Annularity II

Annularity1PBStudios

This is the story of the design of my quilt Annularity.  It is also the story of Annularity II, which will hang at QuiltCon in Paintbrush Studios Booth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annularity II
Quilt Number 194
Designed and Pieced by Elizabeth Eastmond
Quilted by Natalia Bonner
59″ square

The story of this begins when I was contacted by the fine people at Paintbrush Studios, who make the ever-lovely Painter’s Palette Solids.  I submitted one design for review, time passed, things changed; I thought the process was dead in the water.

AnnularityDesign_1fabrics

But I had all these lovely fabrics, so we started the process again.

Annularity Fail

I played around in QuiltPro, my favorite quilt design program and came up with the above design messes.

annularityfailalmost

I showed them to Simone, seeking advice, and she said, “Don’t forget the white.”  Negative space is critical, but sometimes you get in the weeds of a thing and you can’t see your way clear.

Given that the Great American Eclipse was on my mind, I started calling my quilt Annularity:

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I began building the quilt top, remembering the white.  But when I got to the outer edges, something still wasn’t right.  A designer can do all the designing they want to, but then the fabric takes over and slowly, the outer edges morphed from the planned design to what you see at the very top.  Then there was the problem of the center.

AnnularityOPQuilt Centers

I tried lots of combinations: yellow, aqua, violet, maroon but finally finished with periwinkle, one of my favorite colors in the Painter’s Palette Solids line-up.  I finished it and when Paintbrush Studios told me that Natalia Bonner was going to quilt it, I was over the moon, because I quite admire her work.  I bundled up the quilt, sent it off, and then waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And I began to wonder, even though I’d tracked it to her address, if it had gotten lost.  I worried, then did the next best thing:

My Annularity

I made another.

In the rush, I didn’t have all the correct fabrics, so some are pieced.  But then I heard from Natalia that she had the quilt.  Whew!  Since it’s going to be hanging in the booth at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena, I gave the first one a new name, since now there were two in the world: Annularity II.

Pineapple Fabrics has the complete line of colors needed to make this design, and you can soon buy the quilt pattern from them.  Come and see Annularity II in the Paintbrush Studios booth, #905.

But I’ll be quilting mine, Annularity, bit by bit, sharing that experience as I proceed.  In the meantime, enjoy the photos of Natalia’s fine work:

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Cinque Terra Tiles • Improv Applique (Part 2)

Cinque Terra Tiles_3

This is the story of my Improv Appliqué Demo, coming up at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena.  In the last post, you saw me making a whole gang of these little bits squares, some with slightly wobbly shapes.  And lo and behold, one day they all turned into this:

Cinque Terra Tiles_ front

Cinque Terra Tiles, Quilt # 193

Yep.  I arranged those little bits and bigger bits until they coalesced into this quilt, which I love.

At the request of Paintbrush Studios, I’ll be doing two demos of this Improv Appliqué technique during QuiltCon 2018:
•  Friday, February 23 from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m.,
•  Sunday, February 25, from  11:00 to 11:30 a.m.

If you come, you’ll get a little kit to get you started, complete with needle and thread, and a mini-charm pack of fabulous Painter’s Palette Solids.  I’ll have a set of printed directions for your improv appliqué, plus tips on folding techniques as well as basic hand-appliqué directions.

I loved working with this fabric, as it has a nice tight weave, but not so tight that it won’t ease and fold into shape.  The colors are saturated and rich and play well against each other.  I’m totally sold on this fabric, especially after working with it in such close circumstances: handwork reveals everything, I think.

Cinque Terra Tiles_1aCinque Terra Tiles_1bCinque Terra Tiles_1cCinque Terra Tiles_1d
I’m deluging you with photos, because if you want to make one, all of a sudden you’ll say, I need a new shape! a new color combo! Feel free to steal one of mine.Cinque Terra Tiles_5

I did cut out the back of the larger appliqué shapes, but you can see where I appliquéd smaller on larger. You can also see that I did NOT press seams open, but instead, to one side.  I grouped them together, sewing four smalls, then seaming that onto one larger, and so on (sew on?)

Cinque Terra Tiles_5a

Sometimes it’s fun to see the undersides of our quilts, right?

Cinque Terra Tiles_6 back

I chose a fun Kaffe Fassett circles pattern to back it with.  I decided not to gild the lilly, that is, to excessively quilt the little bits: I just stitched in the ditch.  But on the borders, I picked up the circles theme again, and did arcs in varying sizes with black thread.  It’s nearly invisible on the front, but you can see it very well on the back.Cinque Terra Tiles_6alabelCinque Terra Tiles_7quilting

Hope to see you in Pasadena–come and learn how to do some Improv Appliqué!

Cinque Terra Tiles • Improv Applique (Part 1)

Cinque Terra Tiles_Italy1

The kind folk at Paintbrush Studios asked me (some time ago) to give a demo at QuiltCon 2018.  I set to wondering what I could teach in a short amount of time (20-30 minutes) that would be interesting. Shortly after they asked me, I visited Cinque Terra, Italy, and stood on a plaza in Riomaggiore, overlooking the sea (above).

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We walked down the steps, and underneath the plaza was a passageway, the walls decorated with these tiles in all sizes. It was on the way to Via dell’amore (the Walk of Love).

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When I returned home and started looking at my photos, I thought about all those mini charm packs we pick up everywhere, and how they could become something along the lines of this impromptu artwork in Riomaggiore.  Cinque Terra Tiles1_1

So I got out my mini-charm pack from Paintbrush Studio Solids and started pairing up the colors, trying to make the duo sing together–have a little friction together–trying to get pairs that would play against each other.

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I found a worksheet online that had a whole bunch of oddball shapes, and I began trying some.

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I sent away for more mini-charm packs.  Once I got started, I kept wanting to make more.

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And more.

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I carried around a little baggie of paired squares, and did them while watching TV, getting my hair colored and while in Urgent Care one bad flu season.

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I loved watching my collection grow.  I would do one shape for a while, then another.  I used up bits and pieces of squares.  I even tried some paper-piece-wrapped hexagons; I ended up not liking them so much because the charm of these squares was in their wobbliness, their wonkiness.

And then one day, I put them up on the wall with other, larger, squares–just like the Walk of Love passageway in Italy.  And wouldn’t you know it–it was really looking fun.Cinque Terra Tiles1_5

I wasn’t finished, but what I hoped would happen, did.  I took this photo and put it up on Instagram, using the SnapSeed app to expand the edges and add the text.

Next post: the finish and the details about my demos at QuiltCon.

Winter Pines • Finished!

 

Winter Pines
Quilt No. 193
73″ high by 64″ wide

You saw the sewing of Winter Pines and I’m back to tell you it’s finished.

The backing is an oldie from the stash; I deliberated whether or not to use it as I was “saving it for just the right quilt” but am so glad I decided to use it.  I love it with the wintery theme of this quilt — just the right colors.

My quilter did a great job, using one of my favorite edge-to-edge patterns: a swirling loop-de-loop.

I’m sewing the binding on another quilt that I’ve kept under wraps for nearly six months.  It will hang in a booth at QuiltCon, so the time is getting closer to showing you all, but first I have to make the label and get that sewn on.  Soon, very soon.

PS: Very windy day to photograph a quilt.

Eclipse, deconstructed

This is the post where I reveal all my beauty secrets.  Kidding.

This is the post where I tell you how I made my Four-in-Art quilt, showing a technique   I’d read about this technique somewhere, but that crazed-woman-at-the-computer didn’t bookmark it or file it away neatly.  So I had to wing it, which is okay.

First, cut yourself a square of black fabric.  I used the wrong side of a fabric that I hoarded about 15 years ago, and I’m still trying to get rid of it.  (It’s a great fabric, really.)  Then get yourself some Steam-A-Seam II, the fusible applique stuff that will be sticky when you lift up the transfer paper, after you’ve ironed it on.

I did check to make sure that I adhered the non-release side of the Steam-A-Seam II, leaving the side that would release easily facing me.

Gather together some scraps in the colors you want to place on your background.  Since I was doing the eclipse, I basically had three: yellow, black, blue.  Throw in some related colors, just to keep it interesting.  For me, that meant some lighter blues, and orange.

Pile up your color, then randomly cut through the fabrics, and then do it again.  You need some bigger pieces (1-1/2″), but also lots of smaller pieces (1/2″).

I traced a circle on my paper, slightly off-center — because none of us saw that eclipse dead-center — and cut out a hole out of the paper backing.

I laid out my black scraps, making a loose circle. Then I tucked my yellow/orange sun flares behind the circle, pressing down with my fingers to make them adhere to that sticky surface.

Then I oopsed:

I went to the ironing board and ironed it all down.  WRONG.  While this seemed like a good idea, you know–to make sure all those pieces were not going to go anywhere — in reality it prevented me from lifting up the edges and tucking in more yellows,  and the blues.  So maybe if you can protect the edges of your design from the hot iron it might be a good idea?  Or just wait until the end?

Milky Way MJA

Star Fields, by Matthew Anselmo of MattsClicks

Then my son Matthew, who is an expert landscape photographer, put up pictures of the Milky Way on his Instagram, MattsClicks.  This gave me to freedom to really add in color to the heavens, so I pulled a greater variety of blues (and some with purples) and started scattering them around, trying to keep a “street” of lighter blues to represent the Milky Way. (Thanks, Matt!)

Eclipse_4inart_methods8Add in your bits and pieces, filling up the background in a random, organic way.

NOW go to the ironing board, lay your transfer paper over the design (the crackly sheet that came with your fusible), and press, lifting up and down, not sliding, until you think it’s adhered.

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I used three different colors of thread, and just scribbled free-motion-quilted the pieces down.  I did a series of circles in black in the moon, the followed the shapes for the solar flares, then a random loopy design in the heavens.

Eclipse_4inart_methods9aThis is where I notice that the moon has two eyeballs staring right at me.  And this is where I go get some more scraps, use a regular old-school glue stick and paste more fabric scraps over the eyeballs (you don’t see it in the first one, do you?).  Quilt, again.  And then I thought that the moon looked more like a black lump of coal than the moon (even though it does have a mountain-y horizon…it’s not THAT bumpy).  More scraps glued on, more FMQ. I finished up by going in giant circle around the perimeter of the moon, to reinforce that Orb in the Sky thing.

Well.  Not quite.  But that’s what my work table looked like after I trimmed it up, bound it, and made the label.  I’m a total believer in a clean workspace at all times.  I’m a total believer in a clean workspace at least once every couple of weeks.  I mean, I’d like it to be all the time, but I create in small room, and I decided to adjust to the life I have.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the Deconstruction Post for the Final Four-in-Art Quilt.  I probably won’t leave the art quilt in the dust, though, as it’s a quick way to make a quilt while trying out a new technique.  Given that it is often smaller (most of mine were 12″ square), you can crank one out in a day, or an afternoon, if your design is not too complicated.

Thank you for coming along on this five-year journey.

~Elizabeth, of OPQuilt.com

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Chuck Nohara Quilt Top Finished!

We interrupt this tour of France and the European Patchwork Meeting to bring you breaking news: I finished the Chuck Nohara Quilt Top!

My husband held it up for me, but it’s big — about 80″ wide, and similar height.

Chuck Nohara Blocks_Final

Above are the Chuck Nohara blocks that Susan and I chose; we took turns choosing blocks to make–four a month, which sometimes about did me in.  I’ll have you know that she is ALL DONE with her quilt.  (I took this photo inside, the quilt smoothed up on my design wall, so all the blocks were visible.)

Chuck Nohara Signature Block SS

And then we made signature blocks for each other, to commemorate that year-plus of making weensy little fussy blocks. (How did we decide to do this?  Blame the Chuck Nohara QAL Instagram Feed.)  The above signature block is hers, surrounded by my tiny plus-sign blocks and the final star borders.  I have other posts tagged with “Chuck Nohara” so you can either click on the label at the bottom of this one to get more info, or do a search in the box to the right.Chuck Nohara Signature Block ESE

Here’s my signature block.  Do I love love this quilt?  Parts of it, most of it.  If I had another millennium, I might have tried something different besides the two borders, then star borders.  Let me rephrase that… I DID try a lot of different things but nothing clicked to me (now I have a lot of cut fabric for string blocks).  At some point, the old mantra clicked in my head:  “Better done, than perfect”  as well as  “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

Sometimes it’s fine to have some good quilts.  I love so much of what I learned with this quilt–so many different techniques.  But I’m also glad it’s at this spot.  I’ll bring it back when I finish quilting it, but for now, I’m putting it up on the 200 Quilts List.