Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Neutral Wheel

Something kind of notable happened this week! I've known it was coming for many months, questioned my own good judgment at saying "yes" more than once, yet when it came right down to it, I was excited, and it all turned out really well.

I gave my first modern quilting lectures.

I know!! Right?!

The Fidalgo Island Quilters had invited me to both of their meetings on Monday to share about "Creative Use of Neutral Fabric." Does that title ring a bell? Yup, it's precisely the name of the award my quilt Common Affection won back in 2013, and specifically the reason I was asked to visit FIQ.

So the last few weeks I've been working on my presentation, which included many of my own quilts that incorporated neutrals as well as an assortment of works by other quilt artists. As a way to explain neutral fabrics to the group, I thought it would be fun to create a fabric representation, and The Motley Wheel by Nicole/mama love quilts came to mind. If you remember, I made my own rainbow Motley a while back, and I recalled it being a pretty quick project, so starting it 2 days before my presentation wasn't totally unrealistic.

I chose to pull all the wheel fabrics right from my scrap basket, which was an added bonus, even though it gave it a bit of an eclectic look. But the assortment included solids, chambrays, linen blends, prints - together, a good example of the versatility of neutrals.

For the background and binding, I chose another neutral print, from Carolyn Friedlander's Doe, and for the backing, "Cubist Perception" from Pat Bravo's Etno. I quilted it all the same as my original Motley - a spiral for the wheel, and a starburst of sorts on the background. I do wish I'd cut out the center bulk after appliqueing on the center circle and before basting, but I just plain forgot.

Even so, the Neutral Wheel was a fun little addition to my presentation. And boy was it a treat to share my love of neutrals with FIQ. They were so welcoming, so appreciative, and yes, a little in awe. Indeed, a very good time.

I've created a Neutrals board on Pinterest - most of the quilts I shared in my presentation are there, and more . . .

Monday, October 5, 2015

Backwards or Not?

When I showed hubby the whole cloth quilt I had basted to take on vacation, he said, "Isn't that backwards?" He'd noticed that what I was calling the 'front' was 1 whole piece of fabric, and the 'back' was pieced. I understood why it didn't make sense to him, but it was exactly what I'd intended.

The Cotton+Steel Mesa that I was using for the front made it easy to quilt without marking, and I randomly alternated between straight lines and jagged, using perle cotton #8. I'd used Pellon Legacy Bamboo Blend batting, which is incredibly soft, and that paired with the hand-quilting created one sweet and cuddly quilt. And for the record, the bamboo quilts like a dream.

Before I was too far into the quilting, I used a dinner plate to mark rounded corners, so I had guide-lines in which to keep my quilting. Once I was home and it was time to choose binding fabric, wouldn't you know my stash let me down, and the only thing that suited me was the midnight peppered cotton I'd bought on vacation. It's not quite navy, but I think if you saw it up close you'd see why it goes so well with the Mesa. Full confession: it was only after I was sewing the binding on that I realized I hadn't cut it on the bias, which you should always do if you're doing rounded corners! I think it was because I was using a shot-cotton that I got away with forgetting. But don't take the risk....

Since I'd hand-quilted the quilt with that perle cotton, I really wanted to incorporate that element into the binding too. I machine-stitched the binding onto the back side, then folded it over to the front and hand-stitched it down very closely to the edge. I know I'm taking a chance, but I just had to do it, and I love the way it looks. I'll be sure and let you know how it wears, for better or worse.

All in all, this was a really delightful foray into a different facet of quilting, and I'm glad I gave it a try. So tell me, is it not really a whole cloth quilt since I pieced the back?? Hmm....

quilt finished at 40"x52"