Friday, November 30, 2007

November Journal Quilt

On the surface, there's not much about this month's journal quilt that would indicate a tie to the monthly calendar theme of Faith. However, the quotation that goes with it may shed some light: "No ray of sunlight is ever lost, but the green which it wakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to live to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith..." - Albert Schweitzer. And so I hope it is with this piece - begun in faith that somewhere down the line, the seeds of ideas sewn here will grow and blossom months from now and be worth this trial.

The harvest theme seemed the perfect place to start my experimentation with the palette suggested by the dry grass and ferns along the bike trail punctuated by white berries and red rosehips (see this post). Here is where I began pulling fabrics to match those colors.

At this point I didn't have a design or pattern in mind. By the time I decided to work with it in the journal quilt, I was tired from a trip, preoccupied with my dog's health, and not in much of a mood to work up an elaborate design. Crazy piecing with my scraps seemed a simple approach to see how these colors might work together.

Here's the fabric I worked with. Notice some are leftover strip sets from other projects. Scissors and a rotary cutter would do the cutting, finger pressing the ironing.

I started by cutting a small triangle and randomly sewing fabric around it, trimming as I went.

Some got white triangle, some red. I soon realized that there wasn't enough white and started adding slices from a strip set that had white in it.

Because I wasn't foundation piecing, my blocks were coming out odd sizes. Eventually, I had to decide on a size and square them up as any other method of fitting them together would have been more work than I wanted at the moment. If I were to do this again, I'd do more placement planning and not have block divisions.

To make this fit the journal dimension, I ended up making 4 different sizes of blocks. I played a bit with arrangement, but again, was frustrated by the limitations the random placement had created.

Here's the back - lots of seams with this kind of work. At first I tried pressing seams open, but that soon became a liability; pressing seams to the outside for the most part worked best.

I was at a bit of a loss as to how to quilt it, thinking I'd mimic the plant stems and branches with wavy crossing lines in brown. I fused Decor Bond to my batting, then spray basted the top to the batting so I could quilt this with a walking foot and not worry about shifting.

Since I finished this it has grown on me, but initially, I wasn't that happy with the outcome. The red does not pop like I thought it would, and I wished there was more of it. (This could have been remedied with red garnet stitch quilting or addition of beads, but I wasn't willing to put in the extra time). That's probably why I opted for this bright red binding, which is just 1/8" wide. I also wish I'd cut the starter triangles larger - again, not enough pop for my money.

If nothing else, this was instructional: I have since thought of better designs to work with. Well, maybe not better, but ones more suited to my style and need for a little more control. I can see the potential of this color palette with the red accent. I think this is a seed worth planting and now I just have to have faith and patience about where it will grow from here. Mostly I am pleased that I didn't let my unexpected inspiration from a few weeks ago fade away or be pushed to the bottom of my priorities untried.

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