Friday, February 28, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show

This is "Shenandoah Falling".  It is my first of three 2014 show quilts to be introduced.  It is currently at Mancuso's Quiltfest, Mid-Atlantic Show in Virginia.  This is one of the first shows of the season and gets a good response from quilters anxious to get their quilts back into the shows.  It's typically a hard show, so I'm very delighted how my two quilts there did.   This little 51"x35" wonder took the best wall quilt award!
It started more or less as an experiment.  I wanted to make a modern quilt, but not the typical type of modern quilt everyone thinks of with modern fabrics and lots of white.  I wanted to bring my kind of modern to the table, whatever the heck that is?!? Solids, texture and kick-ass quilting.

I bought a couple of Cherrywood's Grab Bags for Crazies when they were on-sale two for one last year. Everyone loves Cherrywoods...they just have a rich look and such indulgent colors.  The grab bags are their mistakes, end cuts and mis-dyes so each bag has a little of everything and anything.  There are colors in these bags that you probably can't just order.  The pieces tend to be about 6-7" by 10", so planning a conventional or traditional quilt proved fruitless (after several tries). One quilter friend of mine (after seeing me redesigning and redesigning) just said to me "enough, just cut them".  And so I did.  I went about this completely without a plan.  The first phase of the experiment had begun.  Could I actually make a quilt without designing it first?  Am I capable of winging it?...

I started by cutting 4 or 5 of these scraps into about 7" squares.  They are all stacked together, and free cut like I show.  Each set of blocks has slightly different curves.
I rearrange the pieces and sew the curved blocks together.  If I think that one needed a little different color, then another piece is added onto one of the corners.  The process of creating these blocks took me many weeks.  Free-pieced shouldn't necessarily mean fast.
Then I would arrange what I had on the floor.  I knew early on that I wanted them on point because this is visually more interesting, and to me, it evokes the feeling of flow better.  I would then assess where I needed more or different colors.
Sorry, I'm not sure how to fix this without altering the original.  You get the idea though.  By the time I added the borders, it had a good bit of tweaking done.  I love how it looks like the sun might be poking through the leaves.  Guess I failed to mention that since these were Cherrywoods in luscious shades of "fall", this is depicting the autumn leaves.
I chose to add axisymetrical borders.  Not only are they different widths, they are different colors.  The deepest and widest is at the bottom, giving the scene depth.  And now if you twist your head the opposite direction, you can see what the background looks like with the addition of the blue leaves (sarcastic snort). They are blue because I wanted a modern twist on the expected (and because I had a dozen shades of blue fabric scraps!).  It really does look better if viewed upright!
In my classic style, it is no doubt quilted half-to-death.   I don't have too many finished, detail photos of the quilting, but here are a couple.  The serpentine vines/feathers that intertwine through the falling leaves are done to look like I did trapunto.  In fact, no trapunto at all -- just the usual double 80/20 and wool battings, coupled with very dense back filling to make the feathers pop.  I love the effect that the random circles bring to the "flow".  Each of the leaves is quilted differently too.
Threads used...several.  The primary motifs are stitched in a 40wt Glide or YLI polished poly.  The detail/dense stitching is either Invisifil or SoFine.  Finer threads allow the colors of the gorgeous fabrics to show through.
 Of course, there is a piped binding, and it varies from pale blue to deep indigo as you go around the quilt.  As an additional modern twist, I didn't do the typical 1/4" binding either.  This has a 1/2" binding, and as shown above, the color of the binding perfectly matches that of the outer border, right down to the angle between the colors.  The devil is in the details, and details win quilt shows.  But then, you already know that I am a nit-picker for these type of subtle details.

I'm hoping that the resolution of the first picture is high enough to just zoom in and see the quilting details.  I chose all kinds of odd-ball things that I know you wouldn't associate with my quilting.  The different quilt styles (triple stitch crosshatch and parallel lines) on opposing borders does go against my innate need for symmetry, but it grabs that modern, do-whatever, just wing-it aesthetic I wanted to go for.  The overall quilt is immensely textural.   Where some of the quilt disappears on the colors of the top, the back lays it all out for the eye to see... <>
Hope you enjoyed this first look at my 2014 quilts.  There will be more to come soon (my other new quilt also got a ribbon!)


Vicki W said...

Oh darn. I missed this one! I was preoccupied testing machines and had to do a fast walk through the exhibit. I did see your other beauty with its ribbon!

Anonymous said...

This is truly amazing! What beautiful work! And congratulations!

Unknown said...

This is beautiful! Love your colors, and design process. The quilting is superb. Congratulations on the win.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful post - thanks for sharing your process!!

Frog Quilter said...

Wow! Amazing. Love all the quilting.

regan said...

Congrats on the ribbon! Another stunning quilt! Can't wait to see the other one!

Michele said...

I really love this quilt and thank you so much for walking me through your process on how to construct and quilt this. Reading how quilters design is always enlightening.

Lynette said...

There it is! Absolutely stunning - you definitely have the kick-ass quilting part down. The color of the backing is so luscious that with the quilting, it's stunning as a whole-cloth approach. *Nice* job with that binding approach - I like matching the patch changes in the quilt top, and am impressed with the detailed work it had to have taken to match the angles so nicely. The cherrywood fabrics look like they're wool? So very pretty, Margaret, and a superb success. Can't wait to see the other two 2014 quilts.