Recuperation is great for mindless sewing tasks such as sewing on quilt bindings. I actually got two largish quilts done since my surgery – Damask and Denim and Trip Around Columbus. It helped that the bindings were already made, so I just had to machine, then hand stitch them.
I quilted most of Damask and Denim (44 by 55 inches) with a golden yellow cotton thread, though I used a pale blue in the diamond interiors. The binding is a soft gray small print.
Trip Around Columbus was made from an Art Gallery pattern, and features many fabrics I made in a painted dye workshop. I had it quilted by a longarm quilter as the size (55 inches square) was just too large for me to deal with, especially after Damask and Denim. It’s bound with what I think is home dec fabric that was given to me. I also used some of it as part of the backing.
You can see how it crinkled up after washing and drying. I used a bamboo batting.
I have heaved a sigh of relief that these large projects are done, though they are no longer my excuses for postponing a piece that will require a lot of thinking and planning. It’s to be a map quilt of the Ohio and Erie Canal near my house. I’ve found archival photos that I hope to print on fabric. Right now I’m worrying over how best to do that, and have ordered supplies for different approaches – transfer printing and direct printing on fabric. I’m even considering a new printer, though I spent yesterday agonizing over reviews of various options. Some reviewers have had horrible experiences, which I’d prefer to avoid. If you have any recommendations, let me know.
This spring I seem to find it difficult to “close” some quilts. I’m trying to be disciplined and finish WIPs before I plunge into new endeavors, but it’s hard to return to pieces that have lost momentum.
My “Mean Streets” is almost completely free motion quilted, but I’m hemming and hawing about final touches.
My girls have received some stitching attention, and are now attached to the already quilted top, along with some waves. I need to settle on a hot air balloon arrangement and sew them down.
“Stripes 3” has tied me up in knots about how to treat the edges. I finally added some squares (after trying many arrangements) and called it done, more out of exhaustion than artistic clarity. I did incorporate suggestions made by my readers. It’s tucked away in a closet awaiting its turn to be quilted. The tag at the top is to remind me of the piece’s dimensions.
I actually completed one quilt this spring, “Repurposed/Resurfaced,” which uses many fabrics I printed and painted, plus one commercial aboriginal print.
I was pleased when a member of one of my art quilt groups said this quilt made her happy. Recently Elizabeth Barton wrote about why people buy the art they do. Her perspective is it’s a work’s content, rather than the technical skills it displays, that attracts a buyer. Technical skills aside, I know “Mean Streets’ will not be at the top of most people’s must have list – too dark.
I can see that my closet is filling up with work to be quilted, a sure sign I need to switch gears. Of course, I still need to decide if all the tops are worth quilting. Some were made to use up partial blocks and fabric experiments. What leads you to just let a top go and not quilt it?
As I reported earlier, I’m rounding up my unfinished tops that are ready to quilt and putting pedal to the metal. Two are now done. One, Swimming Upstream, was pieced this year. The other, Shirtsleeves, has been in a plastic tub for at least a year.
Swimming Upstream came about because I found some leftover 1.5 inch squares and HSTs plus a few leftover blocks. Using Sandi Cummings’ techniques from Thinking Outside the Block, I did a mash up of traditional and contemporary. I free motion quilted it with a loopy meander. It was misery, with the bobbin seizing up at least 30 times on this small (about 24 by 32 inches) piece. Each time I rethreaded, took out the bobbin, cleaned the bobbin case, etc. I used Aurifil thread on the top and bottom and generally did everything recommended. I also tried putting in a different bobbin. Some days I had no problems. Other days I’d get only about 2 inches of stitching done between seizures.
Shirtsleeves is made mostly of my husband’s old cotton dress shirts, with a bit of other striped fabric. The bits of yellow sprinkled throughout reflect Kaffe Fassett’s influence. He does a shirt fabric quilt like this in his book Passionate Patchwork. The back uses more of the shirts. There is sure a lot of fabric in men’s shirts, even in the smaller sizes. The quilting is a simple 2 inch grid. The label is part of a front placket. I didn’t want to have any buttons on this quilt in case I give it to some new parents.
Now for the new part. Since I had finished two quilts I could start one new one. (Yes, this is totally arbitrary, but self discipline is a goal of mine.) Since I’ve started Joen Wolfrom’s Craftsy class on color I thought I’d try a color gradation.
Here’s my colors arranged for paper pieced leaves using a pattern by Deb Karasik.
You can see the fourth gradation in the leaf below.
I’ll be at this project a while as I have only four leaves done so far. The worst part is picking out the little bits of paper. The pieces are too small to use freezer paper piecing. Guess I didn’t learn how tedious this method was with my last project. But …