Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tiny Quilts and Inspiration

August was my "me" month. I didn't have any deadlines or commitments, so I kept sewing plans loose. My thought was to spend some time reading, researching and re-grouping.  I decided to work on two small projects for the American Made Brand Solids Tiny Quilt Challenge.  I really like the concept of the AMB company (read all about their "farm to fabric" process on their website).  Two small (less than 15" sides) and original compositions sounded like a fun exercise.

In order to qualify for the challenge, quilts had to be made of 100% AMB solids. I had some pastel and grey fat quarters purchased at Island Quilter a couple of years ago and two rainbow mini-charm packs (2 1/2" squares) from QuiltCon 2015 at my disposal.

Still working on exploring ideas with my Improv Under the Influence piecing technique, I thought I'd give it a try with the 2 1/2" squares. I didn't have a a concrete idea of what I would do with improv-pieced border units in rainbow colours, until one day inspiration struck in the form of a photo on Instagram. Heather Jones posted a detail shot of a log cabin, showing the horizontal logs separated by white chinking. On the left side of the image, you saw the rounded square ends of the logs forming the adjacent wall.  I grabbed my sketchbook and drew this:

"The Five" sketch by Poppyprint

Looking at those rainbow stripes reminded me of some a quilt block I'd seen on Instagram. It was made by Susanne Woods (craftyeditor) for the #lovewinsquilt project, commemorating the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that effectively legalized same sex marriage.

After having a lot of fun piecing skinny strips with tiny 1/8" seam allowances, I came up with this final composition, which I call The Five, measuring 12 1/2" x 14 1/2". It represents the five Supreme Court Justices in their sombre robes, their weighted decision, and ultimately their landmark ruling for equality. Not everyone is happy about this decision, in fact I lost about 20 followers on IG after posting the story of this quilt. Quilters have been using their art to honour their values and commemorate important milestones in history for over 100 years and I'm excited to make my own tiny contribution to this tradition.

The Five by Poppyprint

The Five by Poppyprint

The Five by Poppyprint

With coordinating Aurifil thread in 30 wt, I quilted straight lines with a 3.5 stitch length, simply following alternate seams in the pieced strips as my guide. 

Somewhere along the way, I got to thinking about rounded squares and sketched a few ideas for achieving the look with a log cabin construction. It took quite a bit of math! In order to make The Five, I had to drive across the border to buy reds as there weren't any in the mini charm packs I had. With left over hunks of tomato red and fuschia, I made this Long Cabin Study 1 quilt, which is 15" square.

Log Cabin Study 1 by Poppyprint

The binding had to be AMB also, so my options were limited and ultimately I chose this pale mint colour over dark grey. Again, I quilted with coordinating Aurifil 30 wt thread and a long stitch length on my new Juki  TL2010-Q (using the regular sewing foot with minimal pressure, since the walking foot that came with my machine was faulty).

Log Cabin Study 1 by Poppyprint

Log Cabin Study 1 by Poppyprint

You can see that I carried the thread right through to the edges of the quilt over the alternate coloured fabric.

This quilt wasn't selected, either. I've since made another one in a slightly larger size where the proportions work even better for the secondary pattern of the rounded square. I'll share that with you next and I think I'll create a pattern for a bed-sized version because I just love the bold colour study and resulting graphic design. I find it reminiscent of those illusion text fonts with 'unfinished' letters that your eye automatically completes so that you can read the words, like this one by German designer Alexander Tibus where letters are defined by their shadows.

I've just returned from a wonderful long weekend of teaching in Juneau, Alaska and have lots to catch up. I'll work on my Sweden photos this week and share those with you soon!


Unknown said...

log cabin is my favorite. Thanks for the inspiration gets me thinking. Maybe even doing. Deb S.

Stina... said...

Love both of these... New inspiration is the best!! And to be able to get from paper to fabric...:0)

SarahZ said...

Super fun to see you "in play" :) Both designs are really striking. Your quilting is immaculate!

floribunda said...

I love both quilts -- especially the first one. My tiny quilt wasn't selected either, but it was nowhere near as great as yours are! Wonder who's doing the judging?

Dianne said...

I love both of these quilts as you know but the graphic nature of the second one just grabs me where it feels good!
I hadn't noticed before how the red thread carries out into the white and vice versus. That and the illusion of little hearts in each corner gives this quilt so much interest and sparkle.
Nicely done Krista

Svetlana said...

Beautiful quilts. I really love that log cabin one, and the quilting you did, so so very perfect !!!

Debbie said...

These are both lovely and I appreciate the thoughtfulness behind them.

Rike Busch said...

They look fantastic and I love the rainbow colored one.
Greetings, Rike

Sandi said...

Thanks for sharing your up close and personal pictures of your quilting. They are both great, their loss for not including your pieces in their selection.

greeneggs said...

Gee you are talented. I love both of these quilts. Thanks for sharing process, I find it so interesting.

LethargicLass said...

I really love your quilts, but especially the first one... just gorgeous!

Dawn said...

Krista, the "Five" is just terrific! It's a great depiction. You should be proud to make your statement regarding this landmark decision. I am surprised no one mentioned the reason you made the quilts. I am sorry to hear that you had followers who were so close minded that they no longer follow you. Well, maybe for the best if they don't understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion and after all is said and done you are still an extraordinary designer/quilter and that is what your blog is about.....quilting.
I have always been in love with log cabin quilts and yours are stunning. Log cabins have a ton of versatility and are wonderful in any one of a hundred ways they can be layed out. It was rare in years past to see them in solids but personally I prefer the solid log cabins because of the stark contrast that results so it please me to see this coming into practice more often. So, kudos to you and your designs. Great job!!

Amy Friend said...

Those are both great entries! Love them!

Marla said...

I love both of these small quilts! Thanks for sharing your inspiration and process, as it brings so much meaning to your work. I really like the look of your quilting with the 30 wt thread, too!

Catherine1216 said...

Your work is so beautiful. The detail and colors are perfect.