Crevices

The quilt I’m sharing today is very different from Tiny Bubbles, in style, technique and process. I’m thrilled to announce that it is also headed to QuiltCon in Phoenix next month.

Crevices (40″ x 45.5″) machine pieced, hand quilted

Crevices began in a virtual workshop with Maria Shell @talesofastitcher which focused on freehand curve and circle techniques. The class was a sampler, but I was particularly intrigued by a technique Maria calls “braided curves”. I pieced a lot of these rectangular units using a controlled palette and began the task of creating a composition.

After about a month of manipulations on the design wall, I decided to edit out many of the units. As I worked, an image of light streaming into a canyon emerged in my mind.

Representational art is not my style and I struggled with how to create the abstract feeling of sunlight on geological structures without it becoming too literal. The palette also felt constrained, so I began adding in new shades as I pieced in additional curvy lines. This exercised my brain in such a good way!

Thread basting is my preference when hand quilting because I don’t like to snag my thread on pins.

The large, curved spaces invited me to add texture by hand quilting. It was so relaxing to stitch these wavy lines using a variety of perle cotton threads.

Originally, I had planned a faced edge, but in the end I decided to go with a pastel binding. I like the way it frames the piece, bringing the lighter shades from the center of the quilt out to the edges. (In real life, the binding is much straighter than the photo would suggest, I promise!)

And what did I do with all the pieces that were edited out of this composition? I created another quilt.

Placing the strips in a horizontal orientation, images of mountains, streams and valleys emerged. For this piece, I challenged myself to work quickly and intuitively, restricting myself to using the leftovers from Crevices. Meander is the result.

Meander (38″ x 36.5″) machine pieced, machine and hand quilted

Improving my free motion quilting skills is an ongoing goal of mine. I explored some organic filler designs and used many motifs from Christina Cameli‘s book, Step-by-Step Texture Quilting. Lots of thread changes and adjusting the motifs to fit the shapes took all of my concentration. About half way through, it was beginning to feel flat and stiff from all the dense quilting. Adding in sections of hand stitches softened the texture.

And what did I do with the leftovers? I still had lots of odd bits that I was determined not to add to the scrap bins, so potholders to the rescue! I donated these to the Friends of the International Quilt Museum to sell in the gift shop as a fundraiser.

Whenever I take a technique workshop, I feel that it shakes things up in my studio. Since I rarely use strip piecing techniques, creating these large units initially felt very quick and satisfying. However, I found it challenging to shape them into compositions. Every quilt teaches me something new!

6 thoughts on “Crevices”

  1. So interesting and beautiful. I love your discussion as to how you arrived at your various finishes. As always, I remain in awe that you are able to accomplish so much hand quilting! You continue to be an inspiration (in spite of the fact that you make me feel so inadequate by comparison-lol!)

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  2. I can definitely see the inspiration of light streaming into a canyon in Crevices. I think adding a bit more variation into your palette was exactly what it needed. And using up all the bits and bobs (which can be not so little) when working improvisationally is no small feat. I’m glad you felt creatively stretched in a good way from it all!

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  3. oh I love both pieces. I’m not familiar with the ‘braids’ so that was fun to see close up. Plus creating ‘leftover’ quilts is really fun. I want to do more of that! Oh and congrats on your quilt hanging at QuiltCon!!

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