Thursday, June 14, 2018

Electrify: Quilting Modern Quilts Blog Series

Electrify is the first in my series of modern quilts to share with you this summer (click here to read the blog series introduction post). It's a design made to combine a classic plus block with an improvised scrappy look, and it has a story inspired by architecture. And it's certainly quilted to life (not death), which is how I prefer to finish off modern designs. :)

Several years ago I was traveling back and forth through Quakertown/Franklin, NJ to get to and from college. This route is a nice scenic one, which takes about the same time as the highway and purposefully avoids the infamous Flemington, NJ traffic circle (which is now even more confusing several years later, but I digress). Anyway, on one drive, I saw this AMAZING motif on a roof there. Every time I drove home, I looked for the roof but couldn't take a picture (I value my life much more than that). So, the image of four crosses joined together at the corners stuck in my head, and eventually, I drew it in my design notebook, hoping to make a quilt someday.

For this quilt, I wanted there to be purple (lots of purple! Bring on the purple quilts!) and finding just the right shade was important. I had made a computer mock up of each quilt for my book - see below - and after trying a couple color schemes, I quickly fell in love with purple, pink, and a touch of lime green, surrounded by gray and white (thank you, Paint, for making experimentation so easy!). This perfect-for-my-quilt purple is Thistle, one of Northcott's ColorWorks Premium Solids. I loved the purple so much that it became the backing and binding, too (see below). Here, the binding serves as a bright frame for the design.

Other ColorWorks solids used in this quilt: Lime, Super White, Smoke, and Fuchsia. What I like most about Northcott solids is that they are super soft (like silk, as they say) but they aren't slippery or buttery. No fraying - just a solid, well, solid - that comes in a huge variety of bright, modern colors. They also wash up nicely!

"Electrify," named for the joining strips, has a lot of modern quilting elements to me (though of course I didn't set out to purposefully check these off). Negative space, improvisation, bold colors, graphic design, and solid fabrics.

Now, the quilting. I struggled with the decision at first. The computer graphics made it easy to experiment with quilting motifs. Originally, I considered quilting straight lines from the middle, radiating out, because that's the movement I see in the design. However, since my book was about intermediate free motion quilting with little to no marking, this would have been difficult to do (really need a walking foot). Plus, since I love free motion, I wanted to take on the challenge of figuring out a different way to quilt.

The spirals in the background serve as a contrast from all the angular piecing. I matched thread colors (Aurifil 2024, white) because I hoped the texture would be enough (it was!). Several other thread colors add more interest to the rest of the design (Aurifil 1243 Dusty Lavender, 5017 Shining Green, and 4020 Fuchsia). For these projects, I had lots of opportunities to switch thread colors, and I definitely indulged!

My unexpectedly favorite part of this quilt is the improvised stripes because a. how I decided to quilt them (one of my favorite go-to motifs) and b. how the white strips on the ends fade into the background. Seeing this quilt come to life after several years of contemplation was positively thrilling. I made another quilt for the book that's also based on crosses, which I'll share in a few weeks.

Thank you to Northcott Fabrics for sponsoring the fabric, The Warm Company for Warm and White batting (which, to me, seems to make the white background shine even more in person), and Aurifil Thread for the threads. All opinions about materials are my own, honest ones.


And today's giveaway, sponsored by Northcott, is a Colorworks Premium Solids color card with 2 half yards - one of Thistle and one of Fuchsia!

Giveaway details: Runs from June 14 until June 22 at 12 am EST. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter  - this helps me when tallying votes. Once you comment on the blog, please be advised that it will not appear right away (I have to approve comments due to insane spam amounts). You can still comment and not be entered in the giveaway if you so desire (just don't use Rafflecopter below).

 Also, I will not be responding directly to all blog comments at this time due to volume and issues with Blogger (unfortunately). Sorry, U.S. entrants only, please. I will email the winner and if there is no response within 2 days or winner is not located in the U.S., I will randomly choose another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Intro: Quilting Modern Quilts Blog Series

I'm SO excited to share a series of 6 quilts with you over the next few months! I'll be telling one quilt story every 2-4 weeks in order to reveal the bulk of work I completed in secret for over a year. But first, a little more background (in addition to this post - thank you for all of your kind words of support! I have responded to everyone I can locate an email for).

So - quilting modern quilts. Just like eating Reese's, there's no "wrong" way to do it; I don't pretend to be the definitive guide in any way. But it's a topic that fascinates me. A lot of modern quilting takes on a graphic nature, like straight lines (looooots of those, including matchstick quilting), boxes, waves, and echoing. I love movement and adding to the design I pieced, so I try my best to highlight the most important part of the design in some way. Adding that last layer of design can be so much more than utilitarian, if you want it to be!

Whenever I give my "Modern Quilting: What's All the Hubbub?" lecture, I always emphasize that there really isn't one definition to the modern quilting movement. I think it's important to be open to new ideas, as what is considered a modern quilt has changed already and will continue to change. For example, there used to be an emphasis on functional modern quilts but there also seems to be a more "modern art" focus lately, for those that are just meant for a wall or decoration (I'm looking especially at quilts hung at QuiltCon). There's a lot more that could be said here, but this is just an example for now. :)

Anyway, to me, these quilts are graphic and generally minimalist (*gasp* - I am SO NOT a minimalist!). In fact, they're probably some of my most "modern" quilts ever. They are simple in design, made especially to showcase the actual quilting. Because quilting can and does often make the quilt. When I go to QuiltCon (or any quilt show, really), what I most love to ogle is the actual quilting! You (or your longarmer) really have the power to take your original design to the next level.

As described in my recent post, I'm no longer writing a quilt book. Most of the book quilt ideas were taken from several pages from my quilt design notebook (I prefer graph paper and colored pencils over the computer). So, some of these designs have actually been in my head for well over 5 years! In this blog series, I'll be delving into the background behind each one (as much as I can remember). It was like a dream come true to block aside time to make these quilts!

While preparing to make the quilts, I already had most of the color schemes in mind. The designs all seemed to scream, "make me with bold, solid fabrics!!", so I reached out to a bunch of companies (some I had previous relationships with, some not) to see if they'd be willing to provide fabric and materials in exchange for public thanks and advertising. Every single one said yes, and I'm pleased to also provide a bit more about each company's solid fabrics (and thread and batting) as I tell the quilt stories. All of these thoughts will be my honest opinions (spoiler alert: all of the solids were AMAZING to work with. Every. single. one.).

Originally, the book was going to include patterns for these quilts, and the bulk of the book would focus on ideas for quilting them. Once I was considering self-publication, I did away with patterns completely and added more quilting content/inspiration/motifs to the outline of the book. I've been advised before that quilt books sell because of patterns, but I'm sure there are also a lot of people, like me, who hardly ever use patterns and just want the instruction/motifs/inspiration/etc. Since I'm no longer writing, it doesn't matter, but I will continue to impart some of the knowledge in my remaining workshops and lectures this year as it pertains.

Next week, I'll post the first quilt (and giveaway!). After that, the schedule will vary throughout the summer. I hope these quilts will inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to your own modern quilts!

This blog series is sponsored by the following companies. Thank you!



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