Sunday, May 28, 2006

Design Opportunities

Quilters who might otherwise despair when they make a mistake, or run out of fabric or something just doesn't go right on their quilt are encouraged to see it as a design opportunity. A little like making lemonade out of lemons. But it is often those unexpected "problems" that force us to think past the obvious and sometimes lead to a much better work in the end. Such may be the case with the quilt here - "Easter in America" (which is 15 inches square).

In my goals for this week, I wanted to finish sewing down the binding and needed to do something about the problem that cropped up - a shadowing through of the darker fabric of the top which made a distinct line down the middle of the binding. I considered couching on more of the chenille but decided instead I had the perfect beads that would actually pull some sparkle out into the binding. I hadn't been convinced that my choice of 1/2 inch binding in the light fabric was the best idea, so adding the beads offered a chance to improve that. I was working on turning the problems into a design opportunity.

Today turned out to be a day when sitting and hand sewing really appealed, so I finished sewing down the binding and got out the beads - purple and gold and green bugle beads. I sewed 8 or ten on and stepped back to admire the effect...and could see it wasn't right at all. The beads came across too dark, forming a very hard line that did not look as good as I thought it would. No real sparkle either - very strange. Not one to give up easily, I rifled through my beads and found a lighter bunch of seed beads. They looked nice scattered along the binding, so I started by sewing them in a line, but slightly apart, but again, It was too dark and not a pleasing look. So I tried sewing them scattered. Not only was this going to take a long time, it wasn't going to camouflage the shadowing problem very well and I didn't really like the look anyway. Well, so much for the "perfect" beads.

I gave the chenille another chance and could immediately see that this was going to work. Rather than machine couch it down, I couched it on by hand using monofiliment thread which allowed it to float on the bind. I left tails at either end of each side to be pulled around to the back and glued in place. I'm very pleased with the way this makes that wide light binding a more integral part of the piece. Let's here it for design opportunities!

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