So often in these past 4-5 years something has happened in our country or in the world that makes me want to create things as a response to feelings of outrage. I’ve scrapped so many ideas that focused on negative quotes and statements in the news – the thought of intensely stewing in bile for the 20-40 hours it takes to make a quilt is simply toxic.
With this in mind, I focused on imagining what I wanted to happen. Inspired by a giant “blue wave” sign made from thousands of blue Post-It notes at the March for Women, I set out to create my own blue wave.
The background is various blue/violet Kona cotton fabrics and was pieced using a variation of the “Disappearing Nine-Patch” design. I cut it up further and pieced it back together to create a more jumbled background. It finished as a wall hanging at 36″ x 36″.
I knew I wanted to make the waves by quilting, but was worried the busy-ness of the background would make the quilting get lost. My first attempt at this was to create and sew three bias tape waves that I’d fill in with big-stitch hand-quilting using various white and blue colors of pearl cotton. Once I did this, however, I thought it looked cartoony and silly.
I was disappointed as it really didn’t have the feel I was going for. So – there’s always the seam ripper! I sewed around the bias tape, pulled it out and added a lot more quilting and, while still subtle, am very happy with the end result.
This quilt invites you to take a closer look. From farther away, you see the patch of blue, and a few shadows swirling across it. Closer up, the eye wanders around and through the stitching like a labyrinth.
I take such joy in repurposing fabric from clothing. I’ve used my downtime during the pandemic to clean out closets, “get real” about what I really like to wear and will be wearing in the future, and donating clothing to Goodwill for better purposes. I set aside a set of linen dresses that I’d worn out, or just didn’t fit or look right on me, and cut them into various long strips and pieces and began to put back together as a quilt. The result is the Five Dresses quilt (56″x79″). Once pieced, it was quite saggy and droopy. Before quilting, I heavily spray basted it (in my backyard – why haven’t I been doing this back there all these years and instead cramming myself in my enclosed garage?) and then densely quilted it. I love the process of just sewing strips and pieces together without much though except for trying to get light/dark variation, and using up as much of the fabric as possible. Using what I had on hand, the colors just turned out to work together. It definitely has the feelings of Gees Bend and Rose Lee Tompkins. I’m looking around our closets to see what else I might repurpose – nothing is safe!
This is a detail of a “made fabric” improv block I hammered out last weekend. This is about 10 inches of a bigger piece that so far is about 20″x20″. I adore creating these! I don’t know what I’m making, how big it’ll get, what it will look like or what it’s for – I just take my latest pile of teeny tiny scraps and go into my sewing trance. In this case I’m using leftovers from the Tomato & Tangerine quilt and contrasting pillows in turquoise and greens. FUN!
Orange is my favorite color! I’ve wanted to make an orange quilt for our room and started by experimenting with giant blocks made from large half square triangles (finished block is 16″). I used Kona Tangerine and Tomato Cotton Solids. When view it from far away – like on the design wall in my sewing space in the garage – I like they way it looks. However, it’s overwhelming up close! Quite eye searing in our small bedroom! The window light reflects bright orange all over the ceiling and walls to boot. I’ll give it a try for now – it needs pillows in a cool color to on it to mellow the burn!
I LOVE sewing my tiny scraps (all sorted by color, of course!) and creating “made fabric”. There is something so satisfying about making something out of what feels like nothing – especially when you take those teeny tiny pieces that you don’t want to throw away. This small star block was a test for a much bigger wall hanging I made. I went a little crazy on the quilting – but I just love looking at it! Above is the small trial run. Below is the bigger finished quilt. Love em both!
I’ve not been much on mini-quilts, but this may just change my mind! This is my “challenge” entry for the San Francisco Quilt Guild 2015 show in March. The theme is “Ocean” and the quilt must be 20″x20″. It allowed me to do something very detailed, very small and very quilted. I was inspired by the work of Ann Brauer.