Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Grid 3 Continues

It was time to get back into the studio today, if only for a bit. As I contemplated what I could work on, I knew part of my reticence to get back in there had to be the mess it was in. The work table was strewn with the leftovers from the last three projects, leaving little actual work space. Regardless of whether I actually needed to use the table, I knew the mess was playing on my mind and keeping me away. I resigned myself to clean-up duty and figured if I didn't do anything else today, at least I would get as much as I could put away, filed, stacked to one side as I could. It wasn't as big a job as I thought, and I quickly found myself ready to work.

My contemplations kept returning to two things: resuming the quilting on Grid 3 and applying some paint to the fabric I'd stamped a week or so ago. As it turned out, I had time for both. The paint is still drying, so here is what I got done on Grid 3:

Prior to today, I had quilted vertical and horizontal lines in monofilament thread. I'll be quilting over these lines with a gold thread using an embroidery stitch (at least that's the plan), but will do that once all the other quilting is done. I was concerned about stretching if the diagonal lines were quilted first without any stabilizing stitching along the grainlines - that problem with the instability of the bias - so that is why I stitched with the clear thread. Today, it was on to the first of the diagonal stitching.

There's something to be said about setting a project aside for awhile; fresh eyes can often immediately see solutions to problems that couldn't be arrived at in the thick of working. However, one can also set something aside so long that one forgets the original intent or the next step. This was where I was getting with Grid 3. I had two threads set out, a purple and a teal, and I know I had a plan of which to use. But today, I couldn't remember just what that was. It took me a bit, plus one line of stitching, to remember that I wanted to play down the pink in the fabric by applying dense quilting stitches in teal thread. At least, I think that's what I wanted and that's how I'm proceeding.

I may not do this kind of grid stitching on this type of piece again. It is fraught with perils if one is striving for nice even spacing, straight lines and intersections that properly cross. Fabric is not paper, I used to tell my students. If it was, we could all make more perfect quilts. I discovered how difficult this gridding was going to be when I drew on the minimal guidelines. As you can see here, my 9 appliqued squares distorted the base fabric such that they are not evenly spaced anymore. Some stitching lies very close to the square while other is farther away. Not all diagonal and vertical/horizontal lines cross perfectly. And even though I'm using a walking foot, I've managed to stitch in a few puckers here and there. This is a nightmare if it were to be entered for traditional judging. It's a good advertisement for more casual quilting.

I might add that, while I am not trying to copy the type of line quilting Lisa Call does on her quilts (see example here), studying her quilting for many months now has increased my interest in giving it a go. For another example of dense straight line quilting and how it can change the look of the base fabric, see Margaret Cooter's quilt here.

So I persevere. I still want to see how the thread changes the background fabric. I want to see what happens when the dense lines cross each other at various intersections. I want to finish this quilt.

This first round of quilting has pointed up a problem that I'll deal with later. Since the quilting does not follow the edge of the squares, I find they puff up in a manner I don't like. This is similar to how traditional pieced quilts look when quilted 1/4 away from the seam instead of in the ditch. The seam stands up and to my eye looks funny. Well, my squares are standing up and looking funny along the edges. I'll go back and run a line of stitching on either side of the satin stitching, probably in a contrasting color. I've done that on another project and rather liked the way it delineated the satin stitching.

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