Much of my fibre art builds on interpretations of traditional repeat patchwork patterns – those basic geometric shapes arranged into blocks set in grids. In the late 80s we moved to Denver for a time. Always a keen stitcher, and not having a work permit, in addition to joining the Embroiderers’ Guild of America Colorado Chapter, I began learning about making patchwork quilts – that very American of textile arts. I also joined a book discussion group to focus on reading and discussing American literature – I was all in for the cultural experiences 🙂 A new neighbour introduced me to the Arapahoe County Quilt Guild in SE Denver. I took what turned out to be some really useful classes at a Quilt The Rockies Symposium – Seminole patchwork, Flying Geese Quilts, and one on the simple math in drafting patchwork to any size you wanted. I joined a quilting bee for the cultural experience, in what turned out to be a stellar group. It was a wonderful time in my life. Retaining my bee and guild involvements, I also joined an experimental art quilt group and began making my own original designs. From the very first I had success in some prestigious juried art quilt exhibitions, and also exhibited solo. The Front Range Contemporary Quiltmakers group formed while we lived there. It was amazing how many highly creative, innovative textile artists were (and are still) in that state.
I have frequently used simple shapes, particularly squares, as units of design in grids:
The traditional Nine Patch block, formed solely of squares, is one of my favourite blocks, though interestingly I have never made any kind of quilt using that design. In my previous post I wrote of how I’ve been following the small squares surrounded by stitch that so excited me during the recent challenge I took part in. Here is the whole piece, showing the design loosely inspired by the Nine Patch block, featuring 432 hand appliqued fused silk organza squares:
Besides showing in detail how the squares have a lovely texture, this also shows the first quilting, in which I’m really still auditioning the yellowy-green neon thread. What I mean here is that I’m prepared to pull out these early rows if the effect isn’t what I envisage, but I need more rows and some crossing them, too, before I finally decide.
While the jury’s still out on that, I’ve started quilting in and around the groups of 9 squares, and absolutely love the way it enhances the little squares’ texture – they really pop up from the surface. This is due to the heavy nylon thread which doesn’t flatten down even when ironed.
Of course the whole thing would have been quicker if I’d stencilled the shapes 🙂 but that’s something to think of for the next one. This tapice, wall hanging, wall quilt is not large, and will probably be about 30″ x 40″ when finished. One of my Stitch Club friends asked the other day about how I was going to finish the edge – my answer was that I have a lot of time to think about that, too!