Finished! Evelyn’s Quilt

January 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm Leave a comment

A clean start to the new year!

A clean start to the new year!

So, half a UFO is complete! As I posted before, I still have the other 72 matching Broken Dishes blocks in the UFO box. But I finished piecing the complete set, made a quilt top with the first 72, and I produced a pink quilt to give to a baby girl for Christmas.

Evelyn on Evelyn's Quilt, 48" x 48"

Evelyn on Evelyn’s Quilt, 48″ x 48″

The particular strain of Murphy’s law that has afflicted this project was still in effect, though:  when I basted it, I pretrimmed the batting and discovered that no matter what the packaging says in regard to dimensions,

Oops

Oops

I still need to measure twice and cut once. Thank goodness for the Pellon fusible batting tape I bought at the Lancaster show last year!

Good stuff to have around.

Good stuff to have around.

Since I always like to get some contrast between the piecing and the quilting design, I knew I wanted to quilt curves. I had originally planned to keep the quilting formal, perhaps with a lacy Spinal Twist design from Megan Best in the white “pathways” and then something less elaborate but still following the Barn Raising-style concentric diamonds created by the fuchsia and purple triangles. If I had been trying to make an heirloom quilt, that probably would have been the way to go. However, despite the formal setting and all the white in this top, I wanted to make a quilt that would be put down on the floor for the baby to play on and spit up on, for the cat to lay on and for her parents to feel comfortable stuffing in the beach bag and then tossing in the washing machine. Therefore, I decided to take the quilting in a decidedly non-traditional direction.

I’m trying to become more comfortable with all-over quilting designs that disregard not only piecing lines but also the “pathways” created by contiguous areas of the same color or value of fabric. While I’m certainly not a fan of the overuse of lowest-common-demoninator, just hold the three layers together pantograph quilting, there is definitely a time and place for an all-over design. Hopefully this quilt falls into that category.

Quilting Detail, Evelyn's Quilt

Quilting Detail, Evelyn’s Quilt

I’ve been reading Leah Day’s blog a lot lately, and her recent design “Flower Power” really captured my imagination. I thought it would add some youthful feminine whimsy to this quilt without getting too crazy. I further attempted to keep things upbeat and casual by choosing a Superior Threads Rainbows variegated thread in neon pink, orange, yellow, and lime green. And although I planned out a general strategy for the placement of the giant daisies, I did them completely freehand and without marking. I purposely kept them “consistently inconsistent” so I could vary the size and degree of symmetry as the top dictated, without making any one stand out. And I think overall, I was successful.

Not that I didn’t have problems. I originally planned to get all the quilting done at my recent guild retreat, but I made the mistake of only bringing along some pink Wonderfil thread for the bobbin that absolutely did not play well with the Rainbows on top; after quilting three daisies and having the thread break for the sixth or seventh time, I packed it in and made Shop Hop blocks from 2008 (more on that later.) Not that my quilting was completely free of frustrations when I tried again at home:  although Bottom Line was much more successful in the bobbin, I still had trouble with occasional breakage when I’d go through heavy seam allowance convergence areas.

Also, this design really showcased a continuing weakness in my machine quilting because the extremely large petals are essentially long straight lines that require at least one, sometimes more, stops to reposition my hands as I stitch them. (Fortunately I have managed to break myself of the habit of trying to stitch beyond the area of my hands’ control, which has most definitely improved my quilting.) But while I do continue to take Karen Kay Buckley‘s advice from her long-ago class, to only stop a straight line at an intersection to hide any wobbles when restarting (I tried to use seams whenever possible,) my stitch length is still noticeably inconsistent when restarting; I tend to have a few shorter stitches till I get going again. Also, I need to be more cognizant of approaching seam intersections to help prevent short stitches or wobbly lines resulting from the foot getting hung up or deflected by the increased bulk. I think stitching over complex piecing is one of the areas in which domestic machine quilting really has a handicap compared to longarm. It’s not that it can’t be done, obviously, just that I still need a lot of practice to do it well.

But that’s the beauty of a quilt like this:  it was far more important to finish this quilt than to try to make it perfect. I’m great at doing but lousy at practicing; the prospect of making a bunch of muslin quilt sandwiches to practice my quilting before embarking on a big project would just drive me away from the sewing machine. Instead, I practice by quilting actual quilts that will serve actual purposes, rather than just being thrown away or stuffed in a drawer. (And no, I am NOT making my practice sandwiches into placemats. If anyone wants to torture me, they can force me to attach binding to a whole bunch of small pieces I don’t like very much.) This isn’t a practice quilt, but a real quilt with a real destiny that allowed me to try something different without too much pressure to make something perfect. And I think the result is pretty, functional, and FINISHED!!!

Back detail, Evelyn's Quilt

Back detail, Evelyn’s Quilt

The back was bought at a discount on the most recent shop hop, and I don’t think I could have found a more perfect match for the fuchsia and purple at any price (not that I brought the blocks with me, so my freaky superpower for color memory persists.) The binding was a stash fabric, and although I briefly flirted with a wild impulse to bind this quilt in lime green, cooler heads prevailed. Maybe that’s what I’ll do for the remaining set of blocks.

For a happy dance, I’ll go with “Almost There” from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.” Cassandra gave the DVD to Ronan this Christmas, and I love it! Funny how the one genre where classic movie musicals never went out of style was in animation aimed at children. I also got an education when I researched this number, in that the animators were specifically inspired by the work of Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglas, whose gorgeous work I wasn’t familiar with till now. Enjoy!

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Entry filed under: UFOs. Tags: , , , , .

UFO Status Report, End of November 2012 Cheesecake!

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