Sol LeWitt’s Patchwork Primer

Sol LeWitt's Patchwork Primer_final

Sol LeWitt’s Patchwork Primer
Quilt #135 of 200 Quilts
47″ square


It started with a catalogue my father had of Sol LeWitt’s work, and I read it cover to cover, bookmarking different pages and ideas of his, impressed with his breadth and depth and interesting ideas.  I selected this image, “Fifteen Etchings,” thinking it looked sort of like a “how-to” or primer of sorts, for dividing squares into quilt patchwork.  You can read more about my process and sample some of LeWitt’s notes on getting to work in *this post,* including the 6900 variations of the arrangement of quilt fabrics into squares (maybe I’m exaggerating a bit).  The fabric I chose to use was Mirror Ball Dots.  After a long hiatus (I started this in March of this year), I finally got it out, pinned it and got the quilting going:

SolLewittPatchworkPrimer_quilting the quiltI started in the middle, quilting in between the lines of dots.  In the neighboring color, I sewed the other direction, and so on, around the quilt.  I changed out thread on each color, but used my go-to thread in the bobbin: Bottom Line, by Superior Threads.  I lowered my upper tension to keep the thread balanced in between the layers so no white popped up to the top and no colors popped through to the back.


White binding (what else) goes on next.


I think with the combination of the dots on the fabric and the quilting, it reminds me of what I envision a 1960s quilted jacket might have looked like.  I’m sure my sisters had them.


The backing is a Marimekko fabric of large grey blossoms over an acidy-yellow background.



I included the picture that inspired me on my label.


I love the “stained glass” look of quilts, shot from the front when they are illuminated from the back.

SolLewittPatchworkPrimer_front2It’s nice to have a finish!

Now here’s your quote on creativity for today:

“The creative act is not an act of creation in the sense of the Old Testament. It does not create something out nothing: it uncovers, selects, reshuffles, combines, synthesizes already existing facts, ideas, faculties, skills.  ~~Arthur Koestler, in the 1960s


America Is A Tune: October Schnibbles Quilt

America is a Tune_quilt front

America Is A Tune (it must be sung together)
finished October 2013
Quilt #122 on my 200 Quilts List

I was making this quilt all during the recent embarrassing shut-down of our country.  It was embarrassing because I’d been thinking about the ideals that began our nation, and I felt that no matter what your political persuasion, the sacrifices of those early leaders would pale in comparison to the sacrifices being made by those now congregating in the halls of Congress.  And perhaps because they made those sacrifices, maybe those early leaders recognized the fragility of the nation, and worked hard to get it going and keep it going.  The title of this quilt is from Gerald Stanley Lee, a clergyman writing at the time of World War I, and I think it kind of expresses what I would hope we, as a county, could embrace again: working together.

Okay, enough on that, but I am really happy the shut-down is over.

Clover Schnibbles

Sherri and Sinta chose Miss Rosie’s new pattern, Clover, for our Schnibbles this month.  I couldn’t face making all those teensy blocks, so this was my plan:

AmericaIsATune Quilt schematic

So I cut the center “flower” blocks 3” square (finish at 2.5″).  Then cut a bunch of 1 3/4″ squares and sewed them into a four-patch, which would finish at 3″ square, too.  I randomly picked these measurements, and so also include how I constructed the side setting triangles and the corner triangles.

America is a Tune_quilt front detail

And although it happened again: this pattern included no cutting instructions for those of us who don’t buy gobs of Moda pre-cuts, this brilliant design is all Carrie Nielson, from Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company, so get the pattern before you start.

America is a Tune_back1

What prompted this was a visit from my son, who is a political animal–eats, drinks and sleeps politics.  Somewhere in a chest of drawers out in the garage was a little T-shirt I’d bought for a grandchild at the Senate Office Building when we had our sabbatical in Washington DC.  And when looking for that to give to him (so his daughter could wear it), I found this tea towel, with some of Washington DC’s landmarks.

America is a Tune_back

My favorite one, the World War II Memorial isn’t on here, nor is the World War I memorial, which is hidden off to the side of the Lincoln Reflecting Pool (on the left, as you face Mr. Lincoln).

America is a Tune_back2

The backing fabric is an ancient fabric from Susan Winget.  I’d been saving it for a patriotic quilt, and it now has found its home.  I quilted it in a cross-hatch design, while listening to The Light Between Oceans, by M.I. Stedman.  I have three hours to go and I’d better get going on quilting last month’s Schnibbles, so I can finish the book and talk to my mother about it.



City Quilter Gallery

I love to visit City Quilter in New York City, for not only do they have amazing fabrics, they also have an attached art quilt gallery.  The exhibit when I was there was Deb Hyde: Sunshine and Shadow.


Sunshine and Shadow–Yellow

All the quilts were made of tiny pieces of fabric, fused to a grid, sewn then finished.  That makes it sound so elementary and perhaps the technique is, but it is Hyde’s use of color and pattern that elevate these quilts to a new level.



The above are increasingly detailed photos of the opening image, and it’s easy to see that she makes good use of fabric that we might relegate to the side of the fabric closet.

IMG_8364Pink Dress


One of her talents is the way she defines the body, the shapes, but also makes the background interesting with varied tones and values.

IMG_8366Sunshine and Shadow–Turquoise


Check out the use of batiks to make the eye realistic.

IMG_8375Wishful Thinking


IMG_8379This quilt was up over the desk at the front of the gallery so I couldn’t get a good shot, but I love the way the light falls on the shoulders.



I became interested in how she quilted these.  In my recent post I talked about Colorwash quilts and how we sewed millions of little squares together.  The newer method — of fusing them down —  is an easier way, but it does make the quilts stiffer, so I wondered how the quilting would enhance and become a part of the composition, since it would be more noticeable in the thicker texture.  This is a simple diagonal quilting style.

IMG_8373Random box pattern.

IMG_8381All over.  This piece (not shown in its entirety) is interesting because the grid appears to have been appliqued on top of the darker borders, with a scuffly, random stitching adhering and melding the two pieces into one.

The New York Times recently profiled the shop in this video:


And while there, I glimpsed Amish With a Twist II, the newest Block of the Month quilt; I signed up for it, and the two installments of this BOM were waiting for me on the doorstep when I arrived home.  Quilting has kind of come to a halt around here, as my daughter and her three children have arrived for a week (circus circus, but really fun).  Yesterday, while I watched waaay too many episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place (with Selena Gomez as the star witch), I started cutting out the first two kits.  Other than losing my marbles with trying to figure out which color was which (Putty and Williamsburg Blue gave me extra fits of crazy), I successfully finish up the cutting last night.

Now I’ve got to run–time for breakfast for three little people and their Mom!