Posted in quilting

Piecing with Free-Form Shapes

The first thing I did in my studio today was re-sew the wonky row of yesterday’s triangle quilt sampler. It looks better now, but certainly not perfect. I decided I could live it. Now I feel free to move on to free-form piecing, a skill I have been wanting to try for several weeks. This technique utilizes the rotary cutter, but not always the grid ruler. Leslie Tucker Jenison treats her rotary cutter as if it were a pen or a paint brush to do improvisational piecing. Her quilts look very gestural. You can see her tutorial at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vT08esPfzw

I’m not ready to improvise yet. But I do have an idea for a semi-abstract design based on sunflowers. Here is the sketch of my idea.

This piece is divided horizontally into four rows. I assigned color values to the various sections, and divided each row into workable blocks. The fabrics I selected have a nice range of values, and three of them are solids. I think they will play nicely together in this design.

The next few hours were spent puzzling over the shapes, cutting, re-cutting, stitching, and, oh yeah, ripping out at least once. At the end of my allotted time, I had finished the three blocks of the bottom row. What do you think?

The width is going to be roughly 12 inches. I think it will end up about 24 inches tall.

So far, I really like it. It’s going to be an interesting experiment. And maybe even turning into very nice fiber object.

Posted in quilting, sewing

Blocks with Curves

At a quilt show I attended recently, I saw several quilts that featured circular piecing. It looked so mysterious. How did they do it? Here is an example from the show.

I am very interested in making contemporary quilts in a similar style. So it is necessary for me to learn to this technique. For today’s exercise, I will be making blocks with pie-shaped wedges sewn into the concave edge of a background fabric. I turned to U-Tube for a little help. One of the instructors is Leslie Tucker Jenison. Here is a tutorial on fitting concave and convex shapes together. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vT08esPfzw

My design inspiration was the sun and planets. Because of the fabric selection I had available to me, I decided to make a piece featuring a gaseous planet.

Dark grey for the background fabric, green and pale blue for the pie shapes.

After cutting out the two types of blocks, I marked the curves with a compass. The trick is that, at the curved line, the pie shaped piece needs to be 1/2 inch wider than the background piece, to accommodate the seam allowance. I used a compass to draw the curves and cut them out with scissors. Here are the four blocks pinned and ready to sew.

It’s important to mark and pin the two centerpoints and align the block edges. Then place a pin about every inch. Stitch with the concave piece (background) up, so that you can ease the curve. Here are the blocks before pressing.

I have most the points matched up pretty well. Next is to sew the pairs of top and bottoms together and then sew the center vertical seam, matching the pie shape edges and nesting the center seam.

My planet block, sewn and pressed

I’m relatively pleased with this first attempt. Only the lower right block is slightly off. The final dimension is 18 and 1/2 inch square – a very good size for a cushion cover.