Monday, January 27, 2014

Radiant Orchid Colour Study - Ta Da! (and some exciting news)

Radiant Orchid Colour Study

This quilt is called Radiant Orchid Colour Study. The design was inspired by the work of Josef Albers. Radiant Orchid is the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2014 and I think that the outside right block is probably the closest to it. She is about 53" square after washing and is made from various Kona purples and Kona Snow.

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge 
I made this quilt for the quilt challenge that my friends Anne and Adrianne are hosting. You have plenty of time to join in, the link for finished projects opens on March 14.

If you visit often, you know that I am a last minute finisher and will wonder why on earth I imagined, planned, cut, pieced, quilted, bound and washed this quilt over this last weekend - yes it was two days start to finish. Well, on Saturday afternoon I was booked to spend 3 hours trying out a long arm machine at Sparrow Studioz and needed a practice piece.

Radiant Orchid Colour Study - before washing

I woke up early on Saturday and this idea popped into my head as giving me a lot of room to try different quilting designs and also to cover off the purple challenge all in one. Since I am not much of a fan of purple, it did not worry me that my quilting might be far below regular standards, at least it would be done.

Radiant Orchid Colour Study - before washing

I chose a purple thread that looked radiant orchid to me. It was a shiny polyester thread, which runs very smoothly through the long arm and stands out nicely on the different parts of the quilt. I played with a bunch of quilting patterns, and did not use a ruler (except to draw an X in the top right middle square to work around) or a pantograph, I just held the handles and doodled.

The two photos above and below were taken before I washed her. You can see that it is not hard to do matchstick quilting (top right and lower left centre squares) and also a freehand 1/4" grid which just means that you follow the outside of the hopping foot. My new favourite might just be that one in the top right, it is so easy and fast to make that curvy woven look and it looks so good in a nice big colour space like this.

I also tried various all over designs like a regular curvy and also square stipple, both of which go incredibly fast. You can see that I need tons of practice on the clamshells and boxes that are on the left. I expect that after a year or 10 of developing some skill on the long arm that this quilt will make me cringe but today I totally love it.

Radiant Orchid Colour Study - before washing

Despite the fact that my ability to control the machine and to make nice patterns is pitiful, I loved the machine. So much so that I have paid the deposit and will complete all the details early this week. Once that is done, in a week or so a flatbed truck will deliver a shining new Millenium APQS long arm quilting machine and 10 foot table to my door, just in time for my birthday.

Radiant Orchid Colour Study - Back

I backed her with this crazy IKEA print which makes me laugh. I had enough of it prewashed and handy, and it's extra wide so no piecing was required, so it was an obvious choice. And the binding is more Kona Snow and was attached by machine. The overall look of this quilt, back, front and binding is "industrial" as opposed to refined, nicely crafted or even middling perfect. So I am going with industrial modern - as if I did it on purpose.

Radiant Orchid Colour Study

I have long wondered how quilts made with intricate long arm quilting looked after the first wash. The photo above is after a wash and dry. It became soft and cuddly with a nice drape. The tight designs remained well defined but their texture increased and the larger stipple, loops, swirls and daisy loops softened and mellowed nicely.

Radiant Orchid Colour Study

There she is after the wash in lighting that emphasizes the quilting (which happened by accident, not through any clever technical expertise of mine). There are swirls in the top border, a large stipple on the left, loopy loops on the right and a daisy loop at the bottom. Mostly you see nice crinkly goodness until you get closer.

Radiant Orchid Colour Study

And this my best outdoor shot. The purples are pretty true in this photo. I love the colour study design too, and I understand now why Mr. Albers spent so much time making his art. The interactions between the different purples in the calm minimal design is really so pleasing, I might have to write this up as a pattern too.

I hope you are up for details of this long arm adventure, as I am keen to start it and to share it all with you here. For now, I am off to work, this week is back to normal so I hope to post more often here again too.


And I remembered that I can link up with my friend Aylin's Monday Maker group - I am excited to see who else is linked there. I might link to the Tuesday links too, let's see how much time I have tomorrow.