Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Improv: quilted

I finally got around to quilting my improv quilt (previous post here):

I chose a gray thread and machine quilted wavy lines.  I also added some hand quilting in pink.  You can't see it in this picture (sorry it's a bad one), but I really like the effect. 

My dilemma now is whether or not I should square it up.  I already trimmed it, but am not sure if I want to leave it that way, tweak it a bit or square it up. 

I've been very inspired lately by liberated type of quilts from the likes of Nancy Crow, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and Tonya Ricucci, just to name a few.  In my searches I came across Mary Keasler's blog and quilt (which she made from a workshop with Nancy Crow). It's what inspired me to get this thing done and maybe leave it looking all organic rather than squared up.  
What should I do? I'd like to know what you think.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer project

Days at the pool and time away from home mean that I don't get to spend much time in front of the sewing machine. Fortunately that doesn't stop me from sewing altogether because I really enjoy sewing by hand.
For the last...ahem...3 summers, I had been working on a hexagon quilt. Which was finally done by the end of last summer (see post here).
This summer I decided to tackle an appliqué quilt.
You might recall that back in March my Equilibrium Quilt (seen below) won third prize in the Tangerine Tango Challenge.
My prize was a fat quarter bundle of 12 different orange fabrics. It was donated by the lovely ladies from the Fat Quarter Shop

I knew when I received this package that I wanted to use all the fabrics in one quilt. But how? Inspiration came to me as I was working on another project. 
I've mentioned before that I am teaching a friend how to quilt and made this quilt sampler as our class project.
My favorite block to make was this appliqué block fittingly called, orange peel:
For those of you not familiar with it, the 'orange peel' is a very traditional quilt block. A quick google image search for an orange peel quilt revealed this beautiful antique quilt.
I had also just gotten my hand on Denyse Schmidt's latest book: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. My favorite quilt in the book is the Tobacco Leaf which is made up of over sized, pieced 'orange peels'. Although the block is much more complicated than I wanted to tackle, I was inspired by the size of each orange peel. A great twist on the traditional.    
So that' s how the design of my quilt came to be. I played around with the size of the orange peels until I could get the biggest one and still manage 4 peels per fat quarter.
And to add to the modern take on a traditional block, I decided to set each 'peel' in a rectangle instead of a square.  This is the effect it gives. 

When pieced together, the rectangular blocks give the orange peels an oval shape vs the more traditional circle (as you saw in the inspiration photo). You'll notice too, that since my peels are so big, I appliquéd one peel per block vs four per block as you see in my quilt sampler.
I have 1 peel out of 48 left to applique. And I have to say that have really enjoyed this hand appliqué technique!
To speed things up, I think I will piece the blocks by machine and then hand quilt it. I know it'll be a while before I get around to  that so, to keep my hands busy in the interim, I have finally basted the layers of my sampler.
I have decided to quilt it by hand without a hoop. We'll see how that works out... 

How about you? Do you have any special summer projects that you like to work on? Do you enjoy sewing by hand?