February 21, 2023

"Let Every Instrument Be Tuned For Praise"

The music minister at our church retired last year. Billy Orton served for 23 years as Minister of Music and Worship at First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama; I was privileged to serve under his direction in both choir and orchestra for that entire time. To honor his service and retirement, I made a quilt for Billy and his wife Jane.

The quilt uses the church's logo appliqued on a linen background.

In the lower right of the quilt, I quilted a silhouette based on a photo I took during choir rehearsal a few years ago.

This is the photo I used for the silhouette; this image also appears on the quilt label.

The backing and binding are from a Tim Holtz print which has colors similar to both colors of the church logo. There are music notes incorporated in this print as well. I used fussy cuts from this fabric for some of the applique pieces too, in both colors.

I generally avoid photographing quilts in bright sun, especially at noon, but for this quilt midday sun worked best to highlight the quilting.

This photo, taken in morning shade, has more even lighting but the quilting does not show as well. 

I've pieced smaller versions of this logo into mini quilts before (see here and at the end of this post), but applique seemed easier at this scale. I had the logo printed on 36"x48" paper at a local office supply store and cut the pattern from that. I used raw edge applique and added a minimum of quilting inside the shapes.

For the background quilting, I divided the space to mimic stained glass, as in the logo.

I titled the quilt "Let Every Instrument Be Tuned For Praise," using a phrase from the hymn "When In Our Music God Is Glorified."

A glamour shot with a glimpse of the back combined with the front:

My wife and I met up with Billy and Jane recently to deliver the quilt and catch up with each other. I believe they were genuinely thrilled with the quilt.

February 1, 2023

Kaleidoscope Star

I had been tossing around an idea of using stripes in a Lone Star quilt when Alison Glass's Kaleidoscope Stripes were released. They seemed a great fit for what I had in mind.

I designed this quilt to take advantage of the Kaleidoscope fabrics. Because of the scale of the stripes, I chose relatively large diamonds (3.5" finished width), producing a star 68 inches across. With the borders, the quilt is about 85 inches square.

I used strip piecing methods to piece the star, alternating between strips cut across the width of the fabric with strips cut lengthwise, so that the stripes go in alternate directions within a strip set.

The background fabric is Essex Speckle Yarn Dyed in Black.  (That's not dust in the photos, that's the speckles which are woven into the fabric.)

I knew quilting with black thread would not show up well on the black fabric. I used iridescent thread (Superior Glitter 109) for selected features, and did additional quilting with black thread anyways.

The quilting is hard to capture in photos, but this view gives an idea of where I used the iridescent thread:

Here's a detail showing the quilting in the border:

The backing fabric is a Ruby Star Society sateen. The dark background and bright accent colors work well with the front of the quilt. The binding is a Kaleidoscope solid.

I didn't get quite the effect I was hoping for with the stripes -- I think a more uniform stripe, or fussy cutting of these, might work better. But I'm still happy with the bright and cheery look of the quilt.

October 24, 2022

Cosmic Curves

My latest quilt was inspired by the iconic mosaic at First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama.

I designed the quilt using computer drawing software, drawing various large ellipses and capturing their overlaps. The resulting pattern shapes were printed on 36"x72" paper by PDF Plotting.

The fabrics in the quilt are all yarn dyes. I used a number of Allison Glass Kaleidoscope and Kaffe Fassett shot cottons. There are also two Kona Sheen (Dazzling Blue and Green Shimmer), plus Essex Speckle in Aqua; these provide some textural contrast.

(When I first saw Kona Sheen in a shop I thought there were metallic threads interwoven in the fabric; they are actually standard Kona solids printed with a metallic overlay.)

The quilt is finished with a facing, using a tutorial by Audrey Esarey at Cotton & Bourbon.

I generally use wool batting for my quilts -- I like how the puffiness gives definition to the quilting. But for this quilt, because of the need for heavy pressing to complete the facing, I wanted to avoid wool. Instead, I used two layers of cotton batting (Quilters Dream Select). I like how well the quilting shows; the drawback is the quilt feels relatively stiff.

I quilted different designs in each segment of the quilt.

The backing, facing, and hanging sleeve are an ombre by P&B.

The mosaic at First Baptist Church was completed in 1973 and depicts the Cosmic Christ as described in Revelation 1.  The original installation did not weather well, and a complete restoration was begun in 2017; the restoration was completed just this year.

The mosaic is sometimes affectionately referred to as Eggbeater Jesus.

While the artwork of the mosaic is based on Biblical references, influence of the Rocket City's ties to NASA and the space program are apparent as well, as are the influences of the time (1960s-70s).

June 26, 2022

For Taylor and Noah

 Our son Noah and his bride Taylor were married last Friday.

I made a quilt for them using colors found in their registry. A double wedding ring design seemed a natural; the color placement was inspired by a small graphic icon I saw online. I tried to keep it clean and simple based on my impression of what they might like.

The fabrics are Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Soft White, Ice Blue, and Delft.

I quilted a monogram in the center of the quilt. We were pleasantly surprised to see a similarity with the wedding cake -- this was totally unplanned.

I tried to quilt some large designs in the background. The intended diamond does not show as well as I'd like; I think parallel lines would have been a better fill.

The backing is a Mammoth Flannel plaid. The batting is Dream Wool; I'm hoping this is a warm, snuggly quilt.

We are very happy and proud for Noah and Taylor as they start their life together, and wish them much happiness.

June 8, 2022

A Yellowstone quilt

I used a set of Yellowstone National Park panels and added some of my own photos printed on fabric to create this quilt.

I had the photos printed at Spoonflower. The solids are various yarn dyes and cross weaves.

The backing is Mammoth flannel, and I used wool batting. This should be a warm quilt.

Here are individual views of each panel:

The hanging sleeve uses the same flannel fabric as the backing. When making the sleeve, I was concerned the creases might not hold well, so I marked the center line before folding in to meet it, then I stitched down the outer creases not far from the edge. I could have used a basting stitch for this step and removed them later, but I chose to leave the stitches in as sort of a topstitch. It seemed helpful when hand stitching the sleeve to the quilt, too.

I like the weight the flannel backing gives to the quilt, and the plaid seems fitting to the National Parks theme. I've used Mammoth flannel as the backing of each of my National Parks quilts.