Random is defined as “made or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern”. As much as I attempt randomization in some of my quilts, I struggle with letting them be completely random.
I had three objectives in making Ziggy: I had been wanting to do a string quilt to clear-up space in my reds and browns scraps bins; I wanted to experiment with foundation piecing; and I wanted to try (once again) to make a randomly pieced quilt. While the colorway was not completely random (strike 1), the pieces were different widths, ranging anywhere from 1″ to 3″. I began by tossing all the scraps next to the sewing machine, figuring I would just pick-up a scrap from the pile without any forethought, sew it to the block, and continue in this manner. I had gotten about eight blocks completed and on the design wall when I decided that ‘random’ wasn’t working for me. There was way too much color chaos!
I liked how the diagonal seams were working for a chevron pattern, but the randomness in the fabric placement was not supporting the chevron look. I then separated the fabrics I had tossed next to the sewing machine into their color values (strike 2), and was more attentive to the placement on each block (strike 3 and out). This was no longer going to be a random design. While I only accomplished two of my three objectives, in the end, I am happy with the final design. And ultimately, shouldn’t that be the biggest objective of anything we create?
What I learned along the way
- Foundation piecing – this was my first attempt at foundation piecing. I used dryer sheets, which worked really well (make sure to use either previously used dryer sheets, or wash new ones before using to remove the chemicals).
- Taking a black and white photo helps to visualize color saturation distribution. I got this tip from someone in Jacquelynne Steves Facebook group and it worked great! Once I had moved past this being a ‘random’ design, I really wanted to ensure the zig zags of the chevrons translated into the final design, and using the black and white photo technique helped in showing me where I needed to make adjustments to fabric placement.
- I learned a new word – stochastic. In my trying to understand why I have such a difficult time doing ‘random’ quilts, I came across Kristin Brenneman’s work on Chance in Art, where she defines stochastic as “a sequence which combines random components with a selective process so that only certain outcomes of the random are allowed to endure”. So while it is not a completely random quilt, I believe I can say with a fair amount of certainty that this is a stochastic quilt 🙂
This will be donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care.
I’ve been making quilts for years, but mostly toppers that I bind and then tie to fleece backing. I haven’t done much in the way of machine or hand quilting, and in the last year have begun experimenting with machine quilting. I began cautiously, first on two table runners for last year’s Christmas and then in my Hoplon quilt project from earlier this year. I also have a QAYG project in the works. Overall, I’m enjoying the learning process.
My Palahdee quilt is a Labyrinth Quilt Block which I thought would work well as a baby quilt. Mypatchworld offers a nice tutorial on this block pattern. I don’t often make baby quilts, but felt it would be a good size to further practice my machine quilting. I tried out three different quilting designs: around the center star and the flower border I stitched in the ditch and then did a 1/4″ stitch away from the ditch; I did straight lines on the blue, using 1″ blue painters tape as my ruler; and on the elephants, I made my own freehand template that sort of looks like an elephant’s trunk.
The elephant fabric was the main star for this quilt, which was also the inspiration for the name. The blue fabric was from a duvet cover someone had given me many years ago and the small flower fabric was something I bought several years ago from the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, a great place to visit if you’re in that area.
This will be donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care.
Do you have a fabric in your stash that sits there day-in and day-out, month-after-month, year-after-year, taunting you to make something of it? Challenging you to do something to let it be the shining star it is? But, in your eyes, it lacks. It won’t play well with others. It doesn’t have a pretty motif, it isn’t modern, and its colors are juxtaposed in an odd way.
The plaid binding fabric in my Super Nova quanket was this fabric. It is one I probably would not have picked out in the store. I’m not sure if you can zoom in enough to see it clearly, so I’ll try my best to describe it. It is a very small plaid print that seems to want to be a Christmas fabric, but the red is closer to magenta and the green is so dark that from afar, it is difficult to discern as green at all. I had acquired it from a donation several years ago, and it has sat in my stash patiently waiting its turn to be used. Well, its day has come! It, along with several other homespun plaids, and magenta and dark green scraps have been used in this Bursting Star quilt. If you are interested in this pattern, you can download it for free from Bluprint here. *I revised the pattern slightly, around the central star.
This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in August 2019.
The star of this quanket is the zebra fabric blocks which are alternated with a medley of grey blocks. The zebra fabric represents zebras not only as black and white – or white and black 😉 – but also as rainbow striped.
When my kids were little, they enjoyed the poems of Shel Silverstein, and this particular poem is representative of many of the thoughts I had while creating this quilt, and thinking about those rainbow zebras. The message that I took from the poem and the rainbow zebras is that we are all different, and that’s okay! We should respect each person’s choices and individuality, and not question what makes them tick. We shouldn’t worry about what others choose to do with their lives. The only thing that matters, is what we do with ours, and to make it as dazzling as we possibly can!
~ by Shel Silverstein
I asked the zebra
Are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra
This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in August, 2019.
Back in January I tackled my blue scraps bin and created the Bargello twist and turn quilt I named 3273 K. Of the 500 scrappy blue rectangles I cut for that project, I still had about 100 left. So instead of trying to cram them back into my scraps bin, I pulled out all my skinny blue and brown string scraps and made this! No pattern, just winging it 😉
There are so many different fabrics in this quanket, I wouldn’t know where to start to list which ones are “pieces of the past” – heck, I guess they’re all technically “pieces of the past” since they’re all from past projects! I plan to link this to the weekly linky party over at Quilting is more fun than Housework. Pop over to see all the other great scappy projects others have been working on.
This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services in March 2019, for a foster child.
What do you do when the scraps get out of control? Make a quilt of course! In the process of putting away my latest project’s scraps, I found I could no longer squeeze scraps into my blues bin. It was like packing a really full suitcase, but even if I had sat on it, I was just not going to be able to cram even one more teeny weeny scrap in it.
So I dumped the scraps onto my cutting table and started by cutting 2.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles from every piece of fabric that was big enough, ending up with close to 500 rectangles. My original plan was to just join them randomly: since there were so many different fabrics, this would work well. As I began organizing and grouping them by their color values, the idea of doing this scrappy quilt as a twist and turn Bargello came to me – an idea that had been tickling at the back of my brain for awhile.
A couple years ago, I had made my first Bargello quilt based off a pattern I had from a 1993 issue of a Quilters Newsletter magazine. During the process of making it, I Google searched Bargello quilts and was awed by the twist and turn Bargello quilt designs. At that time, I was ready to move onto something different, but the idea of doing a twist and turn Bargello quilt at some future time seemed appealing.
I sometimes like to use obscure names for my quilts: sometimes they are something personally meaningful to me, but sometimes, I just like quirky. I typically don’t divulge the deeper meaning, but I think even a Google search on this one would be challenging to find what 3273 K is. This is 3273 Kelvin, the temperature at which a flame burns blue, creating a pinpoint blue flame (also one of my favorite David Grey songs).
This was donated in March 2019 to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child.
Donation block for Go Teal it on the Mountain
Back in September, Kate over at TallTalesfromChiconia was looking for contributors to her upcoming Ovarian Cancer Australia auction quilt. While I have not participated in a single-block donation project before, the timing of her request came at a significant time for me: a close family member had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I wanted to participate as a tribute to her and her battle.
Kate’s plan was that every block feature some sort of mountain idea, and that the color palette be the Ovarian Cancer colors of teal and cream. As an avid backpacker, I have hiked many miles, mostly in California’s Sierra Nevada. The image of mountains in either the early morning or late evening is breath-taking. I love how the foreground hills have deeper color and the farther, distant mountains are taller, more rugged and their color is more muted, almost blending away into the sky. This is what I wanted my block (shown above) to mimic: how a mountain range looks in the fading light of day. As with all my quilt projects, I used fabric that was a piece from the past. In this block, the fabric used at the bottom was from my Granny. To help achieve differentiation between these two mountains, I used the front side of the fabric for the mountain on the left, and the back of the same fabric for the one to the right.
Kate received blocks from all over the world, and she then did the final layout, joining and quilting to achieve an amazingly beautiful quilt! I hope you take a moment to check out the finished quilt on her blog (click here). My block is the second block in the second row.