Monday, February 02, 2009

Virtual Retreat - Day 3

I didn't get back to my "retreat" until afternoon on Sunday due to a previous commitment at church. Just as well. I found myself in an emotional mess at the the thought of my retreat weekend coming to a close and how much I missed this group of friends, how much I'd miss this brief bit of extra connection with them. Plus, yes, the sore muscles were complaining and wanting me to ease the kinks out before subjecting them to the rigors of "extreme" quilting again. I also needed a little more thinking time to work out how to approach the borders. Before quitting the night before, I'd tried a rough sketch of my big yardage to figure out the most efficient way to cut borders and still have enough left for backing.

I suppose I was dreading this part the most because of the long lengths of fabric I'd be working with and the lack of clear table space to do it in. I decided the better part of valor here was to trust that the ombre stripe was printed on grain and that the fabric could stand up to being ripped. Here I am making that first rip - a 5-2/3 yd strip 6 inches wide. It worked great and I didn't even need to trim off the "bruised" edge. It pressed flat without distortion and only needed to be trimmed to length. I measured the quilt top while it hung on the wall and double checked once I'd pulled it off by measuring in sections against my cutting mat. Everything miraculously matched up.

And now that it is ready for quilting, there are two things that bug me a bit. One is that bright purple block which indeed sticks out like a sore thumb. It's not so much the dark purple, I've decided, that is so bright, but that clear light purple background. I suppose I should figure out a way to tone it down but I'm not sure I'm that motivated. The other that bothers me is the fabric in the corner triangles. I tried several options using the ombre fabric, but nothing looked right, not even running the stripe diagonally. So I opted for the same fabric as the alternating squares rather than belabor the point any more. It's not the prettiest quilt I've made. In fact, it reads really dark, darker than I anticipated. It could have been a cheerier quilt had I used a lighter background. But then, if I'd used a lighter background, I would hesitate to use the quilt once finished. I have another dark quilt I've happily and guiltlessly used on the couch for years, even tossed over the dog without fear. I wanted this new quilt to be the same sort of thing, and it certainly will be.

As for my experience attending a virtual retreat? It certainly had its upside.
I didn't have to pack up all my stuff and lug my machine halfway across the country. I didn't have jet lag, I undoubtedly did not eat as much as if I'd been there. It gave me a focused and specific time frame in which to work. It reminded me what it was like to push beyond what is comfortable, easy. It may have primed the pump, so to speak, given me a different sort of kick start for daily studio work habits. I'm sure I got much more done than if I'd been in the same room with those quilting friends of mine. But for me, retreats are not so much about how much I can get done as it is about being with other quilters. The interaction and intimacy can't be replicated from 1400 miles away. Better start saving my pennies for next year...


Katney said...

And it works well in the border, too.

Chris Mundy said...

I thought you might like to know, that I kept having to look at the quilt to figure out where these flaws are that you were talking about! It may be more obvious in person. I think I get what you are saying about the corner pieces, but I don't like things perfect. I have never seen a quilt set up quite like that one. I think that's great.