Finishing the quilt for Adam and Sara was quite satisfying, as I added some ‘blossoms’ to it so that it complemented the floor rug which sits under the table and chairs in their dining area. The reason I made the quilt in the first place was so that Adam would like the retro dining suite which Sara’s grandmother gave them, and is so ‘now’ in decor.
The colours are to match the suite, the timber cupboards and the beige tiled floors. The strata on the quilt reminded me of mining benches in open-cut mines and quarries, and as where they live and work is a coal mining area, that decided the name.
Here’s a detail of the designer rug:
While the stitching appears to be big saddle stitches, it is actually machine quilted with a King Tut thread called Rosetta Stone. (Variegated blacks and greys.)
I am often inspired by a fabric, although I don’t buy fabric because I like it. I have to have a project on the go first. (The ikey Scot in me, I guess!)
Occasionally I am inspired by an idea, and need to go straight into the studio to try it. If I like what I do, then I search for the fabric to make the quilt. If I want to make a quilt for a friend, and have no real idea what it will look like, then an exciting fabric is where I will start.
At other times, I need to put together some quilts for an exhibition, and the inspiration comes from the theme of the exhibition.
Remember when patchwork quilts were often sampler quilts?
A sampler quilt is where each block is different, so that the quiltmaker can try new techniques. When I was teaching patchworkers in the late 1980s, I taught several sampler quilt classes. Students could increase their quiltmaking skills speedily without making many quilts.
Samplers seem to have gone out of fashion, but sometimes they are exactly what is needed when you want to learn new techniques.
While searching out all my sixty degree trangle pieces for writing an online class, I found this top which I made by putting together all my teaching samples from the travelling Sixty Dgree Triangle worshops over several years.
I hung the quilt top on the design wall and was surprised how much I liked it. It was assembled to make carting the samples around easier, but it now needs to be quilted, as it is really attractive, don’t you think?
Recently on Southern Cross Quilters, a member said she had bought an equilateral triangle ruler and didn’t know how to use it. One of my students left a lovely book for me to read, and inside it were several quilts based around these triangles. And on Saturday in a rerun of Simply Quilts, Alex was talking to Sara Nephew about her 60 degree triangle quilts. Serendipity?
Sixty Degree Triangle quilts were my first real obsession with patchwork.
I went to my local patchwork shop in Brisbane in 1988 asking if there was anything that was a bit unusual that I could get my teeth into.
Quilts From a Different Angle was shown to me, I bought it and went home intrigued. Wow!
Of course I hadn’t got the ruler, so went back, bought the 6″ size triangle – the only one available at that time – and produced my first of many of these quilts.
The designs don’t work like most patchwork (made from squares and rectangles) because the triangle is one sixth of a hexagon, and is based on a circle grid, not a square. This leads to rethinking your maths for quilts, but by her second book, Sara had great explanations for calculating how to cut the different sized triangles and part hexagons.
I was hooked!
Designs of my own
I designed the butterfly in The Best Things in Life are Free using these triangles in 1989, and the Reach for the Sky quilt a bit later.
I designed a couple of 3D isometric perspective quilts before Sara released her third book, called Building Block Quilts, featuring many 3D designs.
The quilts were getting blue ribbons at shows, and people wanted to know how they worked. I began to teach Sixty Degree Triangle classes all over Queensland. Some of these early design from students are quite good. None of us were very experienced in design and colour back then as patchwork was fairly newly revived in the late 1980s.
From stars to flowers to 3D, I never tire of playing with these triangle designs.
We have a full-size double bed in our Hyundai van, because we both have terrible backs and needed an excellent bed for travelling. I used blacks, whites and greys in one of Judy Turner’s tatami mat style designs, and had great fun quilting each rectangle in different quilting designs on my mid-arm quilting frame.
Photos on quilts
Remember way back when I wrote A moment in Time – about printing on fabric for quilts?
Here’s one of the little scrapbook quilts:
I have been experimenting with some new information seen on a video at The Quilt Show recently, and will write some more about my experiments soon.
It’s nice to be quilting and designing for a change from web design work!
I found a great blotchy black and grey patchwork fabric that is perfect for Adam’s quilt.
The town they live in is near many coal mines and he is looking to work in a mine soon. Sara’s father has been managing coal mines in the district for many years, so a ‘mining’ theme is so appropriate.
I asked the question in my last post, what is an art quilt?
Is a quilt ‘art’ because it is outside the traditional patchwork style of quilt? Is it art simply because it has been hung on a wall instead of used as a bed covering?
These days many people hang quilts on the walls of their offices, or their homes, as decorative pieces, whether these quilts are so-called art quilts or are traditional style quilts used as artwork.
If it is hung as art, is it art?
Perhaps not, but if the owner of a quilt hangs it as art, then to that person it is an art quilt.
I consider some of my quilts to be art quilts, even although they are based on traditional blocks, they have been designed as art pieces, and meant to be hung as such.
This quilt, Come To The Water, is an interpretative quilt using a traditional patchwork block called Double Windmill as the background, and another old favourite quilt block, Grandmother’s Fan, as the windmill head. It was made to decorate my late husband’s newly refurbished office.