2015 Challenge

4 07 2015

Our quilt challenge for this year was set last 4 July by Brian (Bobbie’s husband). We had to create something quite interesting (QI) related to the history of quilting (HQ). Oh, and we decided that Brian had to make something too — in a medium of his choice (e.g. wood, photograph), any size, but pink had to be used in it somewhere.

Here’s the challenge:

2015_challenge

I had some ideas right from the beginning, initially focusing on Amish quilts. Later in the weekend I remembered the Gee’s Bend quilts and decided on that, as I love their improvisational nature and bright colours and their ‘modern quilt’ aesthetic. By that time F had given me her colour (any blue) and once I decided on creating something in the Gee’s Bend spirit, I decided to add at least red, and passed that colour on to B.

When I got home, I did a little research to see some pictures of the Gee’s Bend quilts, read a bit about their history, and how they came out of necessity using whatever fabric was to hand to make a warm bed covering.

I decided to start by raiding my box of rags!!! After eliminating any stretch knits (t-shirts, undervests, etc.), I was left with a small pile of old almost threadbare jeans, old work khakis, old work shorts, old tea towels, and even an old pair of cotton boxers! Some rags had stains from years/decades ago, but I didn’t try to get these out. While I had lots of blues, creams, whites, and khakis, I didn’t have those bright spots of colour I needed (except for the red plaid boxers!), so I went to my scrap stash and boxes of decades-old fabrics, where I found some bright yellow, plain red lawn, and a heavy (curtain?) fabric with red and blue chevrons. I added these to the mix.

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The next step was deciding what to do. After checking some of the images of the Gee’s Bend quilts, I decided to do three strips of crazy piecing, using the faded denim for the borders and sashing strips. To keep it simple, I trimmed down the crazy strip piecing to 6.5 inches across (the width of my main ruler). I also slashed some pieces before I added them to the strips and inserted yellow or red bits to cross more than one colour strip.

I also slashed the border and sashing pieces and added yellow and red fabrics there too. I used the leftovers for the binding. For the back, I made another crazy strip of scraps, surrounded by the rest of the red lawn fabric, and then a dark grey gabardine I’ve had forever. By the time I’d finished, I had almost no rag scraps left!

Stitching was interesting — all those different fabric types and weights and thicknesses made for some interesting times on the sewing machine. The walking foot was my friend! As I wanted to keep with the ‘make do’ theme, I had deliberately left some seams in the denim and checked shorts fabric, but the sewing machine dealt with those very thick bits without a hitch.

I quilted this quilt with simple vertical lines approximately 1/2 inch apart. Again, in keeping with the Gee’s Bend aesthetic, I didn’t want to be too precise with the quilting. I used a heavy weight variegated red cotton thread (12 wt, Wonderfil Tutti Frutti, colour FT12).

Oh, and I had it all finished — including a label — by 26 July 2014!

This quilt has quite a bit of ‘quilt history’ associated with it: Gee’s Bend of course, crazy patchwork, making do with any sort of fabric scraps (from the Great Depression), improvisational piecing, even a ‘modern quilt’ look.

I’ve called it ‘Crazy Ragbag’.

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Some YouTube videos about the women of Gee’s Bend and their quilts:





Middle of winter, 2015

29 06 2015

Yesterday was one of those magic winter’s days we get here — clear blue skies, green grass, dry, mild temperatures (about 19C [66F]). I took a few photos through the car window (yes, naughty, I know!) while driving to and from Perth, and a few more quite close to home to show my North American friends, in particular, what winter is like in my part of the world.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Forrest Highway, heading south, near Myalup about 4pm

Forrest Highway, heading south, near Myalup about 4pm

Forrest Highway, heading south, near Myalup about 4pm

Forrest Highway, heading south, near Myalup about 4pm

Forrest Highway, heading south, near Myalup about 4pm

Forrest Highway, heading south, near Myalup about 4pm

Near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Cathedral Ave, near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Cathedral Ave, near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Cathedral Ave, near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Cathedral Ave, near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Near top end of Leschenault Estuary, Western Australia, around 4pm

Heading towards Perth on Forrest Highway

Heading towards Perth on Forrest Highway (if you view the photo at full size, you’ll see horses in the paddocks alongside the road)

 





Community Quilt Bee June 2015

29 06 2015

I drove to Perth yesterday for one of the regular ‘bees’ for the Community Quilts participants. There was a great turnout — about 40 people by my estimation. Much of my time was spent out the back with about 5 others, sorting donated fabric.

After lunch Gwen, the Community Quilts Coordinator, thanked everyone and shared with the group the award she won at the recent Australian Quilt Convention in Melbourne for her contribution to the Western Australian Quilting Association. And shared with us some of the recently finished community quilts. To top that off, she shared a cake that the lovely Janice had made (designed as a quilt block, of course!) and some bubbly.

It was a lovely day, spent with some lovely people. Despite being the middle of winter, my 3-hour round trip to Perth and back home again was dry and uneventful, with clear sunny skies all the way.

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Thread painting the corn

27 06 2015

When I was in Michigan last October (2014), I took some photos on my family’s farm in the crisp early mornings. The one I most liked of the corn ready for harvest I had printed onto fabric at my Quilting Adventures class in Texas this March (2015).

I finally got around to stitching it, doing something a bit different, which was fusing it to a piece of hard felt. I’d bought this piece of orange felt for another purpose, but had decided not to use it and when I pulled the cornstalks photo from my design wall to see what fabrics I could use as the background, it landed on the felt and a new idea came to mind… Prior to fusing it I decided to keep some of the white fabric the photo was printed on to add a quarter inch border between the photo and the felt and thus set it off like a mounted piece of art.

I only stitched the cornstalks, not the sky, and not the very fuzzy cornstalks in the background. It took several hours to do the stitching to enhance the photo, and I used quite a number of different threads in the process. I did this stitching on my domestic sewing machine, using the spring-loaded free motion foot.

I even like how the back turned out ;-)

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

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Community Quilt 215

27 06 2015

This geometric disappearing 9-patch quilt cried out for geometric quilting, so that’s what I did. I did a square ‘stipple’ all over the main quilt top, then ‘skyscrapers’ in the borders (yes, I made up that name!).

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

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Threads used:

  • Top: Wonderfil Mirage (30 wt, rayon?, colour SD29)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (grey)

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157630291250200/





Thread painting the beach

16 06 2015

Back in March 2015, I attended Quilting Adventures’ Spring Seminars in New Braunfels, Texas. The workshop I did was on digital photos for quilts. I printed off several of my own photos using the instructors’ printer and special fabric ‘paper’ and it’s only now I’ve got around to doing anything with these fabric photos.

Here are the printed photos on fabric, plus some of the other exercises I did in class:

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The first photo I decided to tackle was one I took in December 2014 of Buffalo Beach, near Bunbury, Western Australia.

I covered a piece of Floriani Stitch ‘n’ Shape with the background fabric, then fused on the fabric photo. I used several threads of various blues and browns to thread paint the sky, the ocean, the rocks, the sand, and the water.

Click on a photo to view it larger.

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Community Quilt 214

7 06 2015

Even after working with it for some hours, I still couldn’t figure out the ‘theme’ of this quilt — the closest I could some to it was the sky, as it seemed to be the only element that linked the various blocks.

Anyhow, how to quilt it? As usual, I started by stitching in the ditch around all the blocks and appliqued pieces. In some blocks I followed the cloud pattern to stitch the sky; in others, I just did something more random.

I echo stitched about half an inch outside the blocks. In the wide checked border I stitched large ‘U’ shapes, alternating their height and repeating on the other side. For the striped border, I free-motion stitched lines about one inch apart (no rulers).

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

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Threads used:

  • Top: Various threads: Robison-Anton ‘Evergreen’ (40 wt, rayon, colour 2315) and ‘Paris Blue’ (colour 2283); Madeira Rayon (40 wt, colour 1169); Floriani (40 wt, rayon, colour PF546); Wonderfil Silco (4o wt, colour SC03)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (white)

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157630291250200/








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