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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Dabbling

Stop the press!  There is some crazy-shocking news afoot this morning.  I have actually made a quilt that I did NOT stipple.  That hasn't happened in like...forever.  Well, it hasn't happened since I got hooked on free motion quilting anyway.  And maybe even more surprising (for me), is that I loved the process just as much!


This quilt has been an adventure in discomfort for me.  Everything from the minimal design to the swirly quilting was a creative stretch, and I'm pretty pleased with the result.  Because of this, I decided to name this quilt Dabbling.  

The rainbow of solids just glow against that gray background.  Amazingly, when I edited these photos, I did not saturate the colors in these photographs at all.  The hues are just this vibrant.  I also love how the gray shot cotton adds some dimension to the quilt, but is still solid.  This is a Cloud 9 fabric from their Cirrus line called Shadow.  It is woven with two shades of gray, so the "shimmery" quality that shot cotton usually gives is very subtle.  It is a really soft fabric, and I found it easy to work with, though it does ravel a little more than others.


I did a good bit of sketching and practice quilting on those swirls before finally getting up enough nerve to put them on the quilt, but no matter how much you practice, creating the design on a quilt always feels a little different because of the weight involved.  Once I put that quilt under the needle, I had to fight my stippling autopilot the entire time.  Muscle memory really is an amazing thing.  When I started, I knew that there was NO way that I would be able to keep the swirls the same size throughout the quilt, so I purposely varied the sizes from the get-go.  These swirls are far from perfect, but overall, I'm happy with them for a first attempt.  (ps- that is not a pucker on the gray fabric in the upper right;  it is a wrinkle that will wash right out;  the sunshine is just throwing it into great relief).  

So, my reasoning for branching out from a simple stipple is because, with all of that negative space,  I wanted to call a little more attention to the quilting.  Though I always love the texture and dimension that quilting creates, in general, I tend to focus more on color, fabric, and the pattern design.  That being said, this is definitely not the last time that swirls will be appearing on one of my quilts.


You wouldn't know this from looking at my quilts, but I kind of have a thing for birds.  I have a couple of pieces of art in my home that have songbirds in them, and when I decorate my Christmas trees, I clip blown-glass birds with feather tails all over them.  Anything can be overdone, so although I am drawn to things with birds on them, my home does not have birds everywhere.  I just think they look delicate and pretty.

When I was searching for a backing fabric, I knew I wanted a fantastically busy print with a rainbow of colors, since the front was so minimal.  I found this Michael Miller print and fell in love.  The folk drawn birds are the perfect foil to the front of the quilt, and the dark navy background balances the expanse of lighter gray perfectly.  I don't usually gravitate toward fabrics with animals in them (not even Cotton and Steel or Tula Pink), but I cannot tell you how much I love this print.

I simply can't make a backing without piecing a little bit, so I added a wide stripe of the turquoise solid.  Also, since this fabric is directional, the solid stripe also allowed me to avoid having any seams in the birds.  Each bird is about 3-4 inches tall.  Aren't they just SO much fun?


I chose to put a rainbow binding on this quilt, using each of the solids, and it really pops against both the front and back of the quilt.  Two binding joins fell in the corners though.  grrr....

In case you missed my last post, this quilt is made using my Girl's Best Friend pattern, but I just made ten blocks.  Since a few have asked, I won't be writing a separate pattern for this minimal layout, so if you want the specific details on modifying the pattern, just shoot me an email, and I'm happy to help!  This quilt is 60" square.  


So here's the honest to goodness truth.  Do I love this quilt as much as other quilts that are much more "me," like Stems and Stones, or  Seeing Double?  Nope, but I've learned that's okay.  I had fun pushing the boundaries of my creativity on this quilt, and doing that has inspired me to dabble in a little design discomfort in the future (like maybe other FMQ designs- gasp!).  After all, the process and journey are just as valuable as the end product.


24 comments:

  1. Great job breaking out of the box! I seriously love your swirls. It's a great FMQ motif.

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  2. Love so much about this quilt - the bold use of colour, the geometric lines, the use of solids. #quiltgoals

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  3. Bravo for trying something new, it can definitely be challenging. Your end results are lovely.

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  4. I absolutely love it! I have some Gelato Ombre fabric that I was going to pair with white, but now I'm thinking gray...

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  5. Your swirls look great! And you can call yourself braver than me because I'm too nervous to even stipple!!

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  6. Yeah for the swirls!! It looks fantastic Kelly!

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  7. Love your swirls, I'm too nervous to do anything but straight lines. Both sides are fantastic!

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  8. The swirls look terrific. Great exercise in getting 'out of the box'.

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  9. Your swirls look great. This is a great quilt. Kudos.

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  10. Love it all! Love the colors, love the solids, love the grey background, LOVE the quilting, LOVE the backing, LOVE the binding, love love love!!! The last quilt I bound ended up with a join at the corner, which (as you know) is a huge PITA, but on your quilt it looks awesome to have that color change at the corner! (Now I lay my binding out beforehand to make sure the joins aren't in the corners.)

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  11. This quilt has a lot of WOW factor! The front the colors just pop, and then the backing fabric and colorful binding, wowza! Great job. LOVE THIS.

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  12. I think this quilt is amazing and I am in love with those birds! Great job stepping outside of your comfort zone!

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  13. It is fun to change direction now and then, to do something different. I think it keeps the creativity flowing. Wonderful work.

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  14. I've been afraid to venture into swirls and stop stippling. Yours are great! We are so critical of ourselves and our quilting! Mine are always perfectly imperfect. :D That being said, I love your quilt!

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  15. Kelly it turned out wonderful. I am so glad you felt comfortable enough to try something new to you-it's good to stretch ourselves. I think it keeps us from getting bored!! I just signed up for Christina Cameli's new Wild Quilting class and it will push me for sure!! Now to find the time to try it out!

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  16. Kelly, I love the effects of you swirling outside your box! The variety of swirl sizes helps give the quilt more movement, vs. the static nature of same-size that often comes from computer-guided quilting. I wish for you the courage to keep going with FMQ. As your skills improve, and given your talent and drive they surely will, I have no doubt you will find a new joys in the quilt-making process as fabric choice, piecing design, and FMQ combine to lift your art and craft to new heights. You are 2/3 of the way there with great designs and beautiful fabrics. The longer I quilt the more I am convinced that I was fortunate that my very first quilt class was FMQ, not piecing, because I've never feared FMQ. I have a long way to go to be satisfied with my results but with rare exception the quilting and the fabric selection are my 2 most favorite aspects of quilt-making. With each quilt my goal is for the quilting to enhance the piecing design, so I rarely do an all-over FMQ. I also enjoy using my built-in stitches along with FMQ and occasional stencils for quilting. Open spaces, such as the beautiful grey on your latest quilt, are great areas to tell more of the story of your quilt. Good luck, Kelly! I am interested to see what is next for you!

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  17. I have so many thoughts on this post, Kelly. First off, the miracle isn't that you departed from your stippling ways but that you tried something new despite your injury! Good grief -- I hope your poor finger is feeling better!

    I adore many things about this project -- its minimalist take on your pattern, its amazing and colorful birdie backing, its rainbow palette paired with all that gray. I, too, cannot resist but piece my backings ... even when it's not necessary size-wise. : )

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  18. Way to go on pushing out of your comfort zone! I think your swirls look wonderful!

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  19. I really love this quilt. Your swirly quilting is perfect and the backing and binding were meant for this quilt. Absolutely a winner.

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  20. I love this quilt so very much! A fantastic finish for sure :)

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  21. Kudos for stretching- and the binding adds an extra touch of wonderful.

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  22. Great job with the quilting!! But the top is amazing!! I love it.

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  23. The quilt and quilting are fantastic!

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