Friday, February 15, 2013

Harder than you think...

Remember the first time you went in to a quilt shop to "pull" a quilt?  I suspect most of us go in with one idea and come out with a completely different palette.
That is the case with this quilt top.  My-niece-the-athlete asked me to make her a batik quilt.  Seems easy enough to say yes to that.  But I had a few stipulations, knowing this young woman as I do.  SHE had to pick the fabrics.  SHE had to pick the pattern.  SHE had to lay out the blocks when they were done.  And, SHE will have to choose which quilting pattern SHE wants before this goes on the long arm during my next trip to Chicago. To say she is a woman with strong preferences would be a slight understatement (wouldn't it, doll, if you are reading this?).
Prior to starting the decision making process, she had been drawn to all the bright and geometric quilts I've made -- particularly those with white sashing and small blocks.  She spent hours and hours looking at jelly rolls in batiks, various color palettes and slowly began to narrow down her preferences.
That's so easy until you walk into a quilt store with about 200-300 bolts of batiks and everything flies out the window.  I had taken Cozy Modern Quilts by Kim Schaeffer since we obviously needed to know what the pattern was before we could go any farther. Her book has a lot of very geometric and striking designs and the minute my-niece-the-athlete saw this pattern, one decision was made.
Now the fabric.  That process took a little longer -- like hours longer.  She pulled bolts, we looked at bolts, we added, we took away, we closed our eyes, we opened our eyes, we added more, we took away more, we talked to other quilters in the store and ultimately -- SHE decided on the fabrics and the sashing.  And we were done.  At least with that part.
She did a fabulous job.  I went into the store thinking I was going to be working on a "knock-your-eyes-out" bright quilt.  I left the store with beautiful, soft, calming fabrics that have created a very different feel when they have all been put together.

There is a LOT of sewing in this quilt.  The 90 blocks each have 21 pieces in them (sashing finishes at 1") and then I sashed the left side and top on each block as I went.  I did not want to trust getting all those little 1" square sashing blocks out of alignment for my geometric girl!  It worked and the blocks pretty much lined up with minimal "scootching" required.

While I love this book and am about to start a new quilt from it out of my beautiful pink FQ bundle from my-niece-the-quilter -- I urge you to read it carefully and work out the pattern in your head.  I've fussed a bit before that the quilts are all reduced to minimal steps and without caution, you can over cut.  I actually was able to do a little bit of strip piecing on this quilt by thinking it through and speeding up the process just a tad.  In the end, this quilt is 7.5' x 7.5'.  It's not a small quilt and mis-cutting batiks would have made me very very very unhappy.    As it was, my waste has been minimal.

I hope you have someone in your life that loves your quilting and wants to share in it in some way!


Saturday, February 2, 2013


I love this quilt top.  I love everything about it...
  • the fabric...
  • the colors...
  • the randomness...
  • the journey...
  • and that the top is done.
I have talked about this quilt and what it represented in my Quilting as Therapy post as well as this one.
This past weekend I decided it was time to get all the four patches out and put them on the design wall. It was so fun! If you haven't been on this journey -- the blocks are 2.5" (finishing at 2") and the sashing is 1" (finishing at 1/2").

Lots of pinning. At every single intersection.
Lots of ironing.
And a reminder of why I do so love all the different shot cottons.  They sparkle a bit more than homespuns -- but of course, not nearly so much as silks.  That's a dream for a different day (or year!).  This had a blue and peach in the warp and weft - and it changes color depending on the light.
When I was putting this together -- I just started sewing (after LOTS of cutting).  I tried to be as random as possible and not over-think the color placement.  I basically sewed up every square I had cut and here is my waste.  Eleven of the sashed 2.5" squares, 3-4 partial strips that were cut so far off grain that I couldn't bring myself to put such crooked squares in the quilt, and a tiny bit of Aurafil thread.  This top required almost a full spool of Aurafil -- that gives me some perspective on how much sewing this little beauty actually has in it.  It has done exactly what I needed for various periods of transition in my life in the past two years.
And finally -- as I was heading back upstairs this morning (after taking a picture in 16 degrees!), the light coming through the beveled window in the front door caught my attention.  I threw the top on the steps, stepped back, and let the fractured light and prisms dance on the fabric.  Oh my!

I hope you are working on something that makes your heart sing!