Every year the Prairie Heritage Quilt Show has a mini quilt challenge. Every year my mother-in-law, Diane Lapacek, and I join in the fun. And every year, we compete against each other. Diane is an extremely talented and skilled quilter – in fact, she’s the one who taught me how to quilt in the first place. There has only been ONE year that I received a ribbon that was higher than hers … although if I remember correctly last year we tied … We do this in good fun and whoever is the “loser” of the year has to buy into the challenge for the next year.
My initial thought was to do a landscape quilt in a column format … but when the due date was just a few weeks away I knew I would have to alter my thoughts.
I went strictly with the “Column” quilt theme and thought it would be fun to make another, smaller version of my quilt “In the Garden.” I didn’t want to go as BIG as before but wanted to incorporate some of the same elements as I had in the original quilt. I started by creating the circle columns.
The Process: In the Garden: Columns
On a strip of HeatnBond Lite that was 3.25” x 24” I sketched out a grid that divided the strip in half and evenly spaced the circles. I used an Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter to cut all my circles out perfectly. The trick to these circle strips is that I not only use the circles that I cut out but I also use the leftover strip of the cutouts. By doing this I have two fabulous strips created with half the effort!
I also used my tri-recs ruler to create some triangle blocks in different angles than you’re used to seeing.
And then of course I also made up some half square triangles, nine patches, and square in a square blocks. I just made without thinking too much about exactly where this was headed. Before I knew it I had enough to make my 24” quilt (the size required by the challenge).
It was now time to put the blocks up on my design wall and see where things were at. I thought it looked cool but something wasn’t quite right. I had some time so I let the piece simmer on the wall for a bit.
I realized I wanted to mix it up a bit by adding in some thinner strips. I did this in the same method as the original “In the Garden” Quilt. I cut thin strips of the same pieces of gelato ombre fabrics and then sewed them together so the ombre effect moved opposite each other. It creates a really cool effect with a really simple method. I was much happier with how this was looking and at this point I was definitely running out of time. I sewed up the columns and put the piece together.
Once the top was pieced, I layered, and basted the quilt so it was ready for some quilting.
I chose to quilt the majority of this piece with 50 wt Aurifil 2210 and then one column with 28 wt Aurifil 2520. It was fun to just mix things up a bit. I’m almost out of my 2210 cone and I need to add that onto my shopping list. It’s really a great color to use as a neutral.
I keep a collection of quilting books next to my Bernina to find inspiration for free motion quilting. The majority of the inspiration for the quilting in this piece came from Angela Walter’s books “Shape by Shape” and “Shape by Shape, collection 2”. Since I have so many geometrical shapes in this piece this book worked fabulously.
Each circle is quilted with different, fun quilting patterns. Then, I used ideas from Angela’s border sections to quilt each column in a different “theme”. The quilting on this 24” piece took me about 4 hours and I loved every second of it. I don’t like quilting big quilts as I get bored but working on a different design in each column was calming and fun.
Here is the completed piece – “In the Garden: Columns.” I’ll be dropping it off today so it’s judged before the show at the end of March. If you’d like to see it in person it will be hanging at the Sun Prairie Quilt Show from March 24th – 26th in Sun Prairie, WI.
Name: In the Garden: Columns
Finished Quilt Size: 24″ x 24″
Pattern Used: Original, Inspired by “In the Garden”
Fabric: Ombre Gelato
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Premium Cotton