Monday, February 10, 2014

It's OK to PLay

My time in Key West has been spent working with silk dupioni. I am developing a new talk to present to quilt guilds and I like to show a big assortment of quilts. I brought all of my silk in a big tub with us.  I brought very little other fabric - although there is a lovely quilt shop on the island in case of an emergency!
 The question arises, what to do with the scraps that are generated from all the quilt making. 
I love perusing the internet, especially Pinterest when looking for an idea.  I eventually narrowed my search to string quilts.  I had lots of strips that I could use and chose to stay in as neutral palette - at least my neutral palette. My neutral palette includes oranges and rusts.
Since dupioni is such a coarse weave I always back it with something.  This time I used a light fusible interfacing, but instead of stabilizing all the little strips with it, I used it as a foundation.  After I sewed each strip, I flipped it open and pressed it.  I made most of the units to measure approximately 7" wide x 9" long. 
 After a lot of sewing I started running out of strips, so I sewed 2 or more together.
I really liked how these pieced strips looked when added into the block.

As I was making the blocks, I thought about various arrangements for them .  I had a few in mind.  But I like to work what I call organically, or in other words flying by the seat of my pants, and wasn't quite sure what the final arrangement would be.  It's good to be flexible when creating a quilt. 
 You just never know where it will take you.
I have a design wall set up. Please excuse the colors of the photos.  There isn't very good lighting.
This was the first setting I was thinking about.  I placed strips of the blocks, strata, on black silk dupioni.  My plan was then to add silk circles to the black strips.
It was OK.

Next, I tried an offset arrangement, reminding me a bit of a rail fence.
 The next try was just using the blocks without the black silk.  I liked this better.
But what would happened if I rotated it so the individual strips were horizontal?
I was surprised, but this was my favorite.
It's a very nice contemporary piece that works thanks to the palette and the variation in strip widths.  The places where the strips are pieced add a lot of interest and serve as a sort of jolt as your eyes wander around. 
But now I had to add my own touch to the quilt via a couple of borders. 
 This is what I think is very interesting.  When the quilt is in what I call the horizontal orientation, I like black borders.\
But when I rotate it so that the quilt is in the vertical orientation, I like the light borders.
I'm not sure yet what I will put in the borders.  My first thought is my beloved circles, but I will leave the quilt on my design wall and let the whole idea marinate for now. 
And if you were wondering what the back looked like with the fusible foundation, this is it.
And close-up.


  1. The back is cool! The front is even cooler! What if you cut it into a bunch of different blocks, each done in one of the ways enumerated above? It could be a sampler?
    I admire your restraint in only shlepping one box of fabric with you! Continue having fun!!!

  2. I love that and the way you pieced it, and the way the border colors can change the whole look and what pops out, very fun idea to do with scraps too.


  3. I liked each incarnation better than the one before. I would be tempted to quilt the borders by hand with big and medium perle cotton circles in my favorite neutrals (mine include oranges and rust, also) But I have no idea how I would do the body of the quilt. I can't imagine hand quilting through the interfacing...Maybe I would do machine on that...

  4. This looks like a lot of work Cheryl! Looking so pretty, almost like woven silk. I wonder what's cooking for the borders..

  5. Wow look at you getting all improvish! It reminds me of the scrappy strings I started a few weeks ago, I love your neutrals.

  6. Beautiful! Key West sunset from the pier?

  7. What a good idea. I also like to work with Dupioni and never throw my scraps away.

  8. Beautiful, and thanks for showing us all the stages and options you went through. I'm in such a strip/string piecing mood and have been enjoying it. Your pics are helpful in visualizing.
    Martha Ginn

  9. Very nice quilt. I usually like borders to be darker than the quilt but I like the off white better in this case. Have you tried a medium or dark brown? Please show it to us when you finish it.

  10. I rally like the softer color borders and no sashing. I think this quilt is quite interesting. The back is really cool in a pix.

  11. I really like the organic and natural colors of this. The lighter borders seem more in tune with that than the black. The back is quite interesting as well.

  12. I'll be in Key West on Feb.22 and 23! Will you still be there? The design wall story is great. I also like the vertical strips. My new book My Enchanted Garden was just released on Feb. 4th.- check it out!


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