A Cloud Eclipse and Simple Improv Tutorial

For October, I am the lead Quilter for the Emerge Circle of do.good Stitches. I created the design for our group to make (see below). I’m posting the instructions for my fellow do-gooders on my blog, but I thought WLS followers might enjoy seeing how to simple improv.

COLOR PALETTE

I used this photo of the eclipse as inspiration for the color palette:

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The light on the clouds is awesome.

I uploaded the photo into Play Crafts palette maker:

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These are the colors: Navy (royal is okay too), Black, Light and Medium Grays and Cream/White

USE SOLIDS OR PRINTS OR A MIX

YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE ALL THE COLORS IN THE BLOCKS

For example, you can use cream, black and light gray together. If you don’t have navy, that’s okay with me.

Please avoid prints with other colors in them.

Please make TWO BLOCKS.

SIZE: 12.5″ UNFINISHED

CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS

Cut strips 13″ length  by 2.5″ to 5″ (or thereabouts) width

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Use scissors or a rotary cutter.

Don’t use a ruler.

I learned this technique at the Slow Stitching Retreat in Maine this summer. Heather Jones focused on color theory and we used all solids, but the idea works with prints too! When I’m ready, I’ll write a post about the class and my experience at the Retreat.

ASSEMBLY

In any order, sew the strips together along the 13″ side.

Press seams open or to the darker fabric.

Square up to 12.5″

Great Job!

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The Story of SCALE

SCALE was the third chapter of the Savor Each Stitch Book Bee. Carolyn Friedlander’s book has a photo of bales of hay in front of a house and tree.

The caption reads, “Scale is relative to everything around it.”

On June 2, 2015, I wrote this in the book bee community:

I don’ t have a design in mind for Scale. I pulled some prints — large to small to inspire me. CF’s Circle Lattice is interesting and I like the idea of a large applique piece.

 

I had pulled some Kaffe prints and I sketched a large applique:

At the same time, my daughter was home for the summer from college and we visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibit: Van Gogh, Manet and Matisse. The Art of the Flower. The exhibit was very crowded and the art was displayed in different rooms in chronological order, beginning with the early Impressionists. The early works were so real. The ladybugs on the leaves looked like they were alive right there on the paintings. Van Gogh’s work wasn’t lifelike but the paint was three dimensional . By the end I felt I had traveled through time, and I felt dizzy and overwhelmed by FLOWERS.

That experience stayed with me and I made a large applique flower (no photo). BUT, I didn’t like it.

I liked the Kaffe prints so I made a tote bag as a Scale warm-up.top stitch tote close

Since I liked the idea of a large flower, I created a large improvisational “flower” using solid scraps.

Scale piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t like how the small flowers were interacting with the large one.

On July 16, 2015, I wrote:

 My Scale study has taken another turn. I decided to make some large and small improv “flowers.” I did that and tried to assemble them. Hated it, then slashed and reassembled them, and I think I’m getting somewhere. Now to decide if I need a border and how much border. I think it needs some “breathing space” — not sure what would be best.  Blue perhaps.
Scale pieces
Susan, a fellow bee mate, suggested BLACK, and I’m so glad I took her suggestion.
Don't say Beatlejuice, Nora Paige
After I putting on the face binding, I thought it needed some more hand quilting.
 Dotson.Wanda-Roses-FULL

That’s the story of SCALE.

 

There are no rules in making a modern quilt, but just in case. Five Things you should know.

In case you want some guidance in your modern quilt making, here are the top five things you need to know:

  1. functional.
  2. use of expansive negative space.
  3. improvisational piecing.
  4. bold and graphic.
  5. minimalism.

For an explanation of modern quilts, I turn to the Modern Quilt Guild. They say:

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.

I. FUNCTIONAL

This means you can throw the quilt in the washing machine. I see a lot of modern quilts used as wall hangings and they function as art, but you could still throw them in the wash and they don’t need to be sent to the dry cleaners. I take this “functional” label to mean they aren’t embellished with beads and such.

II. EXPANSIVE NEGATIVE SPACE

The key word here is “expansive.”. Traditional quilts use negative space. My Vintage Moments quilt uses negative space but it isn’t a modern quilt:

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Expansive negative space uses large areas of the same color of fabric and it seems to use minimal piecing.

I like the use of large areas of solid fabric in a quilt, but to make it functional, that negative space needs quilting and all that free motion quilting seems to me to be no different than piecing. Either way there is a design in that space. Thread versus piecing — I don’t know the answer to what is negative space. Maybe it has to read as a solid background and it has nothing to do with negative space design. The blog, KnitNkwilt, has a discussion about negative space in modern quilts. I’m still trying to figure out what this means.

III. BRIGHT AND GRAPHIC COLOR PALETTES (HIGH CONTRAST AND GRAPHIC AREAS OF SOLIC COLOR)

Again, my Vintage Moments quilt uses high contrast with the black and white. High contrast in a modern quilt must mean something more than that. The following photo is a quilt which won third place in the QuiltCon show for best handwork.

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Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca Pierrefonds, Quebec, Canada Pieced & Quilted by: Cinzia Allocca

This quilt (right) uses high contrast and graphic areas of solid color. I like bright and graphic colors but I’m also in love with muted colors which I think could be modern.

IV. IMPROVISATIONAL PIECING

I love improvisational piecing.  I think “improvisational piecing” is akin to my understanding of “liberated” quilting. Last year I made a quilt from pieces of scraps from previous projects and quilts, mostly traditional. I made wonky log cabins but the “logs” were white or white-on-white fabric, also left over from previous quilts. I call it Sentimental Soup.

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V. MINIMALISM

This category seems the easiest for me to understand. Perhaps it is because I see it as Modern Art.

This is a painting by Brice Marden. I recently saw it as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The work is titled, “Meritatio.”

Meritatio By Brice Marden ,1978

This painting looks like a minimal quilt.

I recently finished a quilt, titled Muppets Minimal. I know I named it ‘minimal’ and so it must be minimal. Right?

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This quilt is my husband’s favorite and is perfect for long naps. Functional – check. Expansive Negative Space– check.  Bright and Graphic– check. Minimal– check.  Improvisational Muppets– check. This must be a modern quilt. The LOVE quilt at the top of this post checks some of these blocks — improvisational, graphic, functional but not minimal and not much expansive negative space. This quilt is called, Love is messy, and is my tribute to the LOVEWorks sculptures throughout Virginia. The point is that a modern quilt doesn’t have to be all these things at once, and that just isn’t possible.

VI. TRADITIONAL WITH A TWIST

I’m drawn to quilts which use traditional blocks in a new way.  The Modern Quilt Guild recognizes these quilts as “modern.” The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild explains:

Modern quilting is a new twist on the traditional art of quilting. This may mean something as simple as using a traditional quilt block and updating it in a fresh, fun new way. That includes using modern fabrics, modifying the block arrangement or even the scale of the block. The piecing could be improvisational and liberated, or it could be very exact and measured, following a pattern or creating your own. The quilting could be traditional stippling, clean straight lines, or a very “free,” fun, quilt-as-you-go style. Fabrics could be upcycled vintage sheets, custom digitally printed fabric, a yummy selection from one of the new modern fabric designers, or an old fabric from an ever-growing stash.

 [….]

Modern quilting is also about the attitude and the approach that modern quilters take. It respects the amazing artistry and talent of the tradition of quilting, while allowing the quilter to challenge the “rules.” In fact, if there were one rule in modern quilting, it would be that there are no rules.

I like this description. THERE ARE NO RULES!

VII. FINAL THOUGHTS

I believe art, and modern quilts, must have some connection to the person who is creating the art or the quilt. Merely producing a replica of a piece of modern art is hollow. I have to find what speaks to me and what I want to create. I want my quilts to have a story.

Telling stories one quilt at a time,

Wanda

Update: after writing this post I realized I completely forgot about Alternate Gridwork which was the requirement for the QuiltCon Charity Quilt I helped make.