black and white triangle quilt

full frontal b&w quilt :)

b&w triangle quilt // close-up

b&w triangle quilt // trying it out on p's bed

a recent finish:  this black and white triangle quilt!

sometime last year i decided i wanted to make a triangle quilt...who doesn't like a triangle?

i went with black and white as a colorway because i love the combo...it's classic, it's chic, it's trendy, it's timeless.

most of the prints are some kind of graphic geometric print featuring circles (with some other things like stripes thrown in for good measure), and the alternating white triangles are white kona cotton.  the binding is solid black kona.

i quilted it with echo quilting on each seam at a 1/4"...the triangles are fairly small (about 4" x 5"-ish) so that process took foreverrrrr.  but i am happy with the final result.

is it just me, or are triangles trickier to piece than one would think?  you have to make sure you sew them together just right or points get nicked, and the like.  the result is worth it, though; all those diagonal lines make for a very dynamic looking quilt.

i decided to put it on Poppy's bed...just to mix things up and try something new in her room.  she said she likes it.  :)

you down with EPP?

first forays into English paper piecing

hand sewing kits (handmade & orla kiely etc. case) @redheadwiththread

hand-sewing/English paper piecing cases (handmade & orla kiely etc. case) - hat tip to @redheadwiththread who uses an orla case to tote her epp stuff around town!

pretty hexies, stacked in a box

EPP in progress

"yeah, you know me!"

in late spring this year, i caught the english paper piecing.   i kept seeing my awesomely talented and kick ass friend holly harper (also a fellow CMQG-er) basting and sewing together hexes...at guild meetings, chicago stitch bitch and brew nights, or guild retreats.  and for a long time, i resisted (for no good reason, i LOVE to hand sew).  

then, all of a sudden, in a lull between major quilt projects, i decided to teach myself to EPP.  i asked holly for some tips at the CMQG spring 2014 retreat, and then picked up a couple books on the subject (hexa a gogo and quilting on the go) and watched a couple videos on QNN TV starring the amazing katy jones, and i was off to the races.

since i have a GO! cutter, i used one of the hexi dies to cut out a bunch of scrap fabric (of which i have loads!), and then bought the 1" hexi EPP die that accuquilt now offers, to cut out the papers.

i then basted about a bajillion hexies over the course of a month or so.  HOTdamn, it's so relaxing and repetitive!  really easy and braindead yet productive sort of task you can do while watching TV, listening to the radio, or in the car waiting to pick the kiddo up from school.  it's especially good for those times when you find yourself idly waiting somewhere (in lieu of rabidly checking Facebook and instagram on your phone to pass the time)...that sort of thing.  :)

i use card stock to make my hexies.  i know a lot of folks (holly included) use regular copy paper, but i like the stiffness of the card.  i also baste through the card...somehow it feels more secure for me.

last weekend i put them in a plastic box in a nicely organized fashion...it's really soothing to my organizationally minded brain to see them all neatly arranged in rows.  works much better than the ziploc gallon sized bag i was toting them around in previously!

at the spring retreat i made a hand sewing kit using instructions from lots of pink here, using scraps of fabric i had hanging around in the ye olde and ever-growing fabric stash. it's very cute, but...

holly had the great idea to use one of those adorable orla kiely makeup bags (from target!) to carry around EPP related stuff...and i shamelessly copied her great idea.  the pockets inside are a perfect fit for a couple spools of thread, a glue stick, stork shaped embroidery scissors, one's project, and a couple other EPP or hand-sewing related necessities.  it zips shut and it's lightweight, and you can pop it into a tote or knapsack easy-peasy.  the idea works so well i even bought another in a different print that i can use to hold all my embroidery stuff.

a couple weeks back i started sewing together rosettes/flowers, and that's just as fun and relaxing as basting!  still pondering what i'm going to make with them, exactly, but it will come to me in time.  :)

***

are you down with EPP? :)

what are you making at the moment?

from heart to hand: african american quilts from the montgomery museum of fine arts (at DPAM, Chicago)

from heart to hand @ de Paul

by Mary Maxtion, Bars and Blocks, 2000

by Mary Lee Bendolph, Strings, 2003-2004

attributed to Mary Duncan, Lone Star, about 1950

attributed to Mary Duncan, Lone Star, about 1950

attributed to Mary Duncan, Lone Star, about 1950

by Addie Pelt, Everybody Quilt

by Addie Pelt, Everybody Quilt, about 1988

by Addie Pelt, Everybody Quilt, about 1988

by Addie Pelt, Everybody Quilt, about 1988

by Addie Pelt, Everybody Quilt, about 1988

by Sallie Gladney, Log Cabin Variation, 1989

by Sallie Gladney, Log Cabin Variation, 1989

(top to bottom: Mary Maxtion, Mary Lee Bendolph, Mary Duncan, Addie Pelt, Sallie Gladney, and Yvonne Wells.  please click through for specific attribution and dates.)

***

i had the pleasure of stopping by the de paul art museum/DPAM (on the de paul university campus) here in chicago this past weekend to take in the exhibit entitled from heart to hand: african-american quilts from the montgomery museum of fine arts. the exhibit "include(d) examples from Gee's Bend, as well as other styles and subjects from the region of western Alabama".

it was kind of like taking in a mini-Gee's Bend exhibit, and the usual quilt suspects associated with that genre of quilts and their quiltmakers were on display: loose, perfectly imperfect improvisational forms of quilt construction and hand quilting, plenty of saturated and surprising color combinations.

***

in april 2014, my friend erika sews and i took a road trip to AQS quilt week 2014 in paducah, kentucky.  we both hail from chicago and are members of the CMQG, and decided we'd go check out the AQS show since it's just a state over.  

i saw a lot of quilts in paducah that were impressively sewn and clearly carefully executed, and were arguably very beautiful quilts, but i have to admit, there weren't really too many quilts in the show there that moved me to stop and ponder, or even take my camera out to snap a picture.  the quilts were so "perfect" and many were overworked and fussy (to my eye).  many just didn't get me going aesthetically, though i am sure many there felt the opposite, and of course that's perfectly ok.  the opposite was true at quilt con 2013...i saw so many things that moved me and i couldn't get my camera out fast enough!

erika and i had gone to the MQG's quilt con 2013 in austin together, and after attending both shows, we had several conversations in the car and over meals about our impressions, comparing and contrasting the overarching aesthetic and ethos of each event and it's associated genres of quilting (AQS leans toward the more "traditional", MQG toward the "modern"). i felt more moved by the quilts at modern show, or by exhibits and quilts like the one i excerpted above at DPAM, and i wanted to articulate what it was that seems so much more appealing to me about the latter.  

and i think part of it is the following:  quilts done in a looser, improvisational, sometimes sort of scrappy type of style, like the ones shown at DPAM, are, to me, more joyous, looser, and more full of surprise and vibrancy than their more "traditional" counterparts.  they have more asymmetry where their counterparts have more symmetry.  when the quiltmaker ran out of a fabric she probably filled in where needed with what made sense to her, or using what she had on hand.  and i think that's part of the magic behind these quilts...it's the surprise.  that perfectly imperfect little something different that stands out and catches the eye, that little thing that some quilting control freaks might argue is out of place.  i'd argue that those additions, those differences make the difference...and make for a more visually appealing, energetic quilt.  so-called "african-american" quilts like those above and the ones from gee's bend and well beyond, as well as a good deal of antique quilts and quilts made by a variety of makers from a variety of cultures not made for shows also often have this quality.

i love it when i see it, that looseness and surprise, like in the quilts shown above, and in many more "modern" pieces like those at the MQG show...and i am working, working, working to loosen up and embrace that imperfection and make-do spirit and surprise in my own quilts and art.

***

if you're in chicago and want to check out the from heart to hand show, you better hustle!  the show ends june 22, 2014.