Tag Archives: quilt series

Another In Nancy Series Gets Quilted

So Not Nancy got quilted this month with few headaches. Yay! I dyed the large mottled solid fabrics and pieced the busy squares using some of Nancy Crow’s methods. Nancy just doesn’t use large blocks of solids, ergo the title.

I even drew out a quilting plan. (Imagine a picture of me patting myself on the back.) Well, it wasn’t rocket science, but consisted of following the piecing and keeping the diagonal line pattern straight.

I used a hera marker to draw those long quilting lines in the solid areas. You can see the “line” drawn on the right side, below. I found that worked well with the solid fabric and saved me the fuss of masking tape. I don’t think the line would show well on a busy fabric.

As usual, the FMQ in the two pieced areas didn’t go smoothly, but I expected that. I feel naked doing FMQ on solids; prints hide so much.

The quilting in the solid areas was done with a walking foot. The larger spaces between lines are 3/4 inch wide, while the smaller ones are 3/8 of an inch.

I used a heavily discounted dark blue Judy Niemeyer fabric for the binding. I don’t think the barbed wire fence in the print appealed to many quilters, but it doesn’t show when it’s 3/8 inch wide. While I’m fond of facings, I decided I wanted the STOP of a contrasting binding on this one.

Only one more to quilt in this series. Now if I only knew how I should quilt it.

Technical details: 34 x 36 inches; Quilters Dream cotton batting, Aurifil thread.


Filed under Completed Projects, Modern Quilting

My Nancy Series

I just can’t seem to get serious about quilt series. Usually I lose steam about the third or fourth iteration, and my current series is no exception.

As is often the case, my Nancy series began by accident. I attended a presentation on Nancy Crow’s way to create quilts, and we attendees played around with slicing and dicing solids using her methods. I sewed together most of the solids scraps I owned to create several starts of what I’ll call pieced cloth.

The first completed top was “Not Quite Nancy,” in which I included prints and circles. Many of you commented on this one while it was in process, and it is the better for those comments. The tag at the top is the dimensions.

Next, I finished off a smaller piece I named “Nearly Nancy” as it was made totally with solids. Oops, there’s one bit of almost solid fabric. I think the binding color sets off the other colors nicely. It’s actually quilted.

Then, I went Anni Albers with “Nod To Nancy,” which is more regularly pieced, though still asymmetrical. It’s quilted but the edges need to be finished. The waviness is in my piecing, not your screen.

Finally I devised “So Not Nancy,” which features two densely pieced blocks surrounded by shades of red and a bit of blue fabric I dyed. The large unpieced blocks run counter to the Crow method of dense piecing.

Right now I have just a few pieced fabric starts left. They’re in my parts department so they may show up in future work. Of course, I have yet to quilt two of the above tops, so it’s not like I have nothing to do. I expect you noticed I quilted the smaller ones first.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, In Process

A Farewell To Autumn

After I made leaves out of organza I wanted to use them in the pieces I devised for my online Mixing Up Media course. This is how series come about.

Two pieces are done – the painted over tissue paper one I’ve shown before

MackJoannaAllFallDownFinaland Ruined Choir Lofts, my attempt to work with painted interfacing, tissue paper, organza, and mylar. The mylar wasn’t part of the course, but I had some and wanted to try distressing it with heat. I also used it to make more leaves.

MackJoannaChoirLofts2I found out that mylar doesn’t take paint well and, like carmelizing sugar, the line between satisfyingly browned and burned is very fine. I spent more time than I should have trying to tone down the shine.

The bottom layer is painted tissue fused to muslin and backing fabric. It’s coated with matte gel medium. The resulting “fabric” is actually fairly tough and sews fine. You just can’t rip out stitching without the needle holes showing.

The top layer is painted and stamped interfacing under silk organza colored with bleeding tissue paper. They’re free motion quilted to craft felt. I sewed that layer to the bottom and then added branches and leaves. The outer edges are colored with a brown marker and couched with a variegated thin yarn.

The instructor suggested I add more partial leaves coming in from the edges in different colors, like aqua; and a thicker yarn around the edges.  She said what I’ve done is a bit safe and encouraged me to get edgier. We’ll see how I feel after a few months have passed.

I know that two items do not make a series, so I have other nascent pieces based on stencils of bare trees. For now, I’ve tucked them away to make room for my winter landscape. More on that in the future, sometime after December 21.




Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Techniques

One Quilt Leads To Another

My quilting bucket list has long included doing a quilt series. I’d occasionally consider some likely subjects for a series, but never settled on anything.  Then, what I view as a series just happened.

Ever since I was lucky enough to win a stuffed envelope of Vicki Welsh’s muslin strips from her dyeing business I’ve been using them up.  I made a baby quilt for my great niece Olivia with some bright paired rectangles and used black and gray strips in my Moon Rising top. (It awaits quilting.)

PaintbrushCasting about for an easy project (it’s my way of taking a breather from more detailed work) I remembered I had a bunch of leftover rectangles. I sewed some together with the idea of making a four patch design, and even tried a disappearing four patch, but found I needed more color contrast for that to work.  The rectangles had too much white space to clearly delineate a pattern.

Somewhat dismayed that my easy project wasn’t so easy, I started grouping my patches by color affinity.  And then the idea for a series began.

I realized that I had four palettes, each roughly corresponding to a season of the year.  I sewed the four patches together in long, thin strips and bordered the strips with narrow coordinating borders.  Then I added much wider borders to emphasize the appropriate season.





As you can see, there’s no fancy piecing going on.  I wanted to feature the wonderful color variations in the fabrics. Each panel is about 20 by 30 inches. I plan to use an overall leaf quilting design and I may face, rather than bind, the edges.

I thought these could be used on a table in the corresponding season or hung individually or all together. At one point I tried to combine the panels into a single top, but decided each season needed its own space. To every season there is a time…


Filed under In Process

Quilt Sketches

I seem to turn out a lot more quilts than I used to but I think it’s because at least half of what I make are sketches rather than full blown “important” works.  I like working small scale with very limited expectations beyond slap the fabrics together and see what develops. I sometimes set limitations to work within, such as my fabric has to come from my “to be filed” box, or I can use only light colored fabric.

I do try to at least quilt and finish the edges of these works.  I can always use them as quick gifts or pads on a table.

pale_assemblageThe above sketch resulted from the light fabrics only limitation.

Chutes_and_LaddersThis piece came from my box of strips no larger than 2.5 inches by 8 inches. I combined them with brushstroke patterned fabrics.

dark_circle_on_backingThe wonky circles are a technique from Jane LaFazio combined with leftover pre-fused scraps and ribbon remnants.

Sky_and_WaterSky and Water was a practice free motion quilting piece that I turned into a pillowcase.

It seems I’m not the only one who is into quilt sketches.  Gwen Marston chronicled her sketch series in 37 Sketches (published in 2011).  No, I’m not comparing my work to hers. I gather from the one negative review (and the only review) on Amazon and the book’s limited availability that this isn’t her most widely recognized book. You can read more about it at See How We Sew.  Here’s a link to how to order a copy from Gwen.  I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy as no library in the state of Ohio owns it and I don’t know if I want to spend $30 for a 96 page book, however lovely.

While Gwen made small (about 9 by 10 or 11 inch) pieces she completed in a day, I usually spend a few days on each sketch. Also, my pieces tend to be larger, about 13 by 18 or 19 inches, but no larger than 24 by 24 inches. The first rush of design and piecing takes me about a day, and fine tuning and finishing go on for a few more days.  Sometimes this happens in one fell swoop, but I’m more likely to let my first drafts age a few days before revisiting them. A few have been aging in a drawer for years.

Of course, sometimes I never finish the piece as I decide it’s fatally flawed.  Sometimes I reach that conclusion after finishing it. And sometimes I set it aside to use in a larger future piece.

Why do I like doing this?  It’s therapy for me to sew bits of fabric together just to see how they look.  I feel freer to slash through a piece that’s not working and try something else if it’s not a “good” piece.  I get bored easily so a small piece can be finished faster, in theory.  I can work on two or three sketches at the same time.  And they make a nice break when (not if, please note) I get stuck on a larger piece.


Filed under Commentary, In Process, Inspiration, Project Ideas