Earlier this year, my daughter, Alecia, recruited me to help with our grandchildren’s grade school’s annual fundraiser. She and another friend/Mom, Erica, and Erica’s Mom, Ann, and I met at a local coffee shop to brainstorm what we could make. Ann said she would like to help me with this year’s quilt and I welcomed the company.
We reviewed various ideas and were inspired by a piece the Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky, painted called Color Study, Squares with Concentric Circles, which he painted in 1913.
We thought it would be a fun idea to work with the children to create a quilt that would somewhat replicate the colors and designs from this very famous work of art.
Originally, I thought we could freehand machine appliqué the circles and then I discovered a digitized appliqué pattern from Bella Nona I could use on my embroidery machine. I made some adjustments to the designs in my embroidery software; namely, eliminating one of the circles of the designs so that we would have 4 circles of color (like Kandinsky’s Color Study). I also replaced the decorative stitches with a wider satin stitch for the outer rings.
The next step was to put together a palette of fabrics. Ann and I went to Quilt Crossing and used a mixture of Kaffe Fassett’s beautiful prints, some grunge fabrics as well as a variety of batik fabric.
Next , we visited the classroom and worked with the children to build swatch bundles of the fabrics they wanted to use for each of their blocks and also used larger swatches to determine our background colors.
When we met with the children, we explained who Wassilly Kandinsky was and they were eager to talk about his works of art. The children were particularly excited by the bright colors we chose for the quilt. They each contemplated as to what color swatches would be incorporated into their individual block. We labeled the blocks to keep them in order.
Now it was time for the construction of the quilt. I built a matrix to show the different sizes of squares we would need to cut for all the various blocks. Ann referred to this as she began to cut the fabric squares. Ann backed each fabric square with Heat n’ Bond Lite to give it more body. Then the various sizes of the fabric squares were stacked in order of the children’s swatches.
Ann and I had a fun time visiting as I sewed the individual blocks together. We had a good system as Ann would prepare the fabrics in order of the color swatches, while I sewed each block together. I would continue to work on the leftover fabric stacks in the evenings to insure we could progress to the next set of blocks in our next work session.
Every child also signed a notecard with his/her signature and I digitized these names in my embroidery software. I added this as the final touch so we could identify each of the children’s blocks with their actual signature.
Block by block, a preview of what the finished quilt was going to look like emerged on my design wall. Finally, it was time for me to begin to sew the blocks together. It was so much fun to see our plan come to life.
Once the blocks were sewn together, I added on a black border to frame the quilt. Ann and I visited the classroom again to show the children the progress on their quilt. They loved all their blocks and the brilliant colors we used and were very excited! I also explained the remaining steps that were required to finish their quilt including, sandwiching the quilt front and back (with batting in between), pinning and quilting the three layers and then binding the quilt.
Now it was time to pin baste the quilt and we were grateful to use the Quilt Crossing’s classroom as a workplace because we could spread out. That evening, I quilted around each of the blocks and the quilt was now ready for the final steps.
The following afternoon, I showed Ann how I put my bindings on by machine, for a nice finished look. We also talked about a label for the quilt and decided on the content for the label. I designed a label in my software and stitched it out and then hand stitched it to the back of the quilt.
Ta Dah!!! The quilt was finished. We were so pleased with the final result and anxious to turn it in for the Spring fundraiser for the school.
This has been such a fun project to make for the Kindergarten class. I so appreciate Ann’s help and company as she prepped the squares, while I did the sewing – we were a great team! Of course, we are all anxious to see how the quilt will be accepted at the fundraiser, which will be covered in a future blog!
This rainy weather is a great time to be sewing. What projects have you been working on lately?