Showing posts with label Sujata Shah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sujata Shah. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2017

Organic Nine Patch

Once again, just one photo today. It's the second block for the two block improv quilt challenge for AHIQ:

This is another adaptation of Sujata Shah's Cultural Fusion techniques. It's the same process as her Crossroads block, adapted to a nine patch.

When I started making them, I thought that I would be able to adjust the process and end up with just two colours in each block. But that was wrong! When you make them four at a time, you always get a different colour in the centre.

Somehow, three colours in the block was less minimal than my original plan. Should I backtrack or keep going? In improv theatre you always say "yes, and..." So, I decided to just keep moving forward.

All the blocks are made, but not all trimmed yet. My calendar is pretty full this week, but I seem to have a lot of momentum here, so maybe I'll get the two blocks sewn together fairly soon. It's a simple plan!

Oh, and now that you've seen both the blocks (the slashed blocks are here), I can tell you the name of the quilt -- 9+.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sunny and Derivative

Ok, I think my summer break has been long enough. I am pitying the Modern Quilt Guild, who are in a storm of controversy over a recent post about copyright and derivative work. (Edit Sept 2016: The post has been removed now. You can read their new approach here. There is also a link there to the original post.) I know I had more than one heated discussion about copyright when I did the website for my quilt guild. The fact is that current copyright law is out of date, and quilters are not the only ones who think so. This 2013 statement by the US Register of Copyrights sums up well the frustration people are feeling. This is my favourite line:
...if one needs an army of lawyers to understand the basic precepts of the law, then it is time for a new law.
And if you don't think that the current laws are bad for artists, let me remind you of this injustice...

...which you can read about here, if you don't already know it.

An organization like the MCG (or any guild), has to follow the law whether they like it or not. But, I do think MCG's new, hard line refusal to consider "derivative" works for judging at their shows is out of tune with the current understanding of how artistic production really happens.

We all stand on the shoulders of the ones who came before us. As an example, let's consider my (still unfinished) "Sunshine" quilt, which has made a little progress since my last post in June.

Here, and at the top, are a couple of the smaller 9" and 6" churn dash blocks. This time I used Gwen Marston's "liberated" recutting technique to give each unit its own character. On the larger blocks I had used Sujata Shah's curved piecing techniques...

...but honestly it was a lot of work and I thought the curves would get lost in the smaller units anyway.

As far as I know, it was my idea to apply Sujata and Gwen's techniques to a compound block like the churn dash. It's not earthshaking, just a small, incremental expansion on the earlier idea. Since my first post in February, I've noticed that Missouri Star now has a tutorial for a wonky churn dash quilt too. Did they see mine? I don't know. But, their quilt is pretty cute too.

Mine, of course, has the added enhancement of blocks in many sizes. I'm putting them together in sections like this:

This is not a new idea either. My inspiration was the quilt Bohemian Charm...

by Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith of Homestead Hearth, and found in my much cherished Sew Scrappy, Vol. 2 from Better Homes and Gardens. The block sizes in this quilt were weird -- 4" and 10" to start -- so a redesign was always on the cards for this one. They also grouped the blocks into rectangular sections, but filled the gaps with squares.

My first plan was to use squares to fill in the gaps too, but after I made the words...

...I realized I could use up those yellow strings I made by mistake, and that would be better all around. So now those strings are more "happy accident" than mistake!

I used Bonnie Hunter's string piecing technique:

The strings are chain pieced onto papers cut to size. I didn't include the seam allowances on the paper, but next time I will, because it would be easier to judge the size that way. They are trimmed when I'm ready to assemble the sections.

Oh, and for those words, I didn't "figure out the math," and I've never read instructions on how to make letters either. I just took yellow and white strips and put them together by eye, same as some people can play music by ear. But the idea to piece letters and words definitely came from photos online.

So, it could be said that this quilt is derived from ideas by Sarah Maxwell, Dolores Smith, Sujata Shah, Gwen Marston, Bonnie Hunter, and probably others too. But I wouldn't expect any of them to knock on my door and say "Hey, I own your quilt. Stop putting pictures of it online." They all had their own sources of inspiration.

I'm not saying this could be an award-winning quilt that the Modern Quilt Guild would refuse to hang in their show. I'm asking you to look at all the meaning and value inherent in the combined influences of the quilts that inspired even this trivial jumble of fabric, and to say that we shouldn't turn our backs on that. Truthfully, I don't think it's possible, but I think it would be a huge loss to try.

Current copyright laws may not accept that art evolves, and the student can outperform the master, but there is nothing stopping quilters from recognizing and celebrating their place in the ongoing discourse of quiltmaking. Eventually, the laws will catch up.

And if you are not now completely exhausted, check out the other blogs at the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters link up, right here!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tranquil - A Finish!

aka My Secret Purple
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...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Basking in the Sunshine

It's Improv Week again over at the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters link up. I was so busy quilting Mod Trips this month, that I had no time for improv. But, I figured, why not start now?

For this week's trick, I'm using Sujata Shah's Cultural Fusion techniques to make curvy half square triangles...

...and curvy rail fence units...

...and combine them into curvy churn dash blocks!

A churn dash quilt has been on my to do list for several years. Then when my guild started its crayon challenge, I hoped for a yellow crayon so I could make a yellow and white churn dash quilt. I got purple, but I liked this idea enough to make it anyway.

And, I've been thinking for a while that Sujata's elements could be combined to make interesting traditional blocks.

So, this is Modern Utility Quilt #2, which I'm calling "Sunshine." It's possible that this could turn into a series. And it's also looking likely that these Riley Blake ginghams will keep showing up:

I went to a lot of trouble to get the complete set of those ginghams in all 11 colours and 3 sizes when they were released. I thought I would put them all in the same quilt. But once they arrived, that seemed uninspired, and they sat in a box in the basement. Now I think several quilts will be better!

All the fabric is stash, like my first Modern Utility Quilt, and it seemed like a good chance to use all those large and small scale florals I used to buy. These are the first two blocks I made:

I have to say, I was feeling some doubt at this point. But I had the fabric cut for the first eight blocks, so I kept going:

It was all darker and browner than I expected. And was that citron Mini Pearl Bracelet really a good idea?

In improv theatre, the formula is to always say "yes, and..." So I squelched my doubts and thought, "ok, where do I go from here?" Most of the really pale yellows I'd pulled went back in the stash. The rest I pinned right up on the wall with the finished blocks:

This seemed like a crazy idea at first, but it turned out to be really helpful to sit back and see how everything was working together. So on Monday, I'll be linking up to Design Wall Monday as well!

All the fabrics fit into that range between the citron and gold of the first two blocks. I think the pure white fabric makes the dark fabrics look darker, so there will be less of that combination in the remaining blocks.

I've been looking at this pile of yellow fabric on my sewing table for a few days now, and I'm feeling good about where it's going. But, I promised myself I would get some more things quilted before the hot weather returns, so I will have to pack it up soon.

And before I go, look what I found when I logged into Blogger this afternoon:

I always enjoy these little synchronicities, which I know is why I keep finding them. This is a particularly good one. And it's probably why I "accidentally" logged into Blogger before I had my photos edited. And, check out the rest of the page:


Don't forget to check out the rest of the improv quilting at the February link up, right here. Happy quilting!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Picnic Flimsy

The Ad Hoc Improv Quilters link up is on again! Like Audrey, this week I have been diligently sewing the improv quilt I started in November. I finished the flimsy today!

At about 86" x 93" (218 x 236 cm), the darn thing queen size quilt is too big to photograph in one piece. This is almost all of the centre:

Modern Utility Quilt #1, "Picnic"

And this is the border fabric I chose:

The white dots are 1" (2.5 cm). I was thrilled to find something that matched the colour and scale of the blocks so well! The fabric is a Riley Blake wide back, which conveniently let me cut the borders in one piece. And it will conveniently be the back, too. After much thought, I decided that the most forgiving way to cut and sew the border would be to have about 3/4 of a dot showing on the inside and outside edges.

Since the quilt is "improv," I was unsure if I should sew the blocks with matched corners. At first I thought I wouldn't worry about it. But then I decided that I would quilt it myself on my home machine. So I thought it would be better to match the corners, spin the seam allowances on the back, and reduce the bulk in the corners.

In December I finally bought Sujata Shah's book Cultural Fusion Quilts. This quilt is inspired by the "Windmills" quilt in that book, although I see now there are quite a few differences in mine. But, Shah also matches the corners on her blocks!

I know most of my regular readers bought the book long before me, but if you haven't, you should! It is excellent, and I have more projects planned that are inspired by Shah's techniques.
So, this is my first improv flimsy, and my first bed-sized flimsy! To read all past and future posts about this quilt, please click here.

I do plan to quilt it myself, but I have many others to get through first, so it likely won't be until the fall. After my big "scope creep" insight during Allietare, I've simplified my plans for the improv letters that I made last fall. At some point I'll get back to those, and I have a couple more ideas that I'd like to get started. Right now, though, I am quilting Mod Trips, and then I really will finish Allietare.

In the meantime, check out all the other great posts at the AHIQ link up here. I highly recommend Cathy Perlmutter's post, which you can read here. If you are wondering how to get started with improv, Cathy will get you going! Or at least, laughing. :D

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Modern Utility Quilt

In her wrap of the second AHIQ link up, Ann said that "Modern utility quilts are an official movement."

Well, I thought, "my letters and words are not destined for a utility quilt."

But... I really could use a small quilt to cover my hand sewing chair, especially during the summer. And then, I was very inspired by the windmill quilts made by Ann and her quilting sister. Especially all the gorgeous Hawaiian fabrics her sister used. This seemed like a good way to use up some of those big prints in my stash!

My stash has a box called "Novelty," and I knew I had this fabric in there:

I bought it on a whim at a show, and I thought I'd probably never use it. But, now it is the inspiration for a whole quilt! I love the pink, red and white palette.

The Novelty box had other food-themed fabrics as well, including a couple yards of this sushi fabric:

I remember that I actually wanted more than two yards, but it sold out before I could buy it! I do love all the colours, especially the rich Chinese red. And that teapot is looking pretty good sewn up, too:

I found enough pink, white and red foodie fabrics for half the quilt, and then I filled it in with some ginghams (tablecloths!) and dots. With a hint of cucumber, citron, and lime:

Sounds tasty, doesn't it?

I think Ann's quilt is from Sujata Shah's book, Cultural Fusion Quilts. Ann's quilt blocks are square, but I thought they might look good as rectangles. A little more modern, a little more dynamic. The only catch with a rectangle is that you have to make half pointing left, and half pointing right.

Here are a few on the design wall, just to see:

I really, really wanted to do the whole thing fast and have a small flimsy finished in time for next Tuesday's link up. Unfortunately, I lost my head and ended up cutting way, way too much. So now it is queen-sized! Another big quilt! We'll see how far I am by Tuesday. Right now I'm only half way through the blocks:

And now I still won't have a suitable utility quilt for my chair. But, I bet the same block would look great in all my old Asian fabrics! And I think the box of Christmas fabric I have would benefit from some of this too. Maybe next year!

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