Week 20/2020: What’s on my design wall?

A completed quilt top!

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Are we out of the woods yet?

Super happy with how it turned out! I think I managed to keep the distribution of the trees pretty random. How did I do this?

  • I tried to place larger and smaller trees next to eachother so that their differences in height and width create variation.
  • I sometimes added a bit of filler fabric so that the tops, bottoms or sides of two or more trees that are placed in a row or column don’t align exactly.
  • I first created sections and within these sections tried to alternate horizontal and vertical seams when combining subsections of multiple trees.
  • I used 3 Y-seams or inset seams to avoid one seam running from top to bottom or left to right.
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The order in which the different sections were pieced.

I kept changing the layout of the part of the quilt that was not yet pieced so I could fit it to the part that was already pieced as best as possible. I also kept creating more trees as needed to fill up gaps. I definitely spent more time thinking about how I was going to piece the next part than actually piecing.

For the filler fabrics I chose 1 black and 2 white fabrics. The black fabric contains lines that come from hubs that connect to other hubs. I thought this was a great representation of a rapidly spreading virus. I deliberately used this fabric mostly in one of the corners and only a couple of smaller pieces in other spots. After all, we’re trying to get out of this situation and I am hopeful that we will, at least at some point.

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Don’t be scared of Y-seams, once you know how to do them they’re really not that hard.

One of the white fabrics has silver dots forming star constellations. These represent cured people and places without virus. The last fabric contains little lightbulbs with golden hearts. Which is kind of corny, but my little girl does like some sparkle and I thought they could represent all the innovations that take place in science and medicine right now.

Now I have to think about a back, which I’ll probably keep quite simple since the back of a wall hanging is very rarely on display. And how to quilt it… That part will take some time to figure out as well. Which is just as well since I also appear to have run out of batting.

Week 17/2020: What’s on my design wall?

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So, we have made more trees. The novelty of picking fabrics has worn off a bit so I’ve also added some of my own combinations. To a couple of pieces I’ve added a bit of white and silver fabric so they became large enough to turn them into rectangles. When I’m happy with the composition, I’ll have to find a way to piece all these differently sized pieces together. The gaps will be filled with white and black fabrics. I’m having fun so far.

The forrest is growing

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Are we out of the woods yet?

During the past two days my daughter and I have added more trees to our forrest and I think we’re getting close to the number that is needed. Some fabric combinations definitely work better than others, but overall I still really like where this is going. I even have a title! I am notoriously bad at coming up with good titles and in different times I would probably just have called it “The quilt with improv trees” or something equally boring. Now it’s called “Are we out of the woods yet?” which seems an apt description for the pandemic we’re currently in.

Week 16/2020: What’s on my design wall

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With my kids at home all the time I am finding it difficult to find time for creativity. Well, apart from drawing and glueing with my daughter that is, but somehow that’s just not the same as using thread to put colourful pieces of fabric together.

Today, however, I found the solution. My husband and I both have a room on the top floor of our house. His is mostly used for working from home. Mine is filled with sewing related stuff, but I also use it for work. Our kids don’t really spend a lot of time on this floor. Now, however, we are spending so much more time at home and it’s a bit weird that mom and dad go upstairs to work instead of somewhere else. As a result our 3 year old daughter is spending a bit more time in those rooms now. She loves my husband’s whiteboard and finds my mowing machines fascinating (in Dutch the work for sewing machine (naaimachine) is even closer to mowing machine (maaimachine).

Today she noticed some improv trees I had up on my design wall and she really liked them. They are not for her though, which she found a bit disappointing. I suggested that we could make her some trees and she found that a very good idea. I let her pick fabrics from my scrap bag and only guided her in a different direction when she picked scraps that were too small. I just love what she put together. It’s bright, it’s happy and we are going to make more tomorrow. I intend to turn them into a wall hanging for her room.

Week 4/2020: What’s on my design wall?

Finally making progress on this quilt top. It’s grown a bit since I showed it last and I added some additional fabrics. I should be able to finish piecing it this week.

As I started assembling I thought it was interesting to visualize how a quilt shrinks with each quarter inch seam that is sewn. I know that you lose half an inch each time and take it into account when I design a top but somehow it still manages to surprise me. Perhaps because the design process often takes quite some time and I get used to the size that it had unpieced?

Week 29/2018: What am I quilting?

I’ve finally started quilting the quilt for which I made this backing. Originally I had planned some simple lines, spaced quite far apart. I changed my mind though after buying a new sewing machine! Several weeks ago, I brought my sewing machine in for a repair job and since I was already in the shop I took the opportunity to test some fancy sewing machines as well. I decided to buy the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400. It offers a lot more harp space, 28 versus 16.5 cm on my Janome 3160. It also has the walking foot option included and this works soooooo much better than the walking foot on the 3160. The stitches are much more even, things move much smoother (possibly also because of the extra harp space). Anyway, this much more enjoyable walking foot quilting experience made me decide to try a much denser quilting pattern for a change. The lines so far are only ½ and 1 inch apart.

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I do wonder whether it would have been better to use a more neutral thread for this denser quilting pattern. I picked the thread when I still had a lot less lines planned and perhaps I should have reconsidered this choice as well because it does stand out quite a bit.

Week 27/2018: What’s (almost) on my design wall?

I think we probably all have some fabrics in our stash that we’re reluctant to cut into because we want to save it for something special. Several years ago I bought two fat quarter bundles with Kaffe Fassett’s shot cottons and so far I’ve only enjoyed looking at them. That is going to change though! I bought some additional yardage in the eucalyptus colourway and am now in the process of deciding which of the fat quarters to combine it with.

The quilt this fabric will turn into is bound to bring me even more pleasure than the stacks of bundled up fabrics so it’s stupid not to use it.

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Week 25/2018: What’s on my design wall?

For my Cherrywood quilt I auditioned several background colours using Photoshop and decided on dark blue. I’ve now attached the fabric on all sides and I’m pretty happy with the result. It still needs some squaring up and I’m debating how much I am going to chop off the bottom. It currently measures about 130×230 cm. I know people make much larger quilts than this but to me this feels ginormous and I’m somewhat dreading the quilting stage…. Perhaps if I use a really thin and lightweight batting it will still be enjoyable?

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Curious what this top looked like without the border?

Week 23/2018: What’s on my design wall?

During the Dutch modern quilt guild gettogether that I went to on Sunday we worked on our contribution for the Quiltcon 2019 Charity Quilt Challenge. Everyone has to stick to a certain colour palette and a design theme. This year’s theme is small piecing with elements that are smaller than 1′. We are going to make 690 (yes, you read that correct, 690!) 3” finished blocks. Whoah.

On Sunday we finished close to 110 blocks and everyone took home some fabric to make some more. Members that didn’t attend on Sunday will be send fabric if they also want to contribute.

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This is what our design wall looked like on Sunday afternoon.

This morning I cut into the fabrics I had taken home and added a couple of my own that I hope are a well enough match to the colour palette. I managed to complete 10 blocks before I ran out of fabric. On Sunday I completed a dozen or so as well, so if 34 other members also complete 20 blocks we’re good.

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The blocks I made today.