Quilts by
Lorrie Faith Cranor


My quilts were featured in the Quilt Inspiration blog in the article Engineering and quilts, by Lorrie Faith Cranor on March 12, 2010.

Circular Logic, 2002
machine pieced and appliqued, machine quilted, 39 in. x 39 in.

The design for this quilt came to me while waiting for a delayed flight in the Nashville airport. I sketched the grid design and the concentric circles on a small notepad, and that's the design I worked from when I started cutting fabric. I started thinking about concentric circles because many of my son's toys have concentric circle designs, and I noticed adjacent concentric circles on a roll of paper towels. I have seen some of David Walker's concentric circle quilts too, and liked the design. The design for this quilt is actually three layers. The background is a blue square grid with water color quilt style gradations. The foreground is the concentric circles, which are machine appliqued with a zigzag stitch. The translucent circles and the metalic quilting form the third layer, breaking up the symetry of the other two layers and providing a ripple effect. I made up the design for the third layer as I went along, and kept adding more quilted lines and circles until I decided it was done.

Circular Reasoning, 2002
machine pieced and appliqued, machine and hand quilted, 37 in. x 37 in.

This quilt was made from the left overs from Circular Logic (perhaps it represents the holes in the logic...). The overall design and look is similar; however, this quilt features a lot more surface embellishment and quilting. I used some interesting yarn for couching around the circles. I used perl cotton thread for some big stitch hand quilting. The machine quilting is done with a variety of threads. The quilting is very dense -- every inch of this quilt is quilted! I did some of the machine quilting in parallel lines with a walking foot, but most of it is done as free motion doodling.

Animal Fair baby quilts, 2002
machine pieced and quilted, 37 in. x 37 in.

I found the animal fabric and then designed these quilts around the fabric.

Happy Flowers, 2002
machine pieced, hand quilted, 24 in. x 24 in.

This quilt is a simple log cabin variation. My focus in making this quilt was on color. I used perl cotton thread for big stitch hand quilting.

Four-Square Baby Quilts, 2002
machine pieced and quilted, 35 in. x 35 in.

I made these blocks by piecing long strips and cutting out squares on the diagonal. The quilting is all done in lime green spirals. This is a very simple design but the color combination gives it a more complicated dynamic look.

Buddhiquilt, 2003
machine pieced and quilted, 30 in. x 30 in.

This quilt is made from the same block as Thesis but the arrangement and coloring is quite different. The quilting is quite detailed and the piece is also embellished with couching.

Fanciful Fish, 2003
machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted, 20.5 in. x 20.5 in.

This quilt began in a David Walker workshop on background that I took about two years ago. The purple and blue background was done in class using David's reverse applique technique in which two fabrics are stitched together with lots of lines and then the top fabric is selectively cut away. I then zigzagged over all the lines with metalic thread. I fused fabric for the fish on top of the background and covered the edges with zigzag stitching and couching. The background is quilted with spirals, picking up the spiral theme used in several of the fabrics. There is not much quilting in the fish due to the difficulty of quilting through the fusible web. There is one line of hand quilted "big-stitch" quilting on the fish's head.

Painted Sun, 2003
machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted, 24 in. x 24 in.

This quilt is composed of 16 blocks that are all the same, but rotated in different directions. I wanted to design a quilt based on a "string art design." I played with designs in PowerPoint and eventually came up with this one. It is generated by drawing an octogon; connecting all of the points; chopping off the top, bottom, left, and right points; and dividing the remaining square into quarters. This design can be pieced using traditional piecing methods or by paper-piecing four triangles. In order to get it done faster (I was trying to finish this quilt as a surprise for my husband before he returned from a trip), I applied David Walker's reverse applique technique. I printed templates on a laser printer and layered squares of purple and orange fabric under the template. I stitched along all the lines of the template with purple thread and removed the paper. Using sharp applique scissors I cut away every other polygon from the purple fabric, revealing the orange fabric below. I then used a zigzag stitch to machine applique over all the edges with purple thread.

Thesis II, 2003
machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted, 56. x 56 in.

This quilt uses the same block design as Thesis (in color) and Buddhiquilt. While the first Thesis quilt focused on color, this one focuses on pattern. I've used fabrics that read almost as solids in this quilt and placed the colors so as to achieve fairly strong contrast and bring out the patterns of the design. This quilt is heavily quilted, with many different colors of thread. The "windows" were machine reverse-appliqued in a shiny translucent pink fabric after the quilting was completed.

Tic Tac Toe Baby Quilt , 2003
machine pieced and quilted, 37 in. x 37 in.

This design was inspired by a photo of Judy Hooworth's Pink Lattice quilt in the July/August 2003 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. All the fabrics I used were fabrics I already had in my collection.

Four-Square 3 Baby Quilt , 2003
machine pieced and quilted, 40 in. x 40 in.

Another variation on this design, this time with a jungle print. A larger version of the jungle print is on the back.

Fiesta Fish Baby Quilt , 2003
machine pieced and quilted, 38.5 in. x 47 in.

This quilt was inspired by a quilt on the cover of You are My Sunshine: A Medley of Colorful Quilts for Kids by Christiane Meunier and Karen Bates. I added the pieced border and changed the color placement around. I started with the fish fabric and selected batik fabrics from my collection to coordinate. I also used the fish fabric on the back.

Bouncing Bugs Baby Quilt, 2003
machine pieced and quilted, 38.5 in. x 47 in.

This is the same design as Fiesta Fish but with different fabric. I had a lot of trouble figuring out what fabric would coordinate well with the bug fabric, but in the end I was quite pleased with the combination that I ended up using. There is green frog fabric on the back.

Monkeying Around and Around and Around, 2003
machine pieced and quilted, 58 in. x 50 in.

I started with the traditional "monkey wrench" block and kept adding more triangles. Then I used Photoshop to give the whole thing a "twist." I projected the image onto a large sheet of roll paper and traced the outline of the shapes. I then traced each shape onto freezer paper to make templates for cutting and marking the fabric. I pieced this quilt while nine months pregnant, and assembled it during early stages of labor. I started quilting it a few weeks later while my infant daugter was napping. The entire quilt is very heavily quilted.

Farm Friends, 2004
machine pieced and quilted, 38.5 in. x 47 in.

Another variation on Fiesta Fish.

More Fun Than A Barrel of Monkeys, 2004
machine pieced and quilted, 38.5 in. x 47 in.

Yet another variation on Fiesta Fish.

A Quilt for My Bed, 2005
machine pieced and quilted, 89.5 in. x 97.5 in.

This is my first real bed quilt (for a bed larger than a crib). I designed this quilt for my queen sized bed. I wanted a quilt that would go well with the light blue walls and plum carpet picked out by the previous owners of my house. I found the blue paisley fabric on clearance and bought about 16 yards of it. I used it in every other square, the border, and the entire quilt back. The other squares and rectangles are from fabrics in my stash that seemed to go well with the paisleys. I included the banana fabric as a personal touch (I eat bananas all the time, and so do my kids). The pattern is an expanded version of the pattern I've used for a few baby quilts. It is easy to piece and goes together fast. I decided to go with something simple so that I would be able to finish the quilt in a reasonable amount of time. It still took me about four months to get it pieced. I used cotton poly fusible batting and free motion quilted the entire quilt without marking it. Wrestling this large quilt under my sewing machine was a considerable challenge. But once I got going, the quilting went pretty quickly.

Nina's baby quilt, 2006
machine pieced and quilted, 38.5 in. x 44 in.

Emma's baby quilt, 2007
machine pieced and quilted, 38.5 in. x 44 in.

The inspiration for this quilt was a photograph I saw in a newspaper of a quilt called "Alhambra Star" made by Paul Pilgrim. Pilgrim's quilt is done in earth tone fabrics, and uses a more complex block in place of the checkerboards and the plain squares in the center of the stars. My version is simpler and is done in bright happy colors. I bought the fish fabrics especially for this quilt and selected fabrics from my stash to coordinate with them.

120 Birthdays, 2007
machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted, 70 in. x 42 in.

This is a much larger version of Painted Sun, constructed using the same reverse applique technique. I made this quilt for my parents' combined 60th birthdays. It contains 60 blocks and 120 different fabrics. I used only fabrics already in my collection to make this one.

Colfax Auction Quilt, 2008
machine pieced and quilted, 38.5 in. x 47 in.

Yet another variation on Fiesta Fish.

Carnegie Mellon Children's School 40th Anniversary Quilt 2008-2009
machine pieced and quilted, 65 in. x 89 in.

The Children's School staff asked if I would make a giant apple tree quilt for their 40th anniversary. They wanted people to be able to write their names on apples and put it on the tree. I agreed before realizing just how big the tree would need to be to make this work. I sketched the design on a sheet of notebook paper, superimposed a grid on it, and then drew it full size on large roll paper (helpfully gridded by other Children's School parents). I pieced the sky and then used freezer paper templates for the other shapes. Most of the pieces are raw-edge appliqued with zig-zag stitching around the edges. I fused the letters and apples in place. The butterflies are two layers of fabric fused together and sewed to the quilt in the middle so the wings are loose. (Thanks to other parents for cutting out all the apples and butterflies and coloring the apple stems). I machine-quilted the whole thing free motion with my new Bernina.

Women@INI Quilt 2009-2010
blocks hand pieced and appliqued by WINI members and friends, quilt machine pieced and quilted, 44 x 27.5 in.

I led a quilt workshop for Women@INI, the women's group for the CMU Information Networking Institute masters program. Each participant pieced one block and fused on a letter. I pieced the whole thing together and quilted it.

Colfax Auction Quilt, 2010
machine pieced and quilted, 38.5 in. x 47 in.

Yet another variation on Fiesta Fish.

2hip 2b square, 2010
machine pieced and quilted, 24 in. x 24 in.

I made this quilt for the Institute for Software Research lounge on the fourth floor of Wean Hall at Carnegie Mellon University. I used more of an improvisational technique than I usually do. I used some computer-generated random art as inspiration for a small pencil sketch that showed the polygons and a rough sense of color intensity. I scanned my sketch, enlarged it, and printed it out at full scale and half scale to create templates for the inner and outer polygons. I picked my color scheme, sorted the colors by hue and value, and then picked them out as I went. I cut out the inner polygons and then cut strips and added them log cabin style until they were the needed size for the outer polygons. I did stitch in the ditch machine quilting and some shadow quilting. Then I did some free motion quilting in the inner polygons because I couldn't resist.

See also my recent quilts, quilts made between 1993 and 2001 and my quilted clothing page.

Lorrie Faith Cranor