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.
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.
I started with a flying geese block and experimented and improvised, using hand-dyed fabrics and stripes and raw-edged piecing.
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!

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.
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.
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.
purple4 In some places I let the underneath layers show through.
I finished it up by cutting a curved edge and sewing the backing on, RST, and turning it through.
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:
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It started to come together a bit like this:
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:
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!)
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!
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:
It’s been fun making all the extra blocks. Some unexpected pairings of fabrics have revealed some new favourites, like this block:
These are some of my ‘extras’ – little parts to fill in spots where needed.
and lastly, I can’t complain because I have had some help from Dublin the supervisor

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:
This was the first one, a traditional bowtie block:
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.
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?
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:
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….
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:
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:
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:

In this block I added a flying geese block to the top of some randomly pieced strips:
And some more little strip squares:
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.
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.
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’.
The green strips are made with a Reece Scannell shot cotton, so it photgraphs a little funny, but such a beautiful fabric.
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':
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!
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:


We had a lovely weekend in Sydney recently, that beautiful harbour city. While the purpose for the trip was for my son and his beautiful fiancee’s engagement dinner, we also had time for a little sight seeing. Darling Harbour was sparkling…
and the weather so warm
We have some photos of the magnificent Queen Victoria building, which now houses a great selection of beautiful shops-
Look at these windows:
and the lovely world clock:
There was no time for sewing, but I’ve tried to make up for it since I got home. I’ve been doing some more work on the medallion quilt, inspired by a Gwen Marston workshop I attended last year. I’ve been making ‘spare parts’ for this improvisational quilt, and I need to get lots of them made before I can start playing with them up on the design wall.
So I have made quite a variety of different blocks, most of them with odd-sized strips and pieces
but also some a little more regular
However I wasn’t quite happy with it. I couldn’t see where to go next. I’m thinking it is still a little too regular for me and I need to liberate the blocks a bit more for my tastes. So I’ve started sewing together some curved strips which I’ll then cut up along with those regular blocks to shake them up a little!
Making it up as you go is harder than it seems at the start!

quilting tastes

Most art quilters will say that they started with ‘traditional quilting’, and I guess by that they are referring to the type of quilts they made. Traditional quilts are made of blocks with even sides with points matching or appliqued patterns, in sizes that are used for beds or as a cover. Sort of like this one:
This was my first quilt. A sampler quilt no less, which is also a common starting point for many.
It had pieced blocks and applique.
I remember buying the fabric for it at a quilting fair in Brisbane and asking for advice from some of the stall-holders, and having doubts over putting these patterned fabrics together!
I also did all the hand-quilting with the help of a stencil to mark the pattern.
In the years since making this I think my style has changed, and even though I still like my first quilt enough to hang it on a wall at home – and not hide it away-, these days I prefer quilts with different attributes. I like uneven or wonky sides, raw edges, bits and pieces, rough textures and irregular effects. So, that seems to me that my tastes have changed over the years.
However, I was looking at this little quilt the other day…
with its irregular sides, no binding around the edges, blocks a little wonky and my early attempts at free motion quilting- can you see the lizard?!
This quilt was made as part of a brown bag challenge with Gatton Quilters.
A bag of scraps and instructions were sent around a group of people and each contributed some further fabric in the chosen colour scheme to construct a block. I think my instructions were along the lines of a pieced block using pieces or strips of varying widths, however…

I realised that my tastes haven’t really “changed”..
because this quilt was also actually made years ago, not long after my first quilt. So, even then I liked things to look a certain way, and ever since have been experimenting and trying for a little different each time.
I like the thought that maybe I haven’t changed, but just been developing and extending my skills and abilities. There’s always room for improvement!