Monday, November 12, 2007

Quilting Marathon

I've been working diligently to get my 20 blocks quilted. I was able to quilt half yesterday and the rest today after scrounging a bit more batting. I've used 4 different channel quilting variations, two of which you see above: the wavy vertical one and arcs or fans echoing the fan shape of the cut-outs I'll be making. Not shown is wide straight channels with a zigzagging line through the center of each based on the design in one of the fabrics, and wavy channels running diagonally across the block.

I tried that last one in sort of a "what if" mode, afraid that sewing across the stretchy direction would distort the block or cause puckers. It didn't. Best of all, I found I really liked the undulating pattern it created, something that I think may be the answer to finishing out an idea with a painted piece of fabric. I'd folded the fabric and applied paint, but it didn't seep into the fabric like I thought it would. A faint grid is visible but all in all, it's pretty boring without the right quilting to bring it alive. So I'd set it aside, unhappy that my only quilting ideas were for more straight grid lines. This, I think, is what I'm looking for to jazz it up.

Would I have come up with this if I hadn't been playing around with this pattern for a baby quilt? Something tells me I would not have. This is why I try not to discount using patterns entirely, or to think a non-quiltart project like this is taking me away from the "real" work I should be doing. I try to learn something from everything I do or try, and sometimes not having to fiddle with measurements and basic design can free up the mind to discover wonderful things.

I'm trying hard not to over-think this project, by the way, but the control freak in me finds it hard to be totally random. I've included fabric that at first made me wince to see it against the others, but which I hope in the end will make the quilt more interesting. I tried not to over-match when pairing up my squares, but I couldn't totally allow any old one to end up with any other. It has been somewhat the same with the quilting. Some fabrics don't matter much whether the yellow or the green thread shows up on it. Where I used a fabric more than once, I tried to make sure it wasn't always quilted with the same color. Other fabrics seemed to call out for one color or the other. So I controlled that just a bit.

Next step is doing the cut-outs which surely will challenge me since there are many decisions to be made here: 3 sizes of quarter circles to choose from, the option of making more than one cut-out in a block, and then choosing the binding that will cover the joins. Stay loose, I'm telling myself.

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