Welcome to to the second introductory post of the Aussie Aviatrix Quilt-a-long. If you missed the introduction last week, you can read it here.
How did you go last week? Have you bought your pattern and fabric yet? I’d love to see them; don’t forget to show me on Instagram by using the hashtag #aussieaviatrixqal
Today, we’re going to meet Elizabeth Hartman as well as talk a bit about cutting out this mammoth quilt.
Let’s first meet Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson.
1. Could you please introduce yourself briefly to us?
I’m from Portland, Oregon, and have been making things all my life. Everyone in my family makes things. I taught myself to make quilts about 15 years ago and have been doing it ever since.
Because I’ve always made things myself, I’ve never really been one for following patterns. I prefer to make the patterns myself. I like the combination of math and design involved in the process of quiltmaking. Another of my favourite things about making quilts (and design in general) is using color. I love color and I love finding new ways to use it.
The Aviatrix Medallion is a good example of a project that is a happy combination of math, color, and design. I spent a lot of time figuring out how everything would fit in the quilt, what colors would go where, and how the pattern could be written so that it would use exactly 25 colors and fat quarters. I’m thrilled with the results and hope that you are too!
2. What was your intial inspiration for the Aviatrix Medallion quilt? How did the creative process work for you – eg did the design or the colours come first (did you decide you wanted to do a quilt in these colours, or a medallion quilt and go from there)?
I’m going to answer these two questions together.
I actually designed most of the layout more than a year before I made the quilt. Though I have yet to make this quilt with her fabric, it was inspired by Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park collection for Michael Miller and I tried to include elements that were reminiscent of the architecture of Portland (Oregon) bridges. I think that the X and Plus blocks in Border 3 are particularly successful in this regard. I also incorporated elements of some of my earlier work, including my Mixtape quilt (Border 2) and my Paintbox quilt (Border 5). I chose a Medallion structure both because I love to play with trends and because I felt the medallion structure was strongly architectural, making it appropriate for the subject matter.
The center block was the last part that I added. In my original sketches, it was empty space to which I was possibly going to add bird appliqués (similar to the Flight print in Waterfront Park). Because I ended up not making the quilt as originally planned, my sketches got shuffled around with other papers until I found them about a year later. At that point, I decided that a) I wanted to make the quilt, and b) I wanted to add a pieced center. Since so many medallion quilts have star blocks in the center, my first thought was to stay away from a star. However, when I started looking at the overall composition, particularly the degree to which it was composed of traditional blocks, I decided that a traditional star block would be a good choice. I had been wanting to make a Doves in the Window block for a long time and the bird motif played nicely with the rest of the composition.
I started this quilt five or six times before I finished it. Most of my starts included a scrappy assortment of fabrics in an analogous color scheme of golds, greens, and blues. They were okay, but I just wasn’t loving any of them. Coincidentally, around this time I had been talking to Robert Kaufman Fabrics about a “designer palette” of Kona Cotton solids and I thought that using a palette of solids for the quilt could be interesting. Knowing that Robert Kaufman would market my palette of solids in a fat quarter bundle, I spent some time figuring out how my existing design could be made from exactly 25 fat quarters. This involved creating 5 different colorways to be used within the quilt and choosing 5 different Kona solids for each colorway.
In the end, this project is as much a feat of math and organization as it is of design, and I’m really happy with the result.
3. How long did the process take?
I feel like this kind of question can really only be answered if a project is conceived of and executed within a very short period of time. With bigger projects, I just can’t quantify the little moments that contribute to the success of a design. I might have an epiphany while grocery shopping or wake up in the middle of the night and spend an hour sketching. Of course, I also have regular times that I sit down and do more tangible work like sewing and writing the pattern, but it’s not the only part of the process.
Like so many successful projects, it started out as one thing, became another, and was influenced by dozens of random events along the way.
4. Where can we find you?
If you would like to see more of my work, you can follow my blog www.ohfransson.com. I’m also @elizabethagh on Instagram. If you’re making the Aviatrix Medallion quilt, I encourage you to use #aviatrixmedallion on Instagram so that I (and everyone else!) can see your project.
Now, let’s talk about cutting out the Aviatrix Medallion. To read about how Elizabeth cut hers out, have a look at her blog post here.
The one thing I would say is: it’s going to take you longer than you think it will. The first post about piecing the quilt isn’t until 15 October, but don’t leave it until 14 October to start cutting.
I had three favourite tools when cutting my fabrics out:
1. Starch – I use Tonizone Starch. It’s an Australian product, available in Coles supermarkets. It makes fabrics easier to work with – as well as making cutting the small pieces easier it will make sewing them much easier as well.
2. My Sidekick Ruler. This is a specialty ruler designed by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. I had a suspicion that the template for Border Six would be the same size as one of the templates on the ruler and a fellow Instagrammer, @neeneeheeb, confirmed my suspicion. Go and have a look at her version of the quilt, it’s great. I taped the size of the template onto the ruler with washi tape and cut the strips as instructed, then cut the shapes using the ruler rather than the strips.
3. Zip Lock Bags. If you’ve read my post about my Ten Quilty Secrets, you’ll know that I am an anal quilter. I need to have everything very organised, especially in a quilt this sized. So, I used so many zip lock bags, you wouldn’t believe. I have one bag for each colour and each section. Here’s a picture of just the blues so you can imagine how many there are when you multiply that by five. I know that might seem like a bit of overkill, but it’s going to make it so much easier when it comes to making up each border.
What about you, how are you going with cutting out? More importantly, what’s your snack of choice when cutting out a quilt? Unfortunately mine is M&Ms but I’m working on eating less of them at the moment.
Don’t forget to tag your pictures with #aussieaviatrixqal when you post them to Instagram. I can’t wait to see them!