Catawampus Quilt

My Catawampus Quilt hung in the Lucky Spool booth at Quilt Market this fall and has been shared a bit on Instagram as a result. But I haven’t shared it here yet! I like to have each quilt documented on my blog–it helps me when I forget things!

This quilt can be found in the shape section of my book, Improv Paper Piecing. The exercise that corresponds with this block is titled “Wonky” because I started my design process with an asymmetrical or wonky half hexagon.  I named the quilt Catawampus, a word meaning askew, awry, or cater-cornered.  To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard the word until I was writing the book. I was using the Thesaurus to look up some new terms for “askew” and “asymmetrical” because I was using them so heavily in my writing.  And that’s how I found Catawampus.  I had to use it. What a fun word!

I made this quilt in the fall and collected the items in the photo above from my late fall garden to serve as color inspiration. I enjoyed using the warm color tones and it was the first time that I ever used yellow for a quilt background.  It felt very brave at the time but I love it!  The quilt is just so warm and happy.  It was also a lot of fun to make.  I can imagine it as a great scrap buster too, can’t you?  I actually worked exclusively from my stash for this one and I bet you could too.

It’s quilted in straight lines, about a half inch apart. I quilted that way because the straight lines help to obliterate the construction seams which really make the half hexies look like they are tumbling down.

Here’s a great photo of the quilt that couldn’t have happened without helpers.  I really like taking quilt photos on windy days because I think that quilts in motion are so pretty. But, there are obvious challenges.  My mom was right outside the edge of this picture ready to catch the quilt in case it blew off. It was also pinned to the railing because I really didn’t want it to land in the water!

I am excited to announce a contest based on my book this Wednesday!  If you don’t have a copy yet, you might want to pick one up because the prize is really, really good!!


Sea Glass Quilt

I just returned from QuiltCon in Savannah where I taught three classes, one of which was Improv Paper Piecing, based on the shape based section of my new book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design.  I really enjoyed teaching this class.  While I was writing this book, I was already anticipating what a fun workshop it would make, and I think it did!  At least, I know I had fun seeing the designs that my students were coming up with, helping them to figure out their numbering order for paper piecing, and then talking about all the possibilities for color placement and layouts to make their blocks successful.  Everyone made interesting and unique blocks. You can see some of them on my Instagram feed @duringquiettime.

I really think that this combination of improvisation and paper piecing, takes paper pieced design to a new level and it is so fun!!!

This is one of the quilts from the book; it’s called Sea Glass.  It’s one of the quilts that I showed my students because it’s from the shape based section of my book.  This quilt is composed of two paper pieced blocks, broken into a crazy quilt like design.  The blocks are unevenly sashed, on point, and rotated, resulting in irregular spacing throughout which I just love.

I normally quilt all my own quilts but chose to send this one out to Christina Lane of Sometimes Crafter.  I feel like Christina really listened to me when I told her what I was looking for and she did impeccable work on my quilt.  I told her that as a designer, I want the bold shapes of the piecing to be the first thing that you see.  I wanted the quilting to be complimentary but not overpowering. The squares that were quilted in the background on the pieced side of the quilt, help emphasize the uneven nature of the spacing between blocks.  The quilting inside the squares suggests the prismatic quality of glass shards, which works well with the sharp and pointy piecing and the sea glass color palette. In the negative space, she quilted a zigzag edge to represent water washing onto the shore with circular bubbles for foam.  I think it was a successful collaboration and I am happy to recommend Christina’s work.

I need to give a shout out to my kids who where dragged around about this time last year on their school vacation so that I could take these photographs at the beach.  While it might not look it, it was freezing and quite windy at the sea shore here in New England, and they were pretty good sports.  They even modeled for me (though I didn’t end up using this photo in the book).  They also hid behind the boardwalk railing to hold the corner of my quilt while I took the pictures.  They were under strict orders not to let go for anything!

If you are interested in a copy of my book, you can purchase a signed copy with free shipping from my Etsy shop and of course, you can check your local quilt shop and book store or buy from Amazon.


Caged Quilt

Caged Quilt by Amy Friend

I recently finished my latest large scale paper piecing project, the Caged Quilt.  These blocks are BIG–nearly 3 feet long.  It made for tricky piecing but the paper piecing technique allowed for great precision which is what I was going for.  The finished quilt measures 50″ x 64″ and is made using five different Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements Solids, carefully chosen and placed to create a sense of depth and dimension.

Caged Quilt detail by Amy Friend

I created this design based on something I doodled in my sketchbook months ago.  After playing around with the design, I arrived at this layout and configuration. I think it has a strong Art Deco feel to it with the precise geometric design and bold colors.

Caged Quilting Detail by Amy Friend

I kind of didn’t want to quilt this piece at all because I loved the crisp, clean lines. I wanted to quilt it in a way that didn’t detract from that at all so I went with 1/2″ spaced lines using Aurifil 50 weight thread (their finer thread so it blended more than the 40 weight would have).  I wanted the piecing to be more prominent than the quilting.  I chose a light grey thread.

In this detail shot,  you can see a bit of the backing fabric–it was just perfect for the angularity of the pieced design!  It’s one of Pat Bravo’s Essentials II prints.

Caged by Amy Friend

I am really pleased with the execution of this design.  You just never know for sure until you try it, right?  I am happy that it turned out the way I had hoped.


Plumb Line Quilt

Plumb Line Quilt by Amy Friend

It’s so nice to have a finish!  It’s tricky to find time for my sewing with all the end of the school year/beginning of summer events and the demands of the garden which can be very appealing after a long winter.  I am naming this quilt Plumb Line, a suggestion made by @turquoiseprism on Instagram.  The name describes the shape so well!

The pattern is block based and paper pieced from a template of my own design.

I enjoyed working on this layout and playing with the placement of light and dark solids.  However, the turning point for me came when I removed some of the shapes from my layout to incorporate negative space.  I wasn’t satisfied so I  reintroduced of half, or one side, of the shapes I had just removed from my design.  The half shapes represent the darker sides and then the light side becomes part of the negative space or background.  Once I made that decision while playing around with the design digitally, I was happy and felt that I had hit upon a successful layout!

Plumb Line Quilt Detail by Amy Friend

I like the simplicity of the design and the clean lines.  I decided to make my quilting simple, accordingly.  I used an off white color Aurifil thread that was a little darker than the background but wasn’t too stark against the colorful shapes.  My lines are spaced 1/2″ apart.

Plumb Line Quilt Detail 2 by Amy Friend

The finished quilt measures 60″ x 64″. It is pieced with Art Gallery Pure Elements, quilted with Aurifil 40 weight thread and backed with Cotton + Steel Posy Leaf from the Paper Bandana collection.