Thursday, July 12, 2018

Lift Up

This is finally my finish for the June Challenge for us Island Batik ambassadors, and I believe it's my favourite quilt this year that I've made for them!
We were to create a modern quilt, using one or more elements as defined by the MQG:
The Modern Quilt Guild states, “Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. "Modern traditionalism" or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.”

This is one of my designs I created while in the #30quiltdesignschallenge2018 hosted by moi in the spring. It is truly a rush to have something you drew on paper, or on a computer come to life in fabric.

I decided to use the Blue Moon line again because blue is my favourite colour and there was just, I mean just enough yardage for the background for the quilt. The neutral background yardage they sent was too wheat-coloured to work with the blues and although I do have a sort of rainbow of colours I could have used for the geese, (I still plan to for rendition 2 now I have a lighter background), they wouldn't have worked on the wheat-coloured background. Yes, there is a pattern coming. Had hoped to roll it out with this post, but it's not to be.

I did add in one or two blues.. Thank you Island Batik, for providing these rich beautiful batiks to work with!

I draped Daphne, my newly-named, but not new to us, metal crane in the quilt. She looks quite rich, doesn't she, well, okay intrigued as well, as she examines the geese on her back!

Before I go any further into the quilt, I'm sure I need not explain the name, as I'm pretty sure everyone knows the incredible science and cooperation between geese, swans, cranes, etc flying in formation. Here is a wonderful piece to read, Lessons From Geese.

The math for figuring it out wasn't so bad at all, but trying to get the pieces as large as possible for as few seams as possible, and woodgrain all in the same direction, caused me a few pains in the head! It all worked out in the end, down to getting the side 'sky' of each goose running vertically as well.
On the bench, (geese heading in a different direction!) under Naala's tree; MacGyver has plans to make her an urn in which to put her ashes and bury her here. It's a tranquil spot.

I thought about the quilting for a bit. I knew I wanted to do ghost geese beside the fabric ones.

I also wanted some swirls to emulate the swirl of air as their wings beat, some wiggly lines like I did behind the migrating geese in my Quilt Flag for the Henry Glass Fabrics Challenge two years ago,  and then...


They are my absolute favourite thing to quilt, and to doodle. Geese have feathers! Perfect. I had a ton of background to fill with glorious feathers. The ones I did here are Kathleen's Cheater Feathers. I've done them on LOTS of quilts; they come with an echo, LOL.

I freehand drew a gently undulating spine, trying very hard to mirror it on the opposite side. That was when I could have used one of those bendable thingamajigs, which I am going to get asap. Still, nature is not perfect, nor am I, I just keep trying hard. Not only did I mirror the feathers from one side to the other, but I also mirrored them from top to bottom.

For the circle spiral, to tie in the swirl and hook design in the big centre 'v' of the top and bottom, I traced around this used-to-be candle holder, now longarm tools holder!

On the downward swoop, I saw that I needed to fill in the open space between the geese, so I had little curlicues go off and do semi-circles in there too.

Full disclosure: I can't even claim the excuse that the quilt was advanced along the rollers and I'd forgotten what I'd already quilted for this idiot move:
Hopefully you don't (or didn't) notice it... The curlicues feathers on the left side have wavy lines in their centres with feathers quilted along one side only of the spine. Now go back to the photo immediately before this one, and look at the curlicues I quilted (which were done first) on the right side of the quilt...
Ugh...didn't realize until it was being blocked.

I kept having the desire to put in a few ghost geese at each side. I nearly shot it down, but in the end thought, no, it's a persistent enough feeling that I'm going to do it. I like to think of those three on each side as parts of other flocks heading to the same place.
Ha! WHY when I'm so careful, does an inadvertent pink thread get stuck to the quilt?!
I thought I had a few choices of light blue threads, but no! Gotta remedy that asap! I remembered I'd picked up a cone of Gütermann thread on a sale at JoAnn's online a little while ago. When I first got Avril, I quilted exclusively with Gütermann, and she loved it. Then again she's not biased; she's good with any thread I've put on her. I used the Aurifil 50 wt that I was given (thank you Aurifil!) in the first Island Batik box for the dark geese. And...I had the perfect size of leftover Pellon Nature's Touch for the batting.

I had almost none of the pale blue left and just leftovers of fat eighths of the blues, so I debated a scrappy binding, but somehow it didn't feel right. I rummaged through the dwindling supplies box and tried a couple of pieces with enough yardage to bind, and settled on this, Dot-French Blue. I love it!
Machine-stitched to the front, pressed, wrapped to the back, pressed and glued and then stitched in the ditch from the front. I like this look best on the front for machine binding, as it looks identical to hand-stitched-down binding.

You can see in that photo that I quilted in my initials along the lower side there too, and you get a glimpse of the wide backing (not Island Batik) that I bought off my destashing friend, which had a couple of hunks this perfect size, about 46" square.

 I thought the triangles were the perfect fit. Love the way the quilting shows up on the back, well the pale blue thread anyhow!

So much angst has been in my heart, so much anger, shock, and outrage over this past month and a bit. I drew the original design during a similar time, when Syrian refugees were coming to Canada by the thousands, fleeing war, risking all, including their lives. I originally called the design "Caw-Mon Ground" a play on words, something I love, but symbolic as well, important to me in almost every quilt. The symbolism here is of coming together, that we are first and foremost humans, and to treat each other, that is every. single. person. as a human and worthy of respect and dignity and kindness.

I do hope that one day we shall meet in the middle, as the four, who, with their two ghost geese partners, do in my quilt.

Update: Reverse-sewed, then went back in and sewed in my satin label (egad! I've forgotten that how many times?!)

Quilt Stats
Pattern: Original design
Size: 42 X 43.5"; 41.75 X 43.25" after quilting
Fabric: Island Batik Blue Moon provided by Island Batik
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton
Backing: Prisms by Studio E Fabrics
Quilted: on Avril my HandiQuilter Avanté, dot to dot with ruler, and free motion
Threads:  pieced with 100% cotton Gütermann and 100% Aurifil; quilted with Gütermann 50 wt 100% cotton, and Aurifil 50 wt 100% cotton, Superior The Bottom Line in the bobbin
Number of Stitches: 155 668

There's something about the setting sun on a quilt that made me go out and take just one more photo before publishing this
Just so you know, Craftsy (affiliate link there and below) is having a 60% off supplies event on right now for the next four days... Hope you've checked out Connecting Threads too as there are some terrific deals (thread, batting, oh and sale fabric) there. I'll be getting some light blue Essential thread!
Haven't heard back yet from the latest email, but please be aware, as I was not, that deals that are offered when you sign up for Craftsy Unlimited are good only to US residents, doesn't matter whether or not you have a US address. Yeah. Not happy. I only promote stuff with which I'm happy...

Linking up
TGIFF at Celtic Thistle Stitches
Confessions of a Fabric Addict


  1. Stunning, Sandra. It's a fantastic design and your quilting pushes it over the top. #QuiltTheLifeInto it indeed!!! I wish for us all to come together, too. Until then it gives me great comfort to know such kind and generous souls through the quilting community who are willing to give and create and put love into the world.

  2. Your quilting is amazing, so great on these beautiful fabrics!

  3. Geese and swirls and feathers, and curls, stunningly adorable.The world did unite for the Thai cave rescue, if only that would be all over.

  4. What a fantastic finish. The colors of the batiks are stunning, and that quilting!!!

  5. Well Sandra. I've been feeling quite low over the last couple of days which may be attributed to the same reasons that are making you angry. It was good to read this post, to see the beautiful quilting and the beautiful design of the quilt. I'm not surprised about the pains in the head as lining this all up does not look easy to me. My favourite parts of the quilt are the ghost geese quietly working away in the background trying to keep it all together.

  6. Lovely Sandra. Glad you stuck to your intuition and did those ghost geese.

  7. Wow! Your quilting really brings this beauty to life. I love the contrast between the feathers and all the geese.

  8. This is pretty, and the quilting definitely sets it off! I'd call if Flying South (unless, of course, you turned it the other way around....)

  9. What a stunning quilt!. The quilting enhances the design so fact the minimalist look of Modern Quilts makes the quilting the star!! I love all the elements you have put into this quilt, the feathers (don't you think that sometimes feathers get ruffled in such a way so that one side might lie flat and not be noticeable), the ghost geese inside and outside and the lush fabric. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  10. Gorgeous design, gorgeous fabric, gorgeous quilting! But more importantly, it is symbolic of the cooperation and peace we all want and so desperately need. I hope you find a home for this piece that is worthy it!

  11. Where to begin..beautiful quilt! Gorgeous quilting, LOVE the feathers and who cares that they don't match they look perfect to me. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone could come together in harmony.

  12. Your quilt and quilting are absolutely beautiful, Sandra! That's the beauty of quilting, if they are not exactly matching perfectly everyone thinks it is a design element!! Amazing job! I have trouble with feathers but am plugging away at them!

  13. It’s a showstopper, Sandra! The quilting leaves me speechless!

  14. Oh, wow, just getting that wood grain all going the same direction is reason enough to be in awe of your quilt, Sandra, but add to that the gorgeous quilting and it's stellar. I like the idea that the quilting is different in those areas because that's what makes handmade so special (although I have to admit that I had to really look closely to figure out what you were talking about). Flexible curves (bendy thingies) are fun to use (I just used mine yesterday), but I always wonder just what it's made of and whether it's toxic. Mine smells terrible (like lead??) so I keep it coiled in a tightly zipped plastic bag when I'm not using it. It's really old, and maybe modern ones are made differently. I love the ghost geese and the name!! We all need lifting up right now, don't we? Sigh.

  15. Congrats on the finish! The quilting really enhances it beautifully!!

  16. Beautiful quilt and gorgeous quilting!

  17. Fabulous quilt, the ghost geese quilting is stunning!

  18. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing so many great photos and describing your quilting choices and process.

  19. This is amazing. And the quilting...well done, my friend, well done.

  20. I love that you were able to use a design from the challenge in the early part of the year. Your initials are so much fun and the quilting is phenomenal. I can’t imagine getting all those pieces to go in the right direction. Congrats on another beautiful finish.

  21. Sandra,
    I love the design, the quilting and that peaceful, flowing blue batik background. The sentiment behind the quilt - of coming together - makes it truly special. I'm coming back again to look at all the elements of your beautiful quilting and I may have more questions.

  22. The artistry of the quilting is stunning... just fabulous.

  23. This is just beautiful. I'm always amazed at how fast you can go from conception to completion with your challenges!


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