Thursday, November 10, 2016

Resurrecting a Project

Auditioning King Tut variegated threads
It's amazing to me how long some projects sit, waiting for me to get back to them. This week I've returned to textiles and am diving into the quilting of a lap quilt that, as I check my blog, has been layered for quilting since October 2014 - yes, 2 years! (See this post where I choose the backing and start the pin basting.) The last thing I did was set out some prospective threads for the quilting, bundling it all together into the closet until I thought through the quilting design and felt I could "afford" the time to start quilting it. I've gathered ideas for the quilting and in my head thought I had it worked out - a way to mimic the paisleys in the border and sashing fabric in a pleasing continuous design that would be quilted in top to bottom rows - an overall design as it were. This is a technique I learned in a workshop and decided this was the quilt top to try it out on. You'll have to click on the photo for a larger version and peer closely to see the stitching and design on the above sample sandwich which gave me a better clue than pooling the thread over the surface as to how each color would read.

Bleh - not at all what I had in mind

It also immediately showed me I did not like this juxtaposition of paisleys, which now just looked like badly quilted folk tulips. This is the back, using what thread was already in the machine. I actually may use it as the bobbin thread since the backing is a combination of the dark blue and a tan print. Again, click on the picture to see more clearly.

Part of the problem, I decided, was the size of the paisleys. I started off quite large and they slowly came down in size as I changed threads. But still, this is not what I wanted on this quilt.

Either color works over the top, & there's the paisley in the fabric inspiring the quilting

Time for a new thought. I studied the piecing in the top and could see a different way to approach this, an idea that a single paisley could show up in each small square, two in the larger one, keeping them more or less upright and quilting a graceful curve to connect them. And I'd pretty much narrowed the thread color choices to these two.

Time to draw out my thought. I placed a transparency sheet over those squares and drew a continuous line of paisleys through them. Then place the transparency on something white so I could see better what I'd drawn. Oh yes, this was more like it! Since I'd filled up my sample with stitching, I removed some of it in the middle so I could try this out with the two threads I was still considering.

My biggest concern after reviewing the quilting out of the 5 different colors was that whatever I chose would not overshadow the paisley in the print to the point you could not even see it. The darker brighter colors were definitely doing that. The blue seems a little distracting too, but I think that more sandy color, perhaps used to quilt around the paisleys in the border fabric, may be just the thing. I did try a dark blue but it didn't show up enough to see as I quilted, could not see where I'd already stitched. Not going bold this time, but not going completely into hiding either.

I still have the final decisions to make on thread color and whether or not I'll add a frilly echo around each paisley, but I am really excited now to get stitching on this. It will take awhile since this is a generous lap size. But I don't have the feeling I can't work on anything else until it's done. It feels more like something I can do a little quilting on each day, if only a row or two, a bit like my sketch a day challenge, before switching the rest of my studio time to a different project like more baskets or one of my art quilt ideas. Feels good to be enthusiastic again!

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