Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tranquil - A Finish!

aka My Secret Purple
Improv-ish 
Guild Challenge Quilt
(with butterfly)

Well, it was down to the wire, but I finished it on time!

Tranquil (42" x 49", 107 x 125 cm)
Back in January I showed you the crayon I got -- violet -- for my Guild's crayon challenge. The idea of the challenge was to use a range of values in the colour of your crayon, and for the crayon to be the predominant colour in the project. There was no limit on what kind of project you could make. My intention from the start was to make something that I like, even if it turned out not to be my favourite colour. I don't really mind purple, but I hardly ever buy it, so I went online for these purple batiks.

I searched through my photos for inspiration, and decided on this one of our lilac:


Sujata Shah's book Cultural Fusion Quilts arrived at around the same time. Her leaf-shaped blocks reminded me of the big leaf in this photo, so I used her pattern "Winter," in my colour scheme.

I followed the pattern almost exactly, and it went quickly. Sujata's technique is a fun, easy-going way to start curved piecing. It was after I made these blocks that I was inspired to make the curvy churn dash blocks I showed in February.

Sujata quilted her quilt with straight lines about 1" (2.5 cm) apart. For several years now I've been admiring all the closely straight-line quilted modern quilts out there, and I decided this would be a good time to try it. I bought 6 different variegated 28 wt Aurifil threads (alas no photo). My plan was to blend together the solids and batiks by artistically shading the different threads down through the piece.

Turquoise, purple and a little yellow at the top...


...and some greens and forest-y shades at the bottom:


The line spacing ranges from 1/8" to 3/8", and I used a long stitch (7 per inch) to keep the thread on top of the quilt as much as possible. The corrugated texture is wonderful, and in places the light weight batiks look smocked. I did plan to do it at home with my walking foot, but when time was getting shorter I went back to the long arm rental place. This 28 wt Auriful thread is not ideal for a long arm -- it broke three times and left a ton of lint behind. But, three hours rental is better than three weeks slog at home!

The most time consuming and picky thing was the binding. With all those straight quilting lines, the binding has to be straight too! I also used three fabrics to shade the binding light to dark, same as the quilt.

For the back, I was finally able to use this purple birdcage fabric that Connecting Threads sent me by mistake one time:


I thought I would never use it, but it is perfect for this! And now that it is in context, I really like it too.

This is my fifth finished quilt, and it feels like a good step forward. I had a plan, I stuck to the plan, everything I planned turned out as hoped, and I finished on time! So that is very satisfying. :D

And our lilac is in bloom again, which is good timing:


It's getting taller! Last year the butterflies loved it:


This year I haven't seen one butterfly yet, although now that I say that I'll probably see one later today. I think our cold snap in April threw the schedule off a little. Ann and Cathy's Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up spreads awareness of the issues facing butterflies and butterfly habitats, plus it is just fun, so you'll be able to check that out here, tomorrow (I hope!).

Plus, the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters (AHIQ) link up is still on, so today I can do two for one!

Next up, I still have a ton of binding to sew, and then some more finishes to share! Although, I am dying to do some more piecing as well...

22 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful quilt Monica! (The colors remind me of your header photo) The backing fabric is just right. Great job on the quilting too! Congratulations on getting it done on time. I think I am going to have to get Sujata Shah's book.

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  2. How wonderful to get it done as the lilac blooms. The batiks are really well chosen and I love the quilting. Congratulations on sticking to your plan. You're well on a roll.

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    1. Yes, that's a nice full circle moment, isn't it? Thanks, Jillian! There's more binding to sew, but today I've been doing some embroidery for a change. A nice change!

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  3. I was thinking lilacs before you said that was your inspiration. The quilt turned out fantastic and you followed the guidelines of the guild plus made it your own. Using the different colored threads is a great idea and especially using a longer stitch It's a wonderful finish. Congrats.

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  4. Since you mentioned this challenge back in January, I have been looking forward to seeing your creation. Wow! I think you nailed it. The colours, values and distribution are right on. You captured the lilacs and the sky perfectly. Love it.

    (BTW: Also like Sujata Shah's book, which I bought after you first mentioned it in your blog.)

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    1. Thank you! It was fun and compelling to do -- the blocks flew together. I think I've sold several copies of Sujata's book!

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  5. Love this! Great interpretation, and I like the pops of blue sky too!

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  6. Susan this is delightful like you I do not have much purple but that is because there never seems to be much about to buy and dd to the stash! and thank you, you reminded me I had the book by Sujata have to admit it went on the bookcase before I had a good look at it will have a proper browse today and maybe make one of her quilt too. My lilacs are both in flower have a lilac one and white one but it feels more like winter here than summer, have had butterflies when we had a short hot spell but not seen any recently

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  7. I have been looking forward to seeing what you had done with this challenge and this doesn't disappoint. I like the range of shades you chose and the addition of the blue and green fabrics. I often look at the matchstick quilting with admiration and yours looks great. Congratulations on sticking with your plan and thanks for linking up with AHIQ.

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  8. Oh Oh Oh! I have that quilt started, in browns and beiges! I do love yours in those luscious violets paired with greens. And the backing is in my stash too......still. So I am glad you had a chance to use it! I may never.

    glen

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  9. Some of my family like purple best, too, and I don't have much. A lovely translation of lilacs, lake and spring into this quilt. Congratulations on a delightful finish. Thanks for linking up with us!

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  10. Well I love purple and turquoise so your beautiful improv quilt ticks all the boxes for me. Congratulations on a wonderful finish!

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  11. Your quilt is super! I love all the purples and the other fabrics complement very well. Great job on your challenge!

    I love Sujata's book. I hope to make more quilts from her book this year. They are fun and easy to do. Great job on your challenge!

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  12. The violets are just lovely, and the beautiful pops of yellow and green show them off really well. It's so nice to get something finished.

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  13. It looks like your blocks jumped right out of your lilac bush! So beautiful and tranquil! That straight line quilting did the trick. Thank you for your lovely note. My daughter is home for few days and I showed her your quilt, we both love it!

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  14. Beautiful quilt and photos. When I think of purple I always think of blue and red playing together, sometimes red gets its way, sometimes blue has its way but the two together are always good.

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    1. Thanks very much, Janie! I was lucky to get the morning sun on both the quilt and the lilac!

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  15. Beautiful finish! I'm not really a purple person either and would probably have cried if I got that crayon, but you've made them looks so good with the greens and blues :)

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    1. LOL, thanks Stephie! You know, I joined the challenge late. Before Christmas I was bravely sewing away on Allietare, 297 HSTs and plenty of time to think, and I asked myself what I would make for every colour. Once I thought of flowers, I realized I could handle every colour and joined in!

      I always say there are no bad colours, just bad combinations. BUT, little did I know that there was a "macaroni and cheese" crayon in the mix! Several of the guild ladies got it, and it truly was horrible. So, I am feeling luckier, I must say. :D

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  16. Monica, you had a plan, stuck to it and WOW! what a wonderful project! I loved your inspiration of your lilac bush and your straight line quilting added the perfect finish! Yes, I imagine sewing the binding on the sides of the quilt was a challenge. Did you try something different? The binding looks beautiful! Kudos!!! --Terry

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    1. Thanks very much, Terry! For the binding, it's more like I should have done something different. I have a slapdash approach to binding, and it would have saved time to be more careful from the start. But, all's well that ends well!

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  17. I love how everything fell into place for you...a challenge color, then your inspiration photo, how you translated the two into such a beautiful quilt. I love how you added the aqua and green. Congrats on a super-duper, scrumpious quilt!!!

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Happy stitching!

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