Favorite Quilt

QuiltFest on Instagram asked for my favorite finish. That is an easy one for me because this quilt is the first one I ever made that I really love. I like most of my quilts but I usually see something I could have made better. Not with this one. It’s a Mondrian inspired quilt I designed myself – a gift for my nephew who’s an artist himself and enjoys and values quilts.

The big and medium blocks are log cabin blocks with different fabrics but in the same hue. Its machine sewn and machine quilted. Made in 2020.

 

 

Tutorial: Invisible Binding

When I was about to finish the Log Cabin Wedding Quilt I realized that the best binding would be no (seen) binding at all. So I attached an invisible binding – invisible referring to the top of the quilt. I did not sew the edges of the top and the backing together with an invisible stitch but made an easy binding which looks really nice at the back of the quilt. Here is how I did it:

Cut 4 strips for the binding, each one as long as the side of the quilt minus 2 inches (5 cm) and 3 inches (7 cm) wide. If your fabric is not long enough you have to join several strips to get the right length – in this case iron the seam allowances open so you don’t have to sew through to many layers of fabric.
Cut 4 squares 6 x 6 inches.

Fold the strips in half, left sides together, right sides out. Iron. Fold the squares in half along one diagonale and iron.

On the top of the quilt pin a triangle in the corner. (I basted the edges of the quilt because it was such a huge beast.)

Pin a binding strip along the side of your quilttop but start approximately 1 inch from the corner. The open side of the strip lies exactely at the edge of the top. The strip ends 1 inch from the next corner. Pin all sides and corners this way. The strips are always on top of the triangle.

Sew around the quilt. Don’t sew into the seam allowances at the corner. Sew up to a quarter inch, take 3 backstitches, take 3 stitches forward, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric 90 degrees, lower the presser foot, take 3 stitches, take 3 backstitches and start sewing the next side. Take some backstitches at the beginning and the end of the seam to secure the thread.

Cut backing and batting to the size of the top. Cut the corners to reduce bulk. You can even cut the batting down to the seam to reduce bulk but I found that it made a nice “filled” edge when leaving the seam allowance of the batting.

Now turn the whole binding strip to the backside of the quilt. The seam should be exactely on the edge. Pin the strips to the back. When turning the corners be careful to get a nice 90 degree corner – use a thick knitting needle or a pencil to push the corner out.
Hand sew the binding strip to the back of the quilt. The color of the thread should match the color of the strip not of the backing.

Finished.

This is how the binding looks from the front …

… from the side …

… and this is the back of the quilt. I really like the way the backside gets a “frame”.

I hope you found this way of attaching a binding interesting. And maybe you can even use it on one of your next quilts.

By the way – this kind of binding is also called “facing a quilt” and is often used when finishing art quilts.

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

Book of the Month: Artful Improv by Cindy Grisdela

Since I have been quilting for more than 35 years I seldom buy quilting books anymore. Most of them are no longer interesting to me – been there, done that. But browsing Amazon I discovered “Artful Improv” by Cindy Grisdela. I follow her on Instagram and love the quilts she makes and I liked the cover – all these bright and colorful blocks! I ordered the book and I can say it is one of my best purchases of the last year.

The book is a gentle guide to improvisational quilting. By gentle I mean that you start with blocks that still resemble traditional quilting – log cabin blocks, drunkard’s path and even houses. But when you insert angled strips, curved stripes and/or a lot of negative space you suddenly have a beautiful modern quilt.

The book is a treasure chest filled with an abundance of inspiration but also with very clear tips how to cut, sew, quilt and finish a quilt. What I like best are the numerous photos of quilts that show how much you can achieve with fabric and quilting lines.

This book opened up a new way of quilting that I thoroughly enjoy! (You can see my first improv quilt here.)

artful IMPROV
by Cindy Grisdela
C&T Publishing, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-61745-261-1

 

It’s Spring!

Finally! Today at 10:37 am spring arrived – even for the astronomers. For meteorologists and me spring starts with March 1st.

I decided that this will be the year when I make a quilt for every season. All will be approximately the same size and will be hung at the same place. This is a plan that I had for some years now but I never did it. But this year it will work out. Because of a book I recently bought: “Artful Improv” by Cindy Grisdela. I will tell you all about this book next Tuesday – today I will only say that this is the book I was waiting for. Colorful, graphical quilts with a lot of space for quilting, one more beautiful than the other.

I immediately started my first improvisational quilt with a simple improv log cabin block in the colors of the first flowers of the year (the yellow daffodils, the purple crocuses, the red tulips) mixed with some blue for the sky and some green for the fresh grass. I then surrounded the block with spring green fabric, quilted some wavy lines because spring is rather windy where I live and voilà my spring quilt is finished.

Spring quilt

 

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

A Quilt of Significance

Once upon a time …. or to be more precise in 2017 the “Through our Hands” textile art group had a great idea: The Portrait Shuffle.

One could sign up for a kit including a canvas, create a portrait of any kind (person, animal, flower, …) in any way (draw, paint, collage, patchwork, photograph, …) and return it to the organizers. All the portraits were exhibited at the prestigious Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England in August and they all were all shown on a blog created for this special event. After the show, the portraits were shuffled and randomly sent back to the participants meaning you got a portrait back, not your own but somebody else’s. So, you got back an original work of art by an artist from somewhere in the world. You could be the lucky receiver of a portrait/quilt by Alicia Merrett, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Jette Clover, Linda Barlow, Sandra Meech or any other celebrity of the quilting world. An exciting idea and I wanted to be a part of it.

I was thinking about my portrait for a long time. It should be a kind of quilt not a drawing and it should be in the bright colors that I love so much. I was thinking about a Picasso-like face or a Venetian mask – but no idea was really that appealing. And then I looked down where my dog Felix was happily snoring away under my desk. How about a portrait of Felix? In bright colors?

I looked through my photos of Felix and found a suitable one.

I traced the outline and divided the forms, the lines mimicking the fall of his fur. I fused colorful fabric to the background trying to leave very small gaps between the fabrics. In these gaps I hand-embroidered black lines. (From pre-school on, this was always my favorite way of coloring – black outlines filled with the brightest colors.) I glued batting to the canvas to get the quilty feeling and mounted the portrait. It looked fabulous and exactly like Felix.

And then it happened.

Just for the records: I am not a sentimental or romantic person. I don’t collect things from my childhood, not even things from my daughter’s early years. I have no problem when my husband forgets our wedding anniversary or if somebody doesn’t call me for my birthday. When my grandmother died, I didn’t keep anything from her stuff as a memento and when my father died, I only took over his BMW because it’s a really nice car and I’m an only child and my mother couldn’t use it.
The same goes for my quilts. If I make a quilt for someone, I don’t care what they use it for. Fine if they wrap the baby in it (as intended), equally fine if the dog sleeps on it. Really! I couldn’t understand my friend who was heart-broken when a quilt she gave to a friend was nailed to the wall (with really large nails, producing holes the size of a penny).

And then that all changed.

I was not able to put the portrait in an envelope and send it to England. It was impossible for me to send my own dog away. What if the portrait would have gone to someone who doesn’t like dogs, to someone who would throw it away? For the first time in 30 years of quilting I understood the meaning of “I put all my heart and soul into it”.

For several days I tried to convince myself to send the quilt but I couldn’t bring me to do it. As much as I would have liked to own a quilt by Alicia Merrett or Annabel Rainbow, Felix stayed at home. I really would have loved to be part of that exhibition – next time I will make a portrait of an unknown horse.