neighbourhood watch- slow cloth

I have a small project that is actually finished! I don’t feel like I get to say that often enough- an actual finish, yay! This is a little story cloth, stitched over quite a long while. I probably started it about 2 years ago, just working slowly and enjoying the process.
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It is a stitched piece utilising re-purposed cloth and scraps, torn little bits from here and there. It has raw edges and loose threads…
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…bits saved from here and there just added where they looked to fit. There was no plan- I would add one piece then stop and look before adding something else. I guess you could call it an improv cloth! Lots of hand-stitching was added to the top. Its title is Neighbourhood Watch.
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It was enjoyable and comforting to work on; the feel of the cloth soft in my hands. I cut up one of my mum’s old pillow-cases, that must have been washed a thousand times in its life, to use as the background. My original inspiration for it was from following Jude Hill on Spirit Cloth, both on her blog and various online classes I’ve taken. I so love her work, and while mine doesn’t look anything like hers, I use her techniques and the inspiration she provides.
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I bound it by using strips from fabric left over from the days of sewing my clothes; the frayed selvedges turned to the front and running stitches with perle cotton to keep them in place. I also lightly hand quilted, using the same thread with big stitches.
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Truth be told, I’m a little sad it’s actually finished! I guess I’ll have to start another one….

it’s finished!

What do you think of this quilt? It’s my improvisational medallion quilt that I started in a Gwen Marston workshop in mid-2013, and it’s finally finished!

Karen Mundt- medallion quilt

Karen Mundt- medallion quilt


I’ve written here a few times about the progress, and about how it proved to be a real challenge.
In the Gwen Marston class, we started with a centre block and then started adding onto it, a border at a time. I only got the hour-glass border on during the class, and made up the rest of it myself. Decisions had to be made for each border- what techniques to use, which fabrics, which colours. There are obvious borders out to the half-square triangle border, but then after that it was made up as I went. I wanted to make mine as scrappy as possible, and while I did buy a lot of the fabric to use for it, I also used a lot of left-over fabric from past projects.
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I experimented with lots of different block designs, made up some of my own and made wonky versions of blocks. As I made endless blocks, I would put them up on my design wall and move them around. It was this middle stage where I often felt that I wasn’t moving along, so I started to make decisions on a section at a time. I would work out which blocks could go together to make up a large section and piece them all together.
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I had started with thinking that I would use a pale green or cream as the calming fabric and filler in between the colourful blocks, but soon realised that wasn’t going to work. So I switched to using red as the filler and that became the constant colour to draw the eye around the quilt. The filler strips and pieces were necessary to ‘fill in’ where some blocks were a little shorter than others or not quite fitting together and made it much easier to piece the sections.
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I would work on just making decisions on one section at a time, put that up on the design board and move onto the next. Eventually it got there, after countless re-arranging, contemplation and fiddling!
But once the quilt top was together, I then had to work out how to quilt it. As there weren’t any regular seam lines going all through the top, no large spaces to fill in with a quilting design but lots of seams everywhere, and the fact that it was so busy to look at anyway meant I had to keep the quilting fairly minimal.
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I ended up just quilting a quarter-inch echo around most of the blocks and seams.
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For the back I used some pink striped fabric and pieced it with bits left from the front..
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Isn’t it good when it all comes together!
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blogger’s quilt festival

It’s the time of the year when the Blogger’s Quilt Festival is on over at Amy’s Creative Side blog. It’s a quilt festival for those who can’t get to the festivals in person, instead you can tour around the blogs of all the entrants looking at their amazing quilts. There are also opportunities for prizes so don’t forget to take a look.
I have entered two quilts. The first is this Lollipop Trees quilt, made to the pattern of Kim McLean and using mainly Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

Karen Mundt-Lollipop Trees

Karen Mundt-Lollipop Trees


I first showed the quilt here.
I’m entering it in the applique section. It was a big quilt for me to make and the most applique I had ever done on a quilt.
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lolly4
My second entry is going in to the Modern category. It’s this quilt I made using one of the score’s from Sherri Lyn Wood’s Improvisational Quilts Handbook, shown on the blog here.
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I started with a flying geese block and experimented and improvised, using hand-dyed fabrics and stripes and raw-edged piecing.
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I’m not sure what exactly is modern- is anyone?! But it fits the commonly-accepted criteria, so that’s what I’m going with!
KarenMundt1

purple challenge

Purple Circles- Karen Mundt

Purple Circles- Karen Mundt


One of the common questions that people are often asked is ‘what is your favourite colour?’ Since I was little, my favourite colour has always been blue, and the colour I least liked was green. But I’ve noticed a funny thing happening over the years that I’ve been quilting.
You know how we work with so much colour when making our quilts and how we often need to use a variety of darks and lights to create the look we’re aiming for. Sometimes you need that contrast to really make one colour ‘pop’ from the quilt- each bright has a paler colour next to it for greater impact. So, I often reach for a green as the foil I’m using, and more often than not it will be a bright green, like an acid green or lime green. I’ve come to like green a lot more now! and I guess I follow the mantra of there never being a colour I won’t use or that I dislike.
I still like blue but the shade of blue has been morphing into shades of purple, so while I always went for a dark navy as my favourite I would say now that blue and purple are my equal favourites, or even that shade of blue that you can’t tell if it is blue or purple. Sort of like these colours:
Resene Paints-Bluebell, Decadence

Resene Paints-Bluebell, Decadence

Our monthly colour challenge for my art quilt group was purple, and I thought that would be great, no problems. But- not so! For some reason it proved more difficult than I thought it would. Only using the one colour means that you have to use all different shades and tones to create the work, and not rely on different colours. I went through my stash grabbing as many purples as I could, but just putting them all together wasn’t appealing to me. It just seemed too much purple!
I created Purple Circles by following an article by Jane la Fazio called Recycled Circles, found in a ‘Cloth, Paper, Scissors’ magazine from March/April 2009.It is a method of layering paper and scraps of fabric on four squares before sewing them together to make a slightly disjointed circle. I started with a base fabric of some hand-dyed fabric and added a layer of painted tissue paper, like this I painted with some inks a few weeks ago.
purple_paper
Fabric scraps went on next. By making the four quadrants separately, you ensure that you get a good mis-match of fabrics so they purposefully won’t join up! All the fabrics I used were shades of purple, from blue-purples to grey-purples to plums and violets and all shades in between, even though some of them look a little washed-out in these photos.
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Once the fabrics are laid down I went crazy with free-motion quilting all over using different threads, but still all purple! The four pieces are butted up against each other, taped together on the back then more circles of sewing all around the piece. I then embellished it further with hand-stitching, beads and bits and bobs.
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purple4 In some places I let the underneath layers show through.
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I finished it up by cutting a curved edge and sewing the backing on, RST, and turning it through.
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So that is my purple challenge- took a little work but got there in the end!

Purple Circles- Karen Mundt

Purple Circles- Karen Mundt


Linking up to “Off the Wall Friday” – have a look at some lovely art quilts!

9-patch improv

Improvisation in quilt-making is something I love to play with- the ultimate ‘What If?” So when I saw a call for quilters to try a new method and make a quilt that could possibly be shown in a to-be-published book, I thought why not?!
The book, which comes out in March, is called the Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters, by Sherri Lynn Wood.
This is the quilt I made:
KarenMundt1
Sherri provided us with a ‘score’ that guided us in making the quilt. There were no specific patterns to follow; the score provided a framework which we then interpreted in our own way. There were about ten different scores and a lot of quilters working with each one, from which Sherri would choose a selection to feature in her book. While my quilt didn’t get included in the book, it was still a fun process to go through.
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The score I received was ‘Flying Geese’. I can’t give the details of how the score worked, but I can show a few photos of what I did. I decided to put my own take on it by limiting myself to striped fabrics and my hand-dyed fabrics that I’ve made over the years. I made lots of flying geese and it was fun to see how some of the colour combinations I put together looked really good…
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9patch6
I didn’t have any preconceived idea of what the finished quilt would look like but went along making decisions as I went.
I auditioned lots of different border fabrics with the original idea to use white or some other light colour, because that seems to be the common colour with many modern quilts. However, the best effect was achieved with black so the bright colours could pop against it.
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And for some reason, when putting it all together, the smaller blocks wanted to arrange themselves into a rough grouping that resembled a 9-patch, hence the name Flying 9 patch.
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I free-hand quilted it myself on my long-arm, using a bright variegated thread and lots of lines and angles, and bound it using a fused machine binding.
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So even though, my quilt didn’t make the cut- I’m not sure whether those quilts will be mentioned at all in the book- I guess I will have to get the book when it’s published and have a look!
Linking up here to Nina-Marie’s Off-The-Wall-Friday!

making a little art quilt

I had a ‘play day’ today and decided to leave aside other projects to instead make a little art quilt. The large improvisational medallion quilt I’ve been making has been taking awhile and has been on my design wall for what seems like a very long time, plus I’ve also been busy quilting quilts for other people on my long-arm machine. It was time to just do something different.
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Last year, I did a workshop with Gwen Marston when she was over here in Australia. Part of that workshop was about experimenting and improvising, and playing with colour. I made lots of little parts, like those pictured above, but didn’t get back to do anything further with them. Today, I got all those parts out and played with them; rearranging here and there, cutting some bits up and joining others together to see if I could make a little art quilt.
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It started to come together a bit like this:
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I liked the idea of keeping the colour palette to taupe, teal, red and purple, so I picked out those pieces to start with. But one piece had some yellow in it, and that just seemed to give it a little spark, so I added another sliver.
The final arrangement is this:
artscape1
This is the pieced top only- next step is to quilt it with close echoing lines, mainly in those areas of solid colour, and then bind it. It will measure about 9×10″ : a mini art quilt that I’m naming Artscape 1 ( I plan to make lots more!)
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Hope you can find somewhere out of the heat to keep on sewing!

bit by bit

I’ve been making a little progress on this improvised quilt. I’ve written about it here and here before, and it may seem to onlookers that I’m not making much headway! Making up this quilt as I go along is harder than it seems, really hard. I think it is probably the most difficult quilt top I’ve made!
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I have it up on my design wall with all the extra blocks I’ve made so far arranged around it.

The last week or two have been spent looking, re-arranging, looking, sewing bits together, changing my mind and so on. I’ve started worrying that it’s all too busy and will just look chaotic, instead of looking like its meant to be: colourful and scrappy but still just right.
I know that once I have worked out a rough arrangement of the little blocks that are going around the medallion centre, I then will be adding filler strips to make them fit together. Those filler strips will be in the light green that I used in those wide strips top and bottom of the centre, as well as red and some of the stripe. So I’m hoping they will help to pull it together and also give some places for the eye to rest.
Herre are a couple of sections I’ve put together:
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It’s been fun making all the extra blocks. Some unexpected pairings of fabrics have revealed some new favourites, like this block:
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These are some of my ‘extras’ – little parts to fill in spots where needed.
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and lastly, I can’t complain because I have had some help from Dublin the supervisor
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making a wonky quilt block out of a straight one

I started making some blocks back in January, as part of the Aurifil Block-along, as posted about here.
I intended making these blocks with a view to add them to my scrappy medallion quilt that I’ve been slowly working along in the background between other things. This quilt:
medallion4
This was the first one, a traditional bowtie block:
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Like all the blocks I’m making for this quilt, I put them up on my wall once finished so I can look at them all together. I won’t be arranging them until I have lots made so their final resting place is unkwown for the time being.
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But these blocks have been sitting there all this time and each time I look at them I think, they are not right, there’s something I don’t like. I think they are too big and ‘straight’ and ordinary, when most of the other blocks are wonky or improvised, or just different in some way. So, I had to do something with them. Maybe breaking them up, so all four aren’t together in one big block?
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No, still too ‘clean-cut’. There’s nothing for it- I have to chop them up.:) So, I cut them across the middle, and inserted a strip. Still not enough; cut them across the other way and inserted another. Here’s the first:
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I’m still not completely enamoured of them, but they are better than they were previously. Maybe they can sit up on the wall a bit longer while I ponder….
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I’m linking up here to Lily’s quilts and her Small Blog Meet- hope you’ll have a look at some other blogs :)

improvising with made-up fabric

Experimenting more with blocks for my medallion quilt, I’ve been sewing scraps together to make a base fabric that I can then use to make blocks out of. Using a variety of odd-shaped scraps that have resulted from the blocks already made for this quilt, I just sew them together:
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Once I have a piece big enough I can then pick which block to make from it and cut the necessary components. Here is a couple of blocks where I used the saw-tooth design:
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It adds that scrappy look, which I often prefer to the ‘clean-cut’ look! Then, there is also the wonky log-cabin block which has endless varieties:

improvblock7
In this block I added a flying geese block to the top of some randomly pieced strips:
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And some more little strip squares:
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I’m utilising quite a large selection of fabrics for this quilt, but stearing clear of the brights that I normally favour (except for a little bit of bright lime or fuschia here or there!). I’m taking to heart something I read, where by as long as you have a fabric appearing more than once in your quilt, it will look as if it belongs. Once I get it all together, if I don’t like some blocks, then I can just keep them out for another project along the way!
It’s all good.

work in progress….

What have I been working on, wellll….I’ve gone back to this medallion quilt, started in a Gwen Marston workshop last year, which I return to every now and then in between other projects. As I’ve mentioned here and here before, it is improvisational so the goal is to make the parts and put it together as you go along.
improv1
The latest additions include the red/cream half-square-triangle border around the centre panel, and the two wider strips top and bottom.
I want it to become a rectangle shaped quilt, which is why I didn’t add that light green border all the way around.
I’ve also been making lots of random blocks, without knowing where they will all go in the quilt just yet. Looking for some ideas and wanting to have a play, I decided to try a couple of blocks from this little booklet that came with an issue of the “Love Modern Quilting” magazine earlier this year.
blocks
Have you ever utilised these ‘free’ booklets or patterns that often accompany magazines? I just thought I might as well try a couple of them in some of the fabrics I’m using for this quilt. This first one is ‘Cross Check’.
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The green strips are made with a Reece Scannell shot cotton, so it photgraphs a little funny, but such a beautiful fabric.
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The patterns in the book are for 12″ blocks, but I’ve scaled them down to make 6″ blocks to fit in better with my quilt.
I also tried ‘Paving Stones':
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The quilt top is going to be a sampler of sorts, with lots of different blocks and the intention of putting it all together at the end like a puzzle. I also made these improvisational blocks – cutting odd-sized strips without a ruler and sewing them together. Hoping they will fit in there somewhere as well!
improv4
And this block is one of the Aurifil ‘Designer of the Month’ blocks, which I have been playing along with, like here, although not exactly every month :) – this is the block for July:
aurifil-block-july-karenmundt1
aurifil-block-july-karenmundt