Category Archives: projects

an experiment in abstract quilting

mountain quilt 1The Big Rock Candy Mountain quilt is finished- all quilted and bound! As with most projects, the first step is the hardest and that was definitely true in this case. Working without a pattern requires a huge mental effort and so I must admit I walked away from this project for months at a time because I was having a hard time seeing the big, final picture. But all the hard work in abstract quilting was so extremely rewarding, and now, I think I’m hooked.
mountain quilt backFabric with assorted keys on the back, a panel from Urban Outfitters I found a few years back.
big rock candy mt quiltThe quilting was done by Corn Wagon Quilt Company in Springville UT. They have done custom work (freehand by the human operator, not a computer programmed stitch) for me before so I trusted they would do a good job again. I was very undecided on how to quilt this project. I went back and forth on various ideas, asking everyone’s opinion and you can see what won out- based on majority rule. I had Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night pictured in my minds eye when I saw the background. I had pictured swirls bigger than these but I didn’t specify exact size and I think these smaller swirls suit just fine.
big rock candy mountain quiltThere are a few stars in the sky- I had pictured more but I think it works out just fine. Someday I’ll have my own long arm quilting machine and I’ll be free to quilt whatever I can dream up (after hours and months of lessons, practice and messing up I’m sure).
triangle pieced quiltI love the way the straight stitches on the mountain really make the points and geometry stand out. Very simple- in a good way.
backlight quiltBacklit and blowing in the wind, it took me about 5 minutes with the camera poised and ready to get this picture. The wind was making it flap and twist, but I had to get at least one good picture with the mountains in the background and the sunlight coming through the fabric.
keys on the backsideI learned from my mother-in-law to always title, sign and date a quilt. Here is one way- just a corner of muslin or plain white fabric in the back corner, hand stitched on, for the important details. This location works well because you can easily flip the bottom corner over for the details without taking the quilt down off the wall. (And I’d better not forget to sign it…)
hanging a quiltIf the quilt is meant to hang on the wall, include a sleeve at the top when stitching the binding on. About 2 or 3 inches wide across the top should suffice. This picture is actually a great bad example of what to use when hanging the quilt. I’ve got a very bendy piece of wood that is twisting and turning (as you can see) and not allowing the quilt to hang nicely flat against the wall. Chose a strong, flat and thin piece of wood for hanging and there will be minimal to no sag over the years.
quilting from the backA view of how the quilting stitching looks against the keys on the back.
folded quilt
mountain quilt with timpOne last look, with my neighboring mountains before this quilt goes off to it’s new home. it’s going to artist Colt Bowden and growing family. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye. (I might have to make another one for me).

For a look at this quilt in the piecing triangles process look here.

Big Rock Candy Mountain Quilt- quilt piecing triangles

photo 2Here is my fabric interpretation of the painting ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ by Colt Bowden. We’ve been locked into an artist trade for years and I’m finally coming through on my end of the bargain.
big rock candy mountain by Colt BowdenHere is the original painting and inspiration- Big Rock Candy Mountain by Colt Bowden, painted for Summit in Eden Utah.  In case you’re not aware, Summit is a residential artists community designed with the vision of creating an epicenter of innovation in the heart of the Wasatch Mountains.

photo 1It’s been a very experimental and frustrating piecing process, in quilt piecing triangles, I’ve been making it up as I go along. But like any challenge, if you keep working at it, it becomes easier as you go and hopefully you learn something along the way.

triangle mountain quiltHere is the mountain, finally all pieced, with a faint chalk outline of where to cut out for the final mountain shape. It’s about 5 feet tall and 34 inches wide at the bottom.

triangles from the backYou can see the freestyle, experimental piecework from the back, some seams match and have a small edge and other seams have quite a bit of extra on the back. For the most part, this doesn’t matter. When a dark fabric could be seen through onto the right side of a light colored fabric, I made sure to trim the darker fabric in the back.

mountain quilt top detailThe snow capped top of the mountain was challenging to put together. Mainly because it took reversing the triangles from facing inward in ‘starburst’ patterns method to a new method of triangles facing downward with their pointy ends, I wasn’t sure I would pull it off at first. After picking out many seams as I went along, I finally got the snow angles right.

photo 3I don’t think I could have finished this mountain if I didn’t love it so much. It’s been so inspiring. I feel like it’s opened up a whole new world of thinking when it comes to colors, solid fabrics and even the piecing of triangles of fabric in such a unconventional way.
photo 4The background is underway, here’s a possibility. Plain fabrics in solid colors, like the ones in the mountain, set in gradation, to follow the layout of the painting. I do like the dark colors as a background, it helps the mountain stand out in the foreground. But, as I searched for background fabrics, I think I found a better idea:

mountain quiltThese fabrics are mainly solid in color, but with a slightly variegated aspect to them. All the colors I needed were available- bonus.

photo 2The subtle difference in the solids of the mountain fabrics and the ‘shadow play’ background fabrics should be small but significant to the end result.  I can’t wait to see the background in place. Stay tuned.

Take a look at the finished quilt here.

how to make drawstring backpacks

Hello and happy 2014! Sorry about my missing-in-action status but it was a crazy month with sewing, Beehive Bazaaring, skiing, holiday festivities and now cleaning and organizing for the new year.
In the midst of the madness I managed to sneak in teaching a video class for Atly on how to make my drawstring backpacks. drawstring backpacks
Here’s a bit about Atly, in case you don’t already know, it’s a fantastic website or forum for expanding your horizons and skills, learning something new with beautiful video classes on all kinds of topics (and upgrade possibilities within the classes for personal instructor feedback.) No dark, obscure YouTube tutorials shot in dirty houses that you realize aren’t really what you needed to know after painfully watching and waiting for way too long. …this may have happened to me once or twice… Just straightforward, visually motivating, well-done classes.
The great part of this class is learning the EASY WAY to put in a zipper and how to install grommets for connecting the handles. So, without further ado, here a link to my drawstring backpack class.

If you need some inspiration for fabrics and backpack designs, here are a few more backpacks I’ve sewn up.