New Small Quilts


The landscape is lush with Peonies and Irises this week. And the first summer heat is steaming things up after some dark rainy days.

As I mentioned in the last post, I have been yearning to get back to the craftsmanship of art quilting. I seem to be doing way too much piecing (with my FreeSpirit fabrics) and not enough applique. So after seeing Gwen Marston’s exquisite small quilts at Empty Spools Seminars this spring, I have decided to make as many small quilts as possible during the month of June. I’m having a blast with two quilts completed and one ready for stitching so far.

Since I had no special subject in mind when I started, I decided to pull shapes from my “orphan” collection… all the left over pieces from previous quilts that didn’t get used. Then I let the shapes start talking to each other and see where they take me. I love working in this collage technique, as the results are always a surprise.

Sassaman Spring Bud Quilt

Here is the first composition, Spring Bud, which is 14.5″ square. As the shapes fell into place a little bud started to develop. The wavy shapes hopefully imply the energy of growth. I did have to make a couple new pieces to fill out the idea, but basically, this little quilt was sitting in my scrap box just waiting to be discovered.

Sassaman Spring Bud Quilt Detail

Here is a detail of the stitching. The edges were finished with satin stitch on the quilt top. All the other stitching is quilting, including the small zig-zagged squares. All the straight stitching is done with Sew Sassy 12 weight thread by Superior. I love the confidence that the heavy threads supply.

Sassaman Spring Sprouts Quilt

Quilt number two, Spring Sprouts, is 14.5″ wide by 15.5″ tall. I am pleased with this abstract little piece. Obviously I gravitate to very graphic shapes. The power of combining contrasting shapes is quite evident here. The quilting was the icing-on-the-cake, though.

Sassaman Spring Sprouts Quilt Detail

Using some decorative stitches on my BERNINA 880, I quilted the black sprouts with branches and leaves. It was a pleasant surprise to see how this softened and enriched the whole composition. The little leaf motif was also used for quilting the background spaces. Lots of threads to bury, but worth the effort.

I hope these photos give you some inspiration to get into the sewing room and do some stitching and perhaps to sign up for a quilting workshop one day soon!

Madeline Island 1

Madeline Island School of the Arts, Jane Sassaman Workshop, July 13-17, 2015

@BERNINAUSA, #BERNINAUSA, @SuperiorThreads, #SuperiorThreads

5 Responses to “New Small Quilts”

  1. Kit Newlin says:

    You’ve inspired me once again Jane! What a dreamy way to use up scraps! Always a fan!

  2. Elena says:

    How beautiful!

  3. Kaholly says:

    I am truly dazzled!

  4. Joan Gale says:

    I took your class at Madeline a Island a couple of years ago and loved it. When I got home I tried using #12 thread and just couldn’t get the tension right. I also tried it in the bobbin. Could you give me some hints, size needle, etc?

    • Hi Joan, great to hear from you! Even though I have never had any tension issues on my BERNINA with 12 weight threads, I know that some machines do have tension dilemmas. I have always been able to use a #90/14 topstitching needle with regular tension. Superior recommends, however, that you use a #100/16 topstitching needle and 2.0 tension. So I would give that advise, too.

      For some of the new top-of-the-line BERNINAS you need to tap the manual threading button and then the needle threading button for the machine use topstitching or cordonnet thread successfully.

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