Quilt Top Done

Just finished applying the borders to the quilt panel to finish the quilt top. It does look the way I wanted it to – dense toward the upper left and more open on the right and bottom. The last column of blocks went quickly since there was much less piecing involved in constructing them.

Completed Quilt Top

However, I did have to go buy another 1/2m of background fabric in order to set up the 6.5″ wide border strips. Fortunately, I’ve found backing fabric in my stash so I don’t need more fabric for the back of the quilt. I do have enough leftover strips to piece a strip for the back but I don’t know what I’ll use to bind the quilt – I may use the pale grey Grunge (Moda) fabric rather than bring in another colour for the front. I’ll see what looks reasonable once I’ve done the quilting.

Final size approximately 48″ x 64″ – a good size for a lap quilt.

Quilt In Progress

I did get done today what I wanted – adding columns 4 & 5 to the developing quilt top. The two columns went quickly because I now understand what I’m doing – I didn’t when I began and the first few blocks took a bit of time.

Columns 4 & 5 added

The process is now streamlined – four 6.5″ squares of pieced strips are stacked and cut into four irregular strips, laid out in order for the block, then stacked again so I can chain piece the narrow sashing to three, join the pieces and add the fourth; press, add the bottom sashing, press, add the side sashing then join the blocks in the column – it’s going quite quickly.

I have the cut strips for the sixth column prepared and laid out – tomorrow I will sew them, create the column, and add it to the other five. That will just leave the two narrow borders and the two wide borders to add. The top might be done tomorrow!

Then I have to decide what to do with the quilt back…

Blushing Peonies II – Finally Finished

Finally finished, binding and label. I’m much happier with the quilt now that it’s finished. The quilting using a darkish bendable thread tied the Kona cotton elements to the rest of the quilt quite well and I have to admit I did one other thing – I toned them down using a fabric pastel crayon which darkened them a bit and hints at texture in much the same way some of the other fabrics do. Once pressed with a steam iron, the pastel dyes the fabric and will withstand washing.

It has the impact of a modern quilt.

Blushing Peonies II – A Modern Quilt – Top

I used flying geese to make a strip to widen the back – they don’t look like flying geese because there isn’t a consistent “background” to highlight the “geese” – however, the pattern created by the large and small triangles showcases the fabrics. The sashing elements I decided to make asymmetrical and I like how they offset the strip and tone down the red backing.

Blushing Peonies II – quilt Back With Flying Geese

After the showing in Parrsboro, my sister Donna expressed interest in the Bordered Diamonds quilt. I gave it to her. She has it hanging in in this bright green room. I love how the green makes the batik fabrics pop and how the colour flow in the quilt ties in with the navy sofa.

Bordered Diamonds – 2012

The other day I was at the physiotherapist – I was at one end of the room and this photo at the other end caught my eye – at the distance a face popped out – two eyes, the left cheekbone, mouth, the suggestion of a blue hat. It’s actually a photo of a waterfall but for me – it’s a face!

Borders Added

I added borders. Changes the look of the piece entirely – contains it (as borders do), but the borders also seem to change the colour focus in an interesting way. The narrow inner red frames the panel and the wider outer border allows the greys and greens to stand out somewhat more.

Quilt Top With Borders Added

I showed the panel to a friend last evening – someone who’s been a close friend for 60+ years! – she tells me the truth. She found something jarring in the panel but couldn’t identify precisely what. I think the problem resides with the pale pink solid Kona sections. They’re flat/dead in comparison with the other parts of the top.

Now, I could take those two parts out and replace them with something else, but given this quilt top is an improvisation, an opportunity to explore and learn, I’m going to carry on. I can do quite a bit to change the texture of those pale pink areas with quilting, particularly if I use a contrasting thread and a more dense quilting embroidery than I was originally planning on using. It would fill up those pale empty areas and provide flow to the other parts of the panel.

So stay turned to see how things progress. Next step is to set up a back panel – it will need an insert as usual to make the fabric wide enough. Not sure what to do – I’m thinking about carrying on with large pieces assembled into a strip using these same fabrics.

Quilt Top Assembled

Instead of two shorter rows (one on top and one on bottom), this addition turned into a single longer piece I decided to add to one end. For some reason I can’t articulate, that addition feels like the “top” – almost where a pillow would go had this been a twin size quilt. Instead, it will be a largish lap quilt or throw. It still needs a border, maybe it will want a very narrow inner border – not sure yet.

Quilt Top Panel Assembled

Now I need to walk around this for a bit, at the same time I need to go through my fabric stash to find a fabric that could work as a narrow inner accent border, and something for the wider outer border.

And I guess I should be thinking about a name for the quilt – no idea what it might be.

Finally Back At The Quilt

Just added another two sections to this quilt improvisation. It’s now close to a square – in the ballpark for width and still needing another 12″-15″ in length; I’m thinking I’ll add two narrow strips – one to the top edge and one to the bottom.

The Growing Quilt – now a 42″ x 45″ panel

My goals here are 1) to use up leftover fabric from the previous quilt so I don’t have to try to find room in my fabric storage for it, and 2) to set up a new quilt for a class (Slash ‘n Insert Quilt) I hope to be teaching in a couple of weeks.

What I’m trying to construct is a modern quilt based on large sections of slashed fabric with a few prominent insertions rather than a meticulously pieced panel. Before I started I thought this would go quickly – wrong! The deciding where to cut and whether/how to align elements after cutting is proving more time consuming than I anticipated. That’s why I avoided working on this for nearly 10 days! Anyway, back at it finally and closer to a quilt top than I was yesterday.

Hoping to make time in the next few days to add strips to the top and bottom edges of this panel. Then I intend adding a 4″ (or so) border. By next weekend, I would like to have pieced a back and created the sandwich. I now need to start thinking about what kind of embroidery I need to quilt this – likely an edge-to-edge design of some kind.

Blushing Peonies – V

Finally done – or I think it may be – I’m still trying to make up my mind about doing a bit more quilting. Having finished the in-the-hoop blocks, I can see the spots where the corners of the embroideries meet – or rather where they leave a slightly smaller than palm-size unquilted area – 35 of them to be exact at the junctures of the embroideries. I’ve pressed both sides of the quilt and those spots are definitely less obvious than they were – but…

Blushing Peonies – Quilt Top

The question is whether I use the scaled down single flower stitch-out I set up from the original quilting embroidery to tie those spots, or to leave well enough alone…. At the moment, I’m predisposed to leaving the quilt as it is but I’ll keep mulling this one over – I may in the end do those embroideries.

Blushing Peonies – Quilt Back

The binding – my original plan was to do a hidden binding but in the end I did a narrow binding the way many people do it – by folding a 2.5″ strip in half, sewing the doubled binding ~3/8″ from the edge, folding it over, sewing it with a decorative stitch. It turned out to be considerably more work than my usual 5/8″ single thickness binding which sews on more easily and folds over and corners with much less effort. However, I didn’t want a prominent binding so I settled for this narrow one. Probably won’t do this again – either a hidden binding or a standard 5/8″ one.

Now my next decision is what to make from the leftover fabric – some kind of simple quilt that I don’t have to fuss over too much. I was thinking “Garden Trellis” would be easy to do – using 2 1/2″ strips of the Blushing Peonies fabrics to set up the HST blocks – BUT I see the centre of the on-point blocks being unpieced squares of the peony fabric – I have just enough to do that. However, the piecing is somewhat complicated – in Garden Trellis II I created the coloured squares by piecing them in after I’d created the dark/light blocks. In this instance I want to showcase intact peonies. The easy way to achieve the appearance I’m after is to log-cabin the central square; but I want the seams of the block to be on the diagonal they way they are with HST blocks. I can see I’m going to have to make some mock-up blocks to work out how to construct them. Again, I’ll probably do a 6 x 8 block quilt which means 48 blocks constructed with somewhat complicated sewing, I think.

Well, next some some playing around.