The Journal Quilts Project (2004)

Participants were to make 9 small (8 ½” x 11”) quilts, each a finished quilt, one for each month starting in January. We were urged to explore new techniques and think outside the box. I took the opportunity to try some work I hadn’t dared do on a larger scale, and by the end of the project, had even gotten fairly decent at free-motion quilting!

I wanted to unify these pieces somehow, so I chose to make flower/leaf designs, and used fabrics that were somewhat compatible. Viewing the Journal quilts as they were hung in Houston, the most successful to me, were those with a bit of unity, whether in design or color.

Due to space limitations, we only sent in five to be hung, although we had to send photos of the other four (guaranteeing that we had made all nine) and we all chose the best five of course!


The daisies, leaves, and stem are made with raw-edge pieces, fused to the background and stitched down with a small zig-zag stitch. I outlined all the pieces with a straight-stitch in the ditch, and then free-motion-quilted the background; used a classic straight binding with mitered corners. I’m pleased with the clean look of the design.


I tried machine reverse-applique for this oak leaf, using monofilament thread and a small machine appliqué stitch. I’m not too thrilled with the dark shadow-through around the leaf, but the technique is effective. The acorns were fused and appliquéd from the top. I used free-motion flame-type stitching for the background, and finished with a butted binding.


The raggedy-raw-edged flowers were made using a technique learned from my friend, Carol Owen. I tore strips of batik and arranged them in circles, randomly scrunching and pleating them. Each layer is sewn down individually, making a great three-dimensional flower. The leaves are not fused, just stitched on the vein-lines. Diagonal background lines were sewn with the walking foot. The binding is faced, then folded to the back.


These flowers were made using the schnibbles and trimmings from my new quilt, held down with netting stitched in circles. The leaves are fused and embroidered with metallic thread (which broke every few inches). Echo quilting done with a walking foot for evenness. I added a few beads to brighten the dark murky centers. Faced binding.


Using a branch from my red maple tree as a pattern, I cut leaves from several different batiks, which were then arranged in a cluster and fused down. Free-motion stitching was used for the leaf veins, and small stipple quilting in the background. Pieced binding, using fabrics from the quilt…effective but bulky on this small piece.

The September entry was chosen to be in the Journals Quilt Book project, to be published in Fall 2006, which pleased me.

The “also-rans”….not in the first five:


The flowers were pieced using a crazy-patch technique, on separate foundations. The finished flowers were then attached to background with a straight stitch. Quilting in the ditch on all the pieces in the flowers. Background quilting was done with a walking foot, echoing the flower shapes. The straight binding was pieced using colors from the flowers.


The fern figure was outlined with green straight stitching and then was shadow quilted by putting dark fabric between the background and the batting. The fern leaves were quilted, emphasizing the shapes. Sharp lines of background free-motion quilting, somewhat in the direction of the fern leaves. Thin binding, wider on the back.


I painted tulips, using fabric paints. The long leaves are raw-edge appliqué, attached only by long lines of top stitching. Petal lines in the tulips were done free-motion, as was the background quilting. The edge is turned over and top-stitched with straight stitching.


The large petals of the flower are thread-painted, first with color to outline, and then with iridescent thread filling in the petals. Small stipple quilting in the background, done free-motion. Straight 2-step binding.

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