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Inspired Projects and Midwinter Happenings

We're fully into February and the quilt elves have been working harrrrd since November! My last few projects have been the result of idea prompts by others. They've both stretched my imagination and required me to finish pieces within a specific time frame.

The quilt above was prompted by the meaning of "Welcome." In my younger life, I'd done quite a bit of traveling. I took the idea of a state welcome sign on a highway, using my home state, and thought about what that meant, the change of seasons being prevalent. The project incorporates reverse and raw edge applique, free-motion quilting, bobbinwork, couching, hotfix crystals and a touch of textile acrylics.

The below is another "Welcome" prompt project. The waving, ruched flowers were created using a tutorial by Karen Miller of Redbird Quilt Co. The project also includes a reverse applique sun, handpainted sky background using transparent textile paints, overlayed with free-motion quilting, beadwork and Angelina Fiber for the dragonflies, and a flanged border.

Above: MQG swap projects 2021/22 and 2020/21

For the last two years I've participated in an international swap hosted by The Modern Quilt Guild. The swap begins in November with partner assignments and finishes mid February with the swap. It's exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, as the process begins with meeting a new friend, getting inspired by what they like, having a fabulous idea about what to make for them, making it, and then being flooded with the neurosis of, "GAH!!!...but what if she hates it?!?!" Luckily, I've had two amazing swap partners who loved the quilts I made them and sent phenomenal pieces in return! Happiness abounds!

This year, my swap partner inspired a design focused on dynamic pattern repetition and bright colors against darks for a dramatic effect. Her likes included chevron print fabric, and purples, blues, pinks, and grays.

My first thought was to create a dimensional project using prairie points to create the chevron effect...until I found a beautiful little foundation paper pieced block pattern that I had downloaded from a fellow quilt blogger. I made a ton of them!

For the finish I decided on a facing rather than a binding. The facing gives the illusion that the design would extend off the page, while the binding would have stopped the design in its tracks.

In the previous swap, my partner's likes included bright contrast and nature, and she had begun exploring wool as a medium. She also had a favorite island off the coast of Maryland she liked to visit. I immediately keyed in on that concept, did a web search, and learned the island is home to wild horses that run along the beaches in herds. The web photos are stunning!

But it wasn't the horses that my swap mate enjoyed most, it was watching the evening sunsets. I found a few images for reference, drew out my pattern, and chose my fabrics; Jennifer Sampou's "Sky" in Sunset was perfect, combined with a batik sun, and 3 shades of iridescent dupioni silk to represent water. I also extended a pieced wool dock into the ocean. I overlaid the whole piece with free-motion quilting and embroidery, creating the textures that would give life to the natural elements.

As part of the finish, I backed the piece with a sand colored linen, which is a beautiful fabric to quilt, showing off stitch definition wonderfully, and made pieced binding to match the sky, sand, and water.

I have a few projects in the works with rapidly approaching completion dates. They include inspired family quilts and other creative prompts that I look forward to sharing. Until then, happy stitching!

- Liz


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