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Quilt Projects Completed at Retreat

For the first time in far too many years, I treated myself to some time away from work this past weekend to attend the retreat my quilting guild (the Burke chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited of Northern Virginia) plans each year. I went with a number of projects in mind, and was delighted to finish quite a lot!

One of Judy Gula's completed Black & White & Bold All Over art quilts

I began with the task of finishing off some of the arts quilts that were used to demonstrate steps with when teaching recently at Art & Soul Portland. I am happy to announce that I will be teaching this Black & White & Bold All Over class, as well as my Vintage Hankie Quilt, at this year’s Quilter’s Unlimited Annual Quilt Show, taking place May 29-31 in Chantilly, VA (classes start Thursday, May 28). I’m delighted to be joining nationally known teachers Jane Dávila,
Dominique Ehrmann,
Gyleen Fitzgerald and
Cyndi Souder as the faculty for a really exciting lineup of classes.

An aside to my readers from out of town: this is really a show worth traveling for! In addition to the amazing slate of classes planned (open to all), you will see more than 400 quilts, plus the entire FiberBeatles art quilts collection will be on display in a special exhibit, and there is wonderful shopping from top vendors from around the country. Visitors consistently rate it one of the best quilt shows on the East Coast, so I hope you will join us!

After finishing the free motion stitching, I went to work on long-planned projects that used batik panels from our Batik Tambal line. Here I will be showing you some work from renowned batik artist Mahyar, has a very specific color and design aesthetic.

When I work with Indonesian batik panels, my go-to arrangement is to use complementary batik fabrics and create several strip borders. There are several reasons for this:

  • First: I prefer simple clean lines, simple borders or log cabin construction.
  • Second: I do not have a wide knowledge of quilt block construction- I never learned traditional quilting and thus can’t pull off several blocks the same size.
  • And while I sometimes think that my borders should be more complex (including pieced blocks or the like), but in these instances it’s important is to direct attention to the artistry in the panel.

Working with panels by Mahyar is one of those times where simple is better. All told I created three different quilt tops using different Mahyar panels, and in the coming weeks I will show you each and how I finished them.

Selecting fabrics to use with the Mahyar batik panel

My first step is to pull fabrics that I think will enhance the panel. I always advise pulling more than you think you will need or use, and to vary the light and darks.

Batik panel by Mahyer

Above, this is the first panel that I chose to work with. I thought this panel would make a great housewarming gift. I can think of several other ways to use this, maybe even in a traditional house block? This time, I chose to cut it up.

Batik panel by Mahyer, cut for use in a quilt

And that was difficult to do! (It may have taken me the longest amount of time all retreat!) Now what?

Working in strips, Mayher panel quilt

Above, I began working with the three pieces as individual blocks that I would eventually sew back together. Below, my first attempt at piecing it all together.

First version, Mahyer panel art quilt by Judy Gula

This was my first “Finished” pause. There is a lot of color and pattern in this, but the panels are not the focus. Usually I do not “unsew,” but this time I did, removing the blue border. I reduced the size of the orange and white fabric down the near middle (I measured, because I did not want that strip to be in the exact center) and the turquoise on the left.

Revised version, Mahyer panel art quilt by Judy Gula

Above, can you see the difference after the trimming? I see the panel details again that were lost in the top option. And it’s a good thing I like this one better, because I cut the fabric! There was no going back.

This is as far as I have gotten at the moment, my plan is to free motion stitch it, including a repeat of the tree pattern out into the blue border.

By challenging myself, I hope to challenge you to create using panels and a new way.

Check back for additional blog postings to see how these progress! And plan to visit the QU Show!

Plus, a reminder to anyone who is local or who will be in the area this Sunday: it’s our monthly JAMs meeting. Kathie Barrus will be giving a presentation/demo on PanPastels, and in addition to our usual ATC exchange it is our quarterly art paper doll exchange. And for all of us who have bought entire packages of decorative napkins to use one for collage, bring in your extras…we’ll have a one-to-one exchange where you can go home with a new stash while passing your duplicates along! Our group is open to anyone interested — please use MeetUp.com to contact us about your interest, or to RSVP for each monthly meeting.

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