Now I have to spend some time looking at the blocks and their position in the array! There are three variables in play – the fabrics of the inner square, the fabrics of the first triangle, the fabrics of the second triangle. I’m trying to keep them all different so there are no two centre fabrics in a row or column; then I’m trying to have not two same fabrics touching. I’ve almost got it – I see three spots where the inner and outer triangles are the same fabric and I may not be able to move anything more to alleviate that. There are also some adjacent diagonals (which I’ve decided to ignore). More important is whether I have the colour distributed broadly around the array – it’s not bad – I will have to look at the blocks tomorrow to see if I still feel that way.
The issue is at this point I have almost no degrees of freedom – the only way I can gain more is the make the seven blocks for the quilt back and see if those combination accommodate some swaps. It’s probably a good idea to do that before I attach the sashing because once the sashing is attached I’m not going to be able to do any moving around!
The quilt is going to be colourful, for sure.
PS: I’ve been asked about measurements for the block. If you’re interested in constructing a quilt top like this, click here for information/measurements for creating/setting up the blocks. If you decide to try it, be sure to make a couple of test blocks using scrap fabric.
I finished quilting the 30 blocks; next the sashing. I figured I had two options: edge stitching or stitching-in-the-ditch. I did a bit of both knowing I was going to have to take out whichever one I didn’t like.
On the left is the edge stitching (on the vertical sashing), on the right stitching-in-the ditch. The difference is subtle but I prefer the stitching-in-the-ditch. So I started taking out the edge stitching. Thank goodness I only did one horizontal row and a bit of the end sashing. That’s a job for working in front of the TV tonight.
I’m quitting for now but I will carry on quilting the sashing tomorrow.
I started quilting yesterday – did 6 blocks; another 19 blocks today – 25 blocks done – 5 remain.
I’d set up a single-run embroidery (single-run = the design is stitched once) to fit the block within the sashing, coming close to the edges but leaving a small amount of space so when I do something with the sashing (either stitching-in-the-ditch or edge stitching beside the seams) I don’t run into the embroidery.
Tomorrow’s decision will be what to do with the sashing. I’ve thought of other options besides the two I’ve mentioned above like under stitching all the rows of shark’s teeth but I think that would push me past my boredom threshold! And I can’t see a decorative stitch down the middle of the sashing strips – would just clash with the fabric detail. So it’s either stitching-in-the-ditch or edge stitching. I might just try a bit of edge stitching to see what it looks like, being prepared to take it out if I don’t like it! That’s for tomorrow.
I finished piecing the quilt backing this morning. It needed a good pressing with some Best Press (a clear spray starch.
Would you believe it – I see a mistake! I’ll have to take the pinning partly apart so I can get to the spot where I have to rotate one of the rectangle blocks 180°! I didn’t pick up on that – not until just now as I’m looking at the photo.
The quilt sandwich is pinned. I’ve been setting up embroidery designs for quilting the blocks – testing them out on scrap fabric to make sure they stitch out correctly. Still haven’t decided which to use. Guess I need to sleep on it a bit. I hope to have made up my mind by tomorrow!
There! The block is fixed – the joins not quite so perfect but nobody, except me, is going to notice.
Here it is – the quilt top is finally assembled. All the shark’s teeth sashing is going in the same direction vertically and horizontally (that took a bit of correcting in the first couple of rows until I realized the top would look better with that fabric unidirectional rather than helterskelter. The four substituted square centres bring some life to the quilt and bring out the colour in the others.
Final quilt size is 52 1/2″ x 62 3/4″.
Next step is to create six more blocks for the back of the quilt. Past Friday I went to Mahone Bay to Woolworks and picked up one of the fabrics to use for backing the quilt. One length isn’t wide enough for a backing – I will splice it and insert a column of blocks with sashing.
It’s a lovely colourful quilt top – I like Kaffe Fassett’s sharks’ teeth fabric selection for the sashing – quite unlike the other fabrics, yet the right colour – it creates a very modern feel to what is a traditional block.
And I was right – the many imperfections in the blocks were amended when I added the sashing. I didn’t trim the blocks to a precise 9 1/2″ because I needed to keep the 1/4″ at each corner block point so I fudged the placement while adding sashing and the blocks have ended up as I wanted them.
In January I did something I have never done – I signed up to do a quilt along – this one with Kaffe Fassett. He (and the rest of the collective) have created a quartet of queen size quilts – same pattern but available in four different colour combinations. The quilt block resembles a cog wheel hence the name of the quilt: Gathering No Moss.
The project began when I received an email from Hyggeligt Fabrics in St, Mary’s Ontario advertising the quilt along. Over the years I’ve collected Kaffe Fassett fabrics – my diamond quilts, the Escher quilt all used fabrics from Free Spirit which produces and sells the Kaffe Fassett Collective collections. In years past, I’ve attended a lecture or two of his which I found underwhelming, but I’ve also watched Fassett lead a weekend workshop several years ago on YouTube from which I learned a lot.
I liked the “Delft” fabric collection well enough that I decided to buy the Gathering No Moss fabrics and join the quilt along. The zoom lectures begin on Wednesday – Aug 4 – on Facebook (why there of all places – I try to stay off Facebook). In any case, my fabric bundle from Hyggeligt Fabrics arrived last week. It’s a lovely collection of fabrics. The instructions are for a 77″ x 92″ quilt – a 5 x 6 array of blocks. I decided to keep the array, but downsize the blocks.
The intended quilt block is a 13 1/2″ square:
I did a mock-up of the intended block but I wanted to make a smaller throw size quilt so I downsized the blocks which turned into a block a bit smaller than I wanted. [ A finished 9″ block x 5 = 45″ plus 1.25″ x 6 for the sashing = 7.5″ will give me a finished width of 52 1/2″ – a largish throw quilt.]
Once I’d figured out the block construction and had dimensions for the 9 1/2″ block I was going to make, I got to work on the Delft fabrics. I simplified the instructions – rather than work with the chart describing what to cut from which fabric, I sorted the fabrics into light/dark and medium. The centre blocks I cut from the small medium colour fabrics; then I cut rectangles and squares for the corner blocks from the darks; finally I cut rectangles and squares (which I cut into half-square triangles) from the lights. The cutting went reasonably quickly.
I carefully laid out the centre blocks in a numerical order – Row 1: 1,2,3,4,5; Row 2: 2,3,4,5,1, etc, until I had six rows of five blocks. While I liked the colour of the Delft fabrics I thought the quilt could use a bit of additional colour – I went through my stash of Kaffe Fassett fabrics picking six bright ones, cut a centre square from each which I then substituted into the array on my table – one in each row.
Next I laid out the pieces from the dark fabrics B,C,D,E,F and the light fabrics G,H,I,J,K in an array and began placing dark/light pairs on top of the centre squares – using a similar shifting pairing so that in the end each block will be unique.
You can see the lovely blue and “white” fabrics in the collection. I have so far completed six blocks. The remaining 24 are laid out in position on my cutting table. It takes me about 20 minutes to construct a block so I will need to work on these for the next few days. There’s sashing to insert between the blocks which will tie the whole quilt together – I just haven’t decided what width to use – I’ll make that decision when I have all 30 blocks laid out.
I knew from the beginning I wasn’t likely to follow the instructions. I like the block, so I decided to use it instead of creating something else. Deconstructing the block from the images of the Gathering No Moss quilt was straightforward. I will tune in on Wednesday to see what Fassett has to say – I’m sure I can learn some interesting things from him about colour flow and placement. I’ll report back as I make progress on the project.
Friday I took eight quilts and 12 wall art pieces to Parrsboro to show at the Art Labs Gallery. I knew it was a shared exhibition with two women who do rug hooking – but I had been told most of their pieces would be stand-on-the-floor works – laundry baskets, chairs, stools… Well, they were, but several were “hung” which cut my showing space in half. I was able to hang 5 quilts and 4 wall art pieces. A disappointment because the wall art pieces I’d chosen showed the evolution of my “printed on fabric” appliqué technique – the pieces all had people in them which I wanted to showcase.
The most recent piece with one of the earlier pieces. I’m still very fond of the mood of these three guys at Fox River wishing the wind would moderate so we could launch our paragliders.
This is the piece you see from the doorway – it’s straight ahead of you as you walk into the gallery space. At that distance you see the 3D illusion clearly.
This quilt also is striking when you see it hung. The shaded border, the asymmetry of the piece, the colour movement are all apparent.
I forgot to take a photo showing the three Skyline quilts hanging side by each on the wall. They make a strong triptych which was my intention when I created these pieces.
Not for sale, but it’s one of my stronger pieces using the fabric photo appliqué technique. I was so lucky that the sunlight on the children blended so well with the setting I put them in – on Spring Garden Road beside the Public Gardens – the photo of the children was taken at the Toronto Zoo!
These were all the pieces I had room to hang. I returned home with three quilts and nine wall art pieces. I could have crammed in a few more small hangings but when I stood back I decided less was more.
The show is on until August 19 when I go back to Parrsboro to take down the show and return the art to my closet. I need an agent in Toronto or New York – anybody got connections to someone who might be interested in representing a textile artist in a market that would understand the art and the work required to create it?
I started the morning by cutting a gazillion 2″ squares of fabric from the many strips and scraps I’d collected which I hoped would help me fill in the background on the wall art piece. I needed a lot (although I didn’t count what I needed but I’m guessing it must have been close to 140 squares (the panel is 16 X 12 = 192).
Then I began laying them out, a few at a time, trying to create some kind of flow to the background.
As you can see the pieces are pinned to the fusible interfacing – I didn’t want to fuse them until I was certain I had the colour flowing as I wanted it – nothing jarring. I still have to walk around it some more before I start pressing the squares in place. Likely on the weekend I’ll get to that.
I didn’t plan it, but I like is the way the dark fills in a slightly off-centred “U” shaped space at the bottom, and when the panel is sewn together and the blocks end up at 1 1/2″ the light colours should blend reasonably well.
So how do I plan to fill the empty space? With a couple of California poppies!
The image looks small but its height is 14″ – the panel will finish at 18″ X 24″ (it’s currently 24″ X 32″) so the flowers in relation to the background will be a better fit. I would print this image on fabric (using my inkjet printer), then fussy cut it carefully before fusing it to the background, and thread painting it in place.
There is another possibility I’ve been working on – I’ve created a machine embroidery of 4 yellow poppies which are also ~ 14″ in height which I could embroider in position directly on the background:
I printed it out, roughly cut it, to see how it would look on the background
Impossible to tell which might be best until I get the background sewn. The current limitation I have is my largest hoop will create an embroidery 360mm in height (just over 14″). If I decide to use the embroidery, I may have to rework it by splitting it in two in order to enlarge it – not sure how well that will go but if the 14″ is too small it’s something I may have to try.
Next step is to fuse the squares in place, then construct the background panel.
Just finished. I wasn’t sure it was all going to work but it has.
If you click on the image above you will see the quilting detail. I thought about some kind of detailed quilting design but there were two problems. First, I didn’t have a hoop large enough to manage any kind of large block and there isn’t a really clear hexagonal shape to work with, even if I did. I defaulted to a diamond shape which is all I could accommodate. Second, any kind of detailed quilting, like I used on the previous diamond quilts, was going to detract from the effect of the rising, interconnected, vertical elements of the quilt design.
In the end I quilted the “diamonds” using a straight line design alternating the direction of the diamonds to fit into the overall array of interconnected elements.
Then what to do with the borders? I decided to use a rather dense floral quilt design; I set up a modified version which I used to fill in the half-diamond elements top and bottom. That decision turned out well.
I assembled a double strip of pieced strips to allow me to widen the backing enough to fit the quilt top. I bordered the insert strip with unequal strips of a light batik which blended nicely.
I finished the quilt with a narrow 1/4″ conventional quilt binding using 1 1/2″ strips from some Skyline fabric still in my stash which let me get away without having to piece a gazillion tiny leftovers from the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. The binding finishes the quilt hinting at the colours in the main panel.
So, the quilt is done. I started playing with the idea on May 6 – so 2 1/2 weeks is the time it took me to construct, quilt, and complete the project. I’ve had a lot of uninterrupted time to sew since we’ve been on COVID-19 lockdown here in NS since April 25 (we expect to remain locked down until at least the middle of June – maybe longer because while new case counts aren’t going up to any degree, they’re not going down, either!).
Now it’s time to turn my attention to sewing some summer clothes – a couple of dresses, maybe a jean jacket, some linen pull-on pants. I have the fabric on hand. I’ll start by washing it all tomorrow.
Redone – I removed the side border, extended the top and bottom borders, and added the 8th column.
I’m much happier with the balance. I understand why most people who make this quilt top choose to straighten the top and bottom edges but I find the zigzag edge an interesting detail.
So the top is now complete.
Next, the quilt back. I have to pull out the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric leftovers and see what I can do with them. I have lots of the backing fabric (Ruby Star Society Speckled Metallic Navy 2021). I was able to pick up 3m on Wednesday at my local fabric store.