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.



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Giveaway 

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



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56 comments:

  1. I've never made a quilt designed around architecture when it comes to piecing, but I am inspired by all sorts of things when it comes to quilting. Wrought iron gates always get me - such good quilting ideas nestled in there!

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  2. This is a beautiful quilt Jessica!

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  3. Don't laugh, I made my son a mini quilt using an embroidery design from Urban Threads. The original design has a generic cityscape in the background. I modified it to the Seattle skyline. He thought it was funny! (The design is the Godzilla, I love my job one.)

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  4. My favorite architectural feature for quilting is the Triangle. So useful for so many quilt blocks>HST's and GEESE and several Modern Elongated Triangle blocks. Thank You for a neat Giveaway! msstitcher1214@gmail.com

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  5. I really love thinking about how a landscape changes in feeling: the first time you drive into a new town feels different than once it becomes, "home", and on long or common drives, having those milestone things (like the roof!) to look for tend to take on different meaning. I love how you turned the roof into a quilt and brought a memory and other physical object together with this design. The purple for the plus signs and binding is great, but I love the pink lime and gray with it, too: so good!

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  6. I haven't started it yet, but I have a few sketches of a quilt I want to make...improv blocks to look like rocks in the same colors found in Southern Utah. Inspired by a recent RV/camping road trip thru four National Parks & one State Park. It was amazing! I love the purple you choose. It's perfect!

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  7. Once again your story telling draws me in. Inspiration from our environment shows glimpses into our lives.

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  8. Very fun color combo! For some reason when ever I bought fabric I would always buy prints. Not sure why, but I am slowly learning to appreciate both solids and improv quilting. I have very few solids in my stash right now so would be thrilled to win your giveaway. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

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  9. I really like the bright stripes next to that beautiful purple! Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

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  10. I once made a quilt of the Pittsburgh skyline for a challenge to make something related to our hometown. So there was lots of architecture as my inspiration.

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  11. I made a quilt based off the silhouette of a rollercoaster for a special wedding gift of a friend of mine. It's where she and her husband first met - they were ride operators for the coaster some 10 years earlier.

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  12. I love tile floors in old buildings and churches as inspiration for quilt patterns,

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  13. I have not used an architectural reference yet but am inspired by the Philadelphia Art Museum. And I also really like the improvised stripe portion of your quilt. Beautiful.

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  14. The Magnolia flower - nature's architecture - a single bloom, how perfect for a quilting idea! Thank you, Susan

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  15. I was inspired to make a quilt based on the windows of an office building. :)

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  16. Great quilt Jessica. I love the quilting and I would have bought your book if it had come to life. I can't win the fabric as I live in Canada...but there are lots of places I can buy it here!

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  17. I want to make a quilt inspired by the lovely gothic style church I attend.

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  18. Jessica, Thank you for always sharing such interesting art items, books etc.. I want to recommend to you a book that has really resonated with me. The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. If you're ok with sad books, and I imagine you are, then this is awesome!! As for your question about architecture and quilts, I am working on a quilt now that reminds me of bridges and sidewalks...but not any specific ones. I love quilts that represent architecture but I've only made general house blocks. You never know what's in my future though. elanagoldberg5@gmail.com

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  19. Tiles are always inspiring. Love the colors in your quilt!

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  20. I made a quilt based on the shape of a local railroad trestle.

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  21. I love architectural elements in picture whether it is fabric or not. I wonder if someone living in that house is a pilot or is close to one and that is why they decorated their roof. The title "Electrifying" is an eye catcher just as the roof. I'm interested in this quilt. I will follow for sure.Personally I would love to do the large windows in the back of the church I grew up in. Picture later.

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  22. I have been thinking for ages now about making a quilt depicting the stilt houses in Florida.

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  23. I love this quilt you made. We are coming home from vacation. I have really been inspired by the architecture here. Thanks for the opportunity acbeier531@gmail.com

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  24. Frank Lloyd Wright's stained glass windows..seem to be inspiring me lately, although I'll make them wonky!!

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  25. I have a quilt design in my first Quilter's Planner that is based on a roof :) I love this quilt, especially those connecting strips! I'm a huge fan of Northcott fabrics too.

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  26. Your quilt is very nice, I especially like the quilting
    Sharongalli@gmail.com

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  27. Love the design and colors, especially the joining strips. I've not tried Northcott solids, I'll have to look for them.

    I was inspired by brickwork on an old building for a quilt design.

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  28. Anything Mission related inspires me in quilting. Deb E / Oregon
    mdenders@msn.com

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  29. This turned out great. I'd love to see your sketches for quilts like this when you're posting about them. It's interesting to see the evolution, especially when inspired by things like roofs.

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  30. I used a greeting card design for embroidering blocks on a quilt. rozz01(at)cox(dot)net

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  31. First, I love your quilt! Great job with the colors and the design and the FMQ. I want to make a quilt inspired by Cinderella's castle in Disney World - so far, only in my head.

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  32. Cathy Perlmutter

    Love your newsletter and your work, and by pure serendipity, I am working hard on an architectural/modern quilt based on my 3-week visit to New York City last month -I'm trying to balance improv piecing with the fact that New York skyscrapers tend to have strict geometry. Such fun! You did a beautiful job with "Electrify."
    I also love Northcott solids and would love to find a reliable supplier of them online (all my local quilt shops went out of business!)

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  33. Beautiful! The improv bits are great. What size is it?

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  34. I love the backstory here and am glad you saw this through to the end! It's funny how sometimes a shape or image just sticks with you, insisting on being brought to life in quilt form. P.S. I, too, love how parts of the improv strips fade into the background. : )

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  35. I love your quilt and the name. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  36. Love this! The purple is such a great color!

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  37. i love the art deco style of stained glass windows used by frank lloyd wright and other builders of that era.

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  38. I love the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN. The stained glass windows and the victorious cross influenced one of my quilts.

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  39. We lived in Boston for a couple of years and I want to make some kinda of bias tape quilt of the Zakim bridge.

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  40. Your quilts are always an inspiration. Thanks so much!

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  41. I have not made a quilt inspired by architecture, but there has been a TV commercial where the floor is a wonderful graphic and I've thought it would make a wonderful quilt. Love your quilt!

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  42. A hotel in my hometown is decorated with HSTs on the outside, it looks like a giant silver and white quilt!

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  43. I love doors which happen to be the perfect shape for quilt blocks.

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  44. I really can't say that I have looked at architecture like that. I need to take more time to observe my surroundings. I like your design. I would love to see a picture of your inspiration!

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  45. I should use more solids in my quilts.

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  46. I'm not exactly sure it would be considered architecture, but we were recently in Sedona, Arizona and the shower tile floor in our resort's suite was gorgeous! I took several photos of it in hopes that I could re-create the pattern in a quilt. :) duchick at mchsi dot com

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  47. I love Frank Lloyd Wright's clean lines in all his work and they inspire my ideas. Solid colors are my favorites.

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  48. Well... architecture as in floors I guess have inspired me a few times..love the stone looking tiles..and the old fashioned ceiling tiles that look like tin.But I,m inspired more by houses, and old barns. :) thank you so much for chance to win your Give-a-way too! :D

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  49. Lovely quilt! I hardly dare admit it here but I'm not a purple gal! However, earlier this week I was looking across our garden and was wowed by a shrub with lime green flowers looking absolutely perfect against a backdrop of purple geraniums! Your colour choices for this quilt reminded of that view. I may be on my way to liking purple...

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  50. I like doors :) In the 80's, there was a brief trend where posters were made of "The Doors of . . " for various cities, and that has always been an idea I'd like to follow up on in a quilt. I like that doors can be so different from one another and allow access to something new and different!

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  51. I have several pictures of covered bridges from past vacations and I want to create an abstract wallhanging from one of the pictures.

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  52. Boy you did nail it with the purple! The quilting also makes the quilt I think.

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  53. This is a fun and must make modern pattern. When I travel for work, I often look at tile and stair tile patterns for inspiration. I rarely create my own patterns from them though.

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  54. I am extremely interested in various bridges that would make good quilts.

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Let's start a conversation! I love comments and I'd be happy to reply to all who have an email address accessible. Thanks for commenting!

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