Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Snowfall - Ta Da!

Snowfall

Here is Snowfall. She is the largest quilt so far in my series of cycles quilts (you can see Cycles here, Cycles 2 here, and Sunset here) and is about 49" square after washing (she was about 52" square before the wash).

The backgrounds to the circles are made from a beautiful bundle of Oakshott Italy fabrics - a shot cotton with one thread in silver grey and the other in a colour so they are soft and muted. The large negative space is creamy snow coloured Essex Linen as is her binding. The circles are various Essex linens, Kona solids and one yarn dyed linen.

Snowfall

I hope that maybe as you look at Snowfall, you will be reminded of standing in a heavy snowfall of big fluffy snowflakes - you know the kind of snow that comes down wet and heavy in a soft flutter to the ground with no wind. When the snow is thick like that it blocks your view and you see bits of colours peeking out around the whiteness and everything seems muted. Usually, when the there is no wind, in such a snowfall, sounds are also muffled by the dense snow, and the world seems so much quieter.

Snowfall

Snowfall has very dense industrial modern matchstick quilting which I did on my new Millennium long arm quilting machine. I learned to walk with the machine, to not "over-steer" her so that the lines stayed relatively straight and to use a speed that allowed me to go both left to right and right to left (right to left is harder to avoid thread breakage).

I used several different threads in white, cream, gold, light tan, and grey. All but two were polyester, I need to practice more with cotton threads and this new machine to get the tension right for cotton threads. The subtle - and not always subtle - changes in thread colour add another dimension to this piece.

Snowfall

This time I was focused on getting the lines relatively straight, the thread tension nice and even and not having broken threads. Next time I matchstick quilt on the long arm I will work at wobbling the lines just a little more. For now, I am so happy that I can matchstick a quilt this large on this new machine.

Snowfall

The pictures above have all been from after Snowfall was washed. The added texture completes this piece, which was my plan. Like all the cycles quilts, it is a huge challenge for me to keep to these simple elements - to stay minimalist and keep the lines clean and very geometric - I so want to add more.

Snowfall

This picture was taken in different light, you can see how the colours will change depending on the available light. I love how from a distance the quilt appears quilt neutral but when you get close you see the rich hues of orange, purple, green, red in the Oakshotts. In person, the Oakshotts have the usual shot cotton glow, which is nicely complimented by some of the more shiny polyester threads.

Snowfall - back

Her back is Kona snow, which is basically the same colour as the Essex Linen on the front. The binding is actually a tiny hint darker. I hand stitched the binding down. I love how the back has the hints of the circles from the seams which show through due to the dense quilting.

Snowfall - before washing

This photo is of Snowfall before I washed her. Lots of texture but nothing as interesting as you see after the wash. Also, she was much stiffer before I washed her, more like a light cardboard than the subtle blanket she now is. You can see the crinkles, almost like crinkled paper in this shot, which I took after taking her off the long arm frame.

Snowfall - before washing

I had not even trimmed the batting in this photo, the crinkles are just from the small move off the frame. In this photo you can see how the dense quilting impacted the piecing just a little, that impact increasing just enough to notice at the bottom. That effect just adds to the industrial modern look I think.

Snowfall - before washing

You can compare the close up shots before the wash to those earlier after the wash to see the changes washing adds. Also, although I found that I was mostly stitching pretty straight lines, I did vary the width slightly for more texture and interest. I set the machine to the longest stitch and I did use the stitch regulator, I only wish it would make slightly longer stitches - I wonder if I could become consistent enough in non-regulated mode to make even stitches in lines like these. Other than the stitch regulator, I hand guided the machine to free motion quilt the lines - there was no computer assisting and no pantograph used.

Snowfall - before washing

My favourite parts are those diamonds where the circle backgrounds meet. You can see nicely in this photo how the dense quilting makes the underlying seams and lumps where the seams join show. More industrial modern texture - think of brick walls and steel beams and such, in those buildings peeking out in the middle of that snowstorm, as you stand in the heart of the city.

Snowfall - being quilted

There is a photo of Snowfall still being quilted. She did look pretty on the quilting frame.

Snowfall

And here she is in the stairway of my office's building. There are large two story windows on the left, just out of the photo, which makes this a great place for photos - loads of light but not directly on the quilt. Also, this setting is exactly the kind of industrial modern vibe I hope you get from this quilt.

A Lovely Year of Finishes 

And, in addition to showing her off, I get to check off my March list from A Year of Lovely Finishes as complete and I will link her up at Shanna's blog Fiber of All Sort now.

Finish Along 2014
Snowfall is also a Q1 Finish A Long finish too and I will be linking her up at Katy's blog, The Littlest Thistle,  shortly as well. Here is my Q1 FAL list.

Best,

Leanne