Christmas day is just another day. I read the news (stupid way to start the day these days – nothing but seriously ominous views of the world). Then I picked up the strips I constructed yesterday, dug out some grey backing fabric from my backing collection and laid the strips on it – I inverted adjacent strips to mix up the colour and added one narrow contrasting turquoise. Now the strips aren’t fighting the complementary fabric. This is a possible arrangement for a quilt top.
But I wondered what it would look like if I kept the strips all in the same direction and skewed them a bit and I think I prefer this layout. I’ll cut off the overhanging bits and resew them at the opposite end so the strips will be the length of the width of fabric. I will mirror strip widths in the interstitial fabric so the assembled top will have a balanced feel.
I didn’t stop there. Here is the first pass at the convergence quilt – and I got it wrong! The ombre/turquoise is right but the batik/ombre is backward – I wanted the dark to go from wide to narrow and I inadvertently did the reverse.
Doesn’t look awful like this but the balance is not what I was aiming for – I wanted the two dark parts of the ombre to be at opposite corners from one another. I must have laid the ombre/batik panel upside down when I cut the strips. Fortunately, I have another dark ombre piece and enough of the batik to recut/resew/and recut those strips – wasn’t planning on having to do that, however.
This is one of those times it’s a good idea to stop and walk away from it all. Take a breath and come at it again tomorrow.
Season’s greeting to anyone who has bothered reading this far.
That pile of fabrics with the Ombre fabric as central has been calling out to me. So this morning I decided to have a go. My idea was to keep the ombre as intact as possible and to set up some kind of convergence idea using the other blending/contrasting fabrics.
Well that didn’t work! The strips of contrast fabrics kill the ombre – they’re way too strong; they overwhelm the ombre fabric. I’ve gathered them up and put them aside to use them in something else.
Ombre Idea #1
So then back to Ricky Tims basic convergence quilt idea – four squares of blending/contrasting fabric which are cut into graduated strips, sewn together in one direction, then sliced again in graduated strips and stitched once more. The question is what will go with the two blocks of the ombre.
I tried a light and dark turquoise – the darker fabric is lifeless against the ombre.
Possible Ombre Idea #2
The lovely lined fabric doesn’t have near enough contrast to work at all.
Ombre Idea #3
For the moment I’m contemplating this selection – the turquoise should make the overall assembly bright and the paler batik blends reasonably well with the two halves of the ombre fabric…
Ombre Idea #4
I will walk around that for a day or so before cutting further – at the same time going through my stash again to see if I have any other fabrics that might work better.
My first convergence quilt had strong contrasts and worked out well.
Convergence Quilt #1
The contrasts with the ombre fabric aren’t so defined although the ombre sets up a workable contrast in two quadrants. The challenge is finding appropriate fabrics for the other two quadrants.
Convergence Quilt – in progress
This convergence quilt in progress was created in a class I taught a year or so ago – the participant had two lovely contrasting ombre fabrics which blended together amazingly well. I don’t have a second ombre so I’m trying to set up the contrasts another way.
This is how improvisation works – one idea doesn’t pan out, you try another until something just feels right. I’m working on the feels right part – not there yet!
I’ve had this piece of ombre fabric sitting around for a while – I bought a metre at the time because I liked how the colours shaded from grey to brownish. I had nothing to go with it; I just put it away.
Today I was at Sew With Vision (my local Pfaff/Husqvarna dealer and fabric shop) to pick up a new foot for my Pfaff embroidery machine and there were two stacks of recently arrived fabric sitting on the edge of the cutting table. I wasn’t thinking about the ombre fabric but no sooner had Cathy cut me 1/2 m of three of them (grey circles, brown circles and grey/beige with metallic lines) that I remembered the ombre and realized they’d go together.
Ombre Fabric With Possible Companions
I came home, and went through my stash and came up with some other fabrics I had on hand and pulled them out. Looks like “dots” were calling to me. The greys (sitting at the brown end of the ombre) need one more darker grey to pick up the darkest grey shades at the nearer end of the ombre. Probably could also use one more tan-ish fabric as well. AND I need some kind of contrast – I’m auditioning the turquoise/yellow batik but that may not be what I want. I may have to take the pile to Sew With Vision to see if there’s anything else there that works with the greys and browns and beiges that will bring those colours to life.
And what might I do with them? Not a clue, yet!
Here’s where I need to browse pictures of modern quilts to see if anything presents an idea. I always thought the ombre might be used in another convergence quilt, but this collection of fabrics doesn’t lend itself to that. Nope, at this moment, I have no idea what shape this quilt will take. Just need to sleep on it, walk around the fabrics for several days – something will suggest itself….
The quilt turned out a bit larger than I usually make – the addition of the drop shadow sashing added 2.5″ to the width and 3.5″ to the length and the outer border added another 6″ – finished size: 54″x 72″. But the drop shadow sashing was needed to brighten the whole thing and make it less “pink” and the top needed the wide outer border to give the quilt definition.
In the end I did quilt-in-the-ditch along the sashing and the drop shadow. I quilted with a block single run embroidery. The border was also quilted with a long, narrow embroidery which turned out well. I used a purple variegated Sulky 30wt cotton. (Can be annoying because if you don’t use a 90 top stitch needle the thread is prone to fraying and breaking. I used a 90 stop stitch needle and I still had some breaking.) However, the quilting went relatively smoothly overall.
I’m pleased with how the quilt back turned out as well – the large pieces of fabric with narrow contrast elements plus the pieced strip worked out well and the horizontal stripe adds more interest. I must say, I like the Grunge (Moda) fabrics – the tonal quality of them adds lots of life to a fabric, very useful for quilt backing.
You won’t notice it but I added a piece of the turquoise contrast fabric to the binding “just because”.
That’s quilt #5 since August – five quilts/four months – not bad. That’s it for quilts at the moment – now onto a Kantha jacket for a friend, then a couple of pairs of cords for me and a wall art piece based on a photo I took in Italy in April. No end of projects, just not enough time.
Assembled the back for Purple Passion yesterday. The point was to use up leftovers and retain enough of the purple grunge fabric to be able to bind the quilt without having to buy more fabric!
Purple Passion – Quilt Back
I used leftover blocks from the quilt top, cut in half to assemble the narrow pieced strip, then used large blocks of the leftover fabrics to create a wide strip. I decided this time not to insert the strip but to use it as a panel on one side, instead.
Then I set up the quilt sandwich – I’ve described how I do this somewhere in the blog but can’t find the specific post. When I started quilting, I would tape the quilt back to the floor, lay the batting on top, then position the quilt top, smooth out the whole thing and pin.
Pinning The Quilt Sandwich
But getting up and down has become difficult – it’s an age thing – and one day I tried rolling each layer on a pool noodle, and working on my dining room table. That made assembling the quilt sandwich quite a bit easier.
One day it dawned on me that 1 x 4 boards would provide some weight and allow me to apply a bit of tension to each layer as I progressively pinned the sandwich. That’s what you see here. Each layer is rolled on a board, the layers placed on top of one another. I will pin the exposed layers, roll that part up and continue pinning until I’ve reached the other end, taking care to keep the quilt back as smooth as possible. I’m working on my cutting table which is a good height for this step – I don’t have to bend over as I did on my dining room table – much easier on my back.
I’m now ready to begin pinning. Once that’s done, I will stitch-in-the-ditch to stabilize the sashing and outline the narrow drop shadow border. Then I’ll quilt each block once I’ve created an embroidery for this quilt.
Finally finished, binding and label. I’m much happier with the quilt now that it’s finished. The quilting using a darkish bendable thread tied the Kona cotton elements to the rest of the quilt quite well and I have to admit I did one other thing – I toned them down using a fabric pastel crayon which darkened them a bit and hints at texture in much the same way some of the other fabrics do. Once pressed with a steam iron, the pastel dyes the fabric and will withstand washing.
It has the impact of a modern quilt.
Blushing Peonies II – A Modern Quilt – Top
I used flying geese to make a strip to widen the back – they don’t look like flying geese because there isn’t a consistent “background” to highlight the “geese” – however, the pattern created by the large and small triangles showcases the fabrics. The sashing elements I decided to make asymmetrical and I like how they offset the strip and tone down the red backing.
Blushing Peonies II – quilt Back With Flying Geese
After the showing in Parrsboro, my sister Donna expressed interest in the Bordered Diamonds quilt. I gave it to her. She has it hanging in in this bright green room. I love how the green makes the batik fabrics pop and how the colour flow in the quilt ties in with the navy sofa.
Bordered Diamonds – 2012
The other day I was at the physiotherapist – I was at one end of the room and this photo at the other end caught my eye – at the distance a face popped out – two eyes, the left cheekbone, mouth, the suggestion of a blue hat. It’s actually a photo of a waterfall but for me – it’s a face!
I added borders. Changes the look of the piece entirely – contains it (as borders do), but the borders also seem to change the colour focus in an interesting way. The narrow inner red frames the panel and the wider outer border allows the greys and greens to stand out somewhat more.
Quilt Top With Borders Added
I showed the panel to a friend last evening – someone who’s been a close friend for 60+ years! – she tells me the truth. She found something jarring in the panel but couldn’t identify precisely what. I think the problem resides with the pale pink solid Kona sections. They’re flat/dead in comparison with the other parts of the top.
Now, I could take those two parts out and replace them with something else, but given this quilt top is an improvisation, an opportunity to explore and learn, I’m going to carry on. I can do quite a bit to change the texture of those pale pink areas with quilting, particularly if I use a contrasting thread and a more dense quilting embroidery than I was originally planning on using. It would fill up those pale empty areas and provide flow to the other parts of the panel.
So stay turned to see how things progress. Next step is to set up a back panel – it will need an insert as usual to make the fabric wide enough. Not sure what to do – I’m thinking about carrying on with large pieces assembled into a strip using these same fabrics.