and to stash any handouts, marketing brochures, etc. that I picked up at Market, I made this totebag/briefcase. It combines Art Gallery's canvas and quilting cottons from Patrick Lose's Poppies in Bloom fabric line. This is yet another variation of the Cargo Duffle that I've made from this Noodlehead pattern. Here is the post about the first version I made using Alexander Henry's canvas fabric.
Canvas briefcase/totebag. Variation of the Cargo Duffle by Noodleheadd.
These projects are made from fabrics of the fabric companies I currently represent. If you are interested in any of these fabrics, please ask your local quilt shop to carry them. Support YLQS [your local quilt shop], keep your needles threaded and may your fabric stash be plentiful!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A vintage and yarn-dyed fabric mix jacket—part 2

Vintage improv jacket.
On this last day of April, I'm listing this jacket in the "Finished in 2017" column. Yay! Here is Part 2 of the process for making this vintage and yarn-dyed fabric jacket. Read about the inspiration and fabric prep in Part 1.

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As a quilter, I often incorporate quilting in my garments. Jackets especially lend themselves to this process. I learned this "quilted garment" concept from a fabulous folk artist, instructor and friend, Rachel Clark. Check out Rachel's work and patterns on her website, "Clothing for the Body and Soul," and social media sites for inspiration. She makes amazing pieces!

Three Layers
This jacket is "quilted." It has three layers with stitching to keep the layers together. It has (1) a pieced front, (2) a piece of flannel in the middle, and (3) a silk lining fabric—all sandwiched together. It is machine quilted with straight lines using a walking foot. Stitch length = 2.8mm - 3mm.

Choosing Threads
For the style of this jacket, I thought a cotton thread with a matte finish was appropriate. I wanted a little color and contrast to the creamy yarn-dyed woven and a color palette that would complement the colors in the patchwork.

I chose a WonderFil 50 wt. variegated cotton (Tutti #TU14) with a soft color palette of grey, lavender, yellow and moss green. (This is one of my all-time favorite variegated thread color combos and one of the things that drew me to the WonderFil line of threads.) The bobbin was also a 50wt. cotton (WonderFil Konfetti #KT306) in a soft blush color that blended nicely with the color of the jacket's silk lining.
Auditioning threads for quilting.
Quilting and Assembly
Because of the woven windowpane pattern in the fabric, it was easy to keep the quilting lines straight and parallel (no marking!). I've been told that the fabric looks like a pinstripe from a distance.
Straight line quilting with the walking foot.
The jacket pieces—left and right fronts, back, sleeves—were quilted before jacket assembly. When I brought this piece to a recent quilt guild meeting, one of my guild friends asked if I cut out the pattern pieces larger to accommodate the shrinkage from quilting. This is a good idea! 

When I plan to quilt a garment, cutting the pieces slightly oversize, quilting them, and then trimming the quilted pieces to the pattern piece is my process. This project started off with another direction in mind, so were not cut oversize. However, the parallel lines of quilting did not cause the pieces to shrink excessively, so it was fine. The flannel (middle layer) and the silk lining (back layer) were cut larger than the front pieces. The larger layers can be seen in the photo below.
Quilted jacket fronts.
Here is the jacket back with straight line quilting. The parallel lines were randomly spaced (again, no marking!). A large zigzag design was quilted on the patchwork insert.
Quilted jacket back with patchwork insert.
The collar was interfaced, faced and turned, but not quilted. The outside edges were top stitched.
Patchwork collar with vintage fabrics.
Here is a view of the quilting from the jacket's inside. The silk lining fabric makes is easy to slip the jacket on and off.
Quilted jacket lining.
Neck and front facings were cut from the yarn-dyed woven. They were tacked down by hand to the lining.
Improv patchwork collar with vintage and modern fabrics.
This jacket is going to Spring Quilt Market with me this year. I'll be meeting with the President of Diamond Textiles and hope to find Mary Kerr on the show floor to show them both how I was inspired by them, their product and techniques.
Vintage Improv Jacket. 
A 2017 finish! Hope you enjoyed reading about the process.
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