Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Penny's Journey

jill here...We first met Penny at a 2005 quilt camp.  It was a somewhat emotional week as we discovered Penny's story;  her son had died the year before and she had chosen quilting as her medium of expression.  One of her first quilts is the one pictured to the lower right titled Loss.
This is the card/invitation for the exhibit. The opening reception also included a beautiful piano recital by Penny's husband David Amor.

Over the past twelve years Penny has created a series of quilts and banners that reflects her feelings of loss.  Her personal story is best told by her.  If you are close to Galesburg, the exhibit will be open at The Box, 306 E Simmons St. 12-5pm thru this Friday.  It's a very moving experience.

This is the front side of suspended
Self-Portrait, Year 2: Beneath theSurface
This is the back side of the quilt.
This quilt was shown at Quiltcon in 2015.   Why Quilts Matter and While She Naps  have discussed it's impact.


The above banners were two different expressions with the same focus.  The colors, design and script were carefully chosen for the message they carry.

Jeremy's Log Cabin, started before the accident 
and completed after his death.

One of the exhibit walls that displays Loss, Shelter and Regret.

Penny's maquettes displaying her process.
Studies for Loss and Regret

Hand dyed fabrics stretched on canvas stretchers.
Penny's most recent study of Stones.

 I have a great deal of admiration for Penny and her work.  Her quilting clearly aligns with her profession as a scholar.  She takes process, education, research, trial and practice very seriously. With her emotions as her focus, her message is apparent. She is very willing to seek out opinions and feedback from many different levels: her husband, art and quilting educators, friends and group members.  You can read more about her designs on her blog.

The Quilters by Design that was formed from a couple years of quilt camp has remained a group.  Some of us who live in closer proximity meet a couple of times a year for support and critique.  Some of us make the Chicago retreat only once a year.  We all have different tastes and references but the bond is strong.  It's been amazing to view Penny's journey and share a part of it.

'Till next Tuesday....

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Competing in the 1/4" hurdles

Marny here...with the Rio Olympics going on I couldn't resist! 

This month's Des Moines Modern Quilt Bee was chosen by Amy and is based on Melissa Corry's Star Value tutorial. There are forty half square triangles and twenty four squares in each 20" finished block! Happily, Amy furnished almost all of the 3 1/2" and 3" squares.

It all started out well enough. 
I stitched up all the slightly oversized half square triangles as directed.
They are trimmed to 3" square.
Then I stitched the units into rows. Here you see two rows sewn to one another. 
Luckily I took the time to check dimensions.
This block will be sewn side by side with those of fellow Bee members.
This means it is extra important to try to make the block the correct size.
Mine is more than 3/8" too large. I use a very scant 1/4" seam, and apparently it is too scant when seven seams are taken into account.
I am also still adjusting to a new sewing machine and trying out suggested settings, etc.

So I moved my needle one tiny position to make the seam allowance larger. You can see two seam lines stitched here. Since I pressed the seams to the side (and not open as I usually do) there was no need to remove the original stitching.

Bingo! 20 1/2" 
Comparing the top half to the bottom half of this photo shows 
just how much unpieced blocks "shrink" when stitched together.
In this case 3 1/2" are lost since there are 7 seams across
every row and column.
It will be fun to see the blocks side by side at Thursday's 

Des Moines Modern Quilt Group's meeting. 
Facebook link
Website link
What will our next Bee block be??
Till Tuesday... 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Paint Chip Challenge

jill here.....As a new member of the Ames Quilt Guild, I decided to partake in the paint chip challenge.  I drew three colors (without looking) from a paper bag.  Actually I like all the colors so I was excited to create.  My inspiration is the artist Annie Albers.  Although most of her works were woven, I love her graphic, simplistic approach.

Aqua Mist, Nice Berry and Green Tea Leaves.

These are my fabric choices with tints added.
The "Green Tea Leaves" lacks impact and
acts more like a neutral, which is fine.

Following the rules, white can be added.
The navy is my one optional color.
The size of the quilt cannot exceed 24" in any direction; this constraint is very attractive as it's very achievable.  I decided on 16" x 24" (I like this proportion) so the "blocks will finish 4"... easy math
(4 x 6 for a total of 24)! The 1" finished strips seem appropriate for the finished size.

I prepared  1 1/2" strips (2 fabrics, 4 strips) sewn into twelve sets, 22" wide.
I always like odd numbers but sewing the sets
 with four strips allows for more flexibility in the design process.
Some strips have more contrast, some are closer in value.
I'll use more aqua. The berry color is bold so a little less might do the trick.  The dull green will provide a nice contrast, the white will brighten and the navy will add the depth.

Colors sewn together....
This challenge was so much fun.  It has to be completed (quilted and bound) by the September meeting.  I'll keep you posted!  'Till next ...Tuesday

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Picnic, Beth's Sampler of Our Six Modern Blocks

Marny here...we received an image from Beth K of her stunning version of our sampler quilt. Our book, Picnic, details a progression through six modern blocks that make up the sampler quilt. There are 13 additional projects.  Fun approach to design lessons throughout.  Scroll down in the Pattern Shop to see photos of the front and back cover.

This is what Beth had to say in her first email. "I love your quilt designs" and they have "helped me venture into modern quilts.  Here is my version of you Picnic quilt. I loved your colors so I chose similar ones." Yipee, it gives us cause to celebrate!!
Beth's Picnic quilt. Wow!
Her blocks are wonderful, she mastered all the techniques,
and take a look at her quilting! We requested April keep our Picnic's quilting simple so that the blocks would dominate. Beth had no such constraints placed on her.

She "was trying to make the most of one of Pam Clarke's last classes
to teach before she retired on how to quilt modern quilts".
I'd say Beth totally nailed the class she took at the
Home Machine Quilting Show in Salt Lake City in May.

Enjoy examining how she approached the quilt over all and block by block.
Dip Bowls block

Season to Taste block
Tailgate block
Chips and Salsa (and a great example of transparency!!!!)
Deli Tray block
Condiments block
Take a good look at all the quilting techniques and patterns! Again Wow Beth! 

Thank you for letting us share!
Till Tuesday...happy August!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fresh Salsa Flavors

jill here....You may have heard the shopping expression "don't know what I'm looking for but I'll know it when I see it"!  I fell in love with these blue, slightly periwinkle fabrics.  Didn't have a project in mind  but one took shape.  The Salsa block from Quilts du Jour was chosen: five fabrics that were strip pieced to create the block's 4 different variations.  Quick and fun!  A blended outcome is created with the use of less contrast in the fabric choice.

Baby sized Salsa blocks set in a random horizontal setting.
The prints are Tara by Dena for Free Spirit Fabrics.
The multidirectional, overall texture is Tule by Leah Duncan
for Art Gallery Fabrics.
These are the accompaniments adding in a blue geometric
and one yellow green with just a bit more zip.
One of the lighter prints was saved for the back.
The Snack Circuit sample from the book features the block
in solid, modern colors and a very graphic modern setting
The same block presented in two totally different fabrics creates many options.  That's the surprise factor that makes it fun.

Fresh and sweet!

The large scale print surrounded leftover blocks on the backing.

Ready for the perfect baby!

Enjoy the day.  'till next Tuesday....


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kelp Block finished for DMMQG Bee month 2

Marny here...with the finished Kelp Block for Eva Marie. I am really enjoying the DMMQG Bee! We'll get our next block assigned this Thursday evening. I am curious what it will be. 

Linda (Flourishing Palms), formerly from Des Moines and a founding member of our Modern Quilt Group, commented on my previous Bee post. "How nice to see that you're working on improv... well, a sort of improv. It's what I'm most interested in these days, and what I don't do well. I've learned that it's more difficult to learn improv after dozens of years making planned patterns." 

Thank you Linda (and I think you are too hard on yourself!), now I am thinking about improv and what it means to me. This Kelp block starts with designated strip sets described in the Rossiecrafts tutorial. The cuts and arrangements are up to the quilter. So maybe we could call this one improvisation with defined constraints. 

Improvisation, for me, means designing intuitively, according to my own aesthetic. The end product can't be visualized from the beginning.

In The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters Sherri Lynn Woods says "improv is about exploring, not explaining. It's about finding your own way and making your own decisions through noticing your own preferences and patterns of mind."

Quilt pattern writing has filled Modern Quilt Relish's time for the past six years. It has been about designing beautiful projects that can be sewn step by step, by other quilters. Our patterns and books lead to design exploration, such as the use of value and color in fabric choices, but with the necessary framework provided for completing a particular quilt. 

So this tiny bit of improv is refreshing. Intuitive decision making is liberating. I hope to expand on the bits I've done in the past.  

The completed Kelp block is longer than the 65" requested.
There is extra background sewn to either end.
This way Eva Marie can shift the block a bit to give her some design leeway!

The block was so long I was curious what a panorama photo would yield.
In spite of the typical curved distortion, I really kind of like
the possibilities for future pictures.

My favorite portion of the block.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kelp Quilt for Month 2 of DMMQG Bee

Marny here...another month of the Des Moines Modern Quilt Group Bee! It is Eva Marie's turn. We are doing the Kelp quilt from a Rossie Hutchinson (a Quilt Market friend) tutorial. Please go here to see the direction we are headed. It is going to be another awesome Bee quilt.

Eva Marie supplied a different white on white for each of us to be used in the background. We supply the kelp fabric. It is supposed be low volume, cream or white, solid or print, BUT, needs to contrast enough with the background to show up.
The fabric on the left is an old Lonni Rossi design I found in my stash.  My white background is a little white twig shape on white. No photograph does it justice. I find a certain symmetry in using Rossi fabrics in a Rossie quilt.

Here are my three strip sets ready to be cut into pieces as described in the RossieCrafts tutorial.

Segments making their way to the design wall.

Eva Marie requested one frame shape (at least) to be included. The directions for the frame shapes are not in the tutorial, but making them is pretty self explanatory. 
I might play a bit with the arrangement as I think through how it might be balanced with the Kelp blocks other members in the Bee are completing.
I hope to make mine a bit longer than the 65" requested so that Eva Marie has a little wiggle room for shifting up and down and trimming to size.

Till then...