Monday, February 9, 2015

'What not to do' Quilt

Before I start ranting about this quilt I also want to say how much I have learnt from this quilt. Despite really struggling to finish it - but finish I did. I'm still not loving it - but I'm concentrating on the fact that it was a big learning experience for me.

This quilt had a bad start too. My machine lost its timing (which has happened one too many times - so off the machine went to Utah over Christmas to be fixed by the lovely Glen at Handiquilter headquarters.) I think taking a half finished quilt (that I did not baste at all) off the frame and then heap it on a bed for a few weeks before reloading it and continuing - is probably not entirely fair to the quilt.

The idea for this quilt came from a workshop with Amy Butler that I took at the Brooklyn Craft Company. It was lovely to meet Amy - a quiet and totally unassuming lady who spoke about color, travel and design in a quiet but very impassioned way. I had taken along with me to the workshop a bit of fabric that I had been given by my husbands grandmother a long time ago. I had been saving this fabric for a very special project. When Amy gave us a free bundle of squares as a little gift - I loved how the rich colors worked together. Now I wish that I had pushed the combination of these fabrics a little more.

Nana's Fabric

Nana's Fabric with Amy's
Piecing does not excitement me nearly as much as free motion quilting. So I think sometimes I rush the piecing to get to the quilting bit.

Lesson #1: Put more effort into your piecing. Your quilting deserves it.

I want to start using color in my quilting. I chose to use So Fine #50 in some bright colors I had left over from Maria's quilt. But I thought the thread looked too sketchy and thin. I wanted them to be thicker and stand out more. So I began back tracking - another mistake (for me at least) - I had seen a video of Lisa Sipes this - and thought it looked really cool. Perhaps I'll try it again ....

Lesson #2: Try a heavier weight thread (perhaps a cotton instead of poly) for color work.


I also rushed the feathers (I just knew something was wrong with the machine head and I think I was just seeing if I would squeeze this quilt out before facing the truth about needing a service.)

Lesson #3: Don't rush. Take your time.

I love white. Quilting white thread on white cotton is my endless dream. I have found that I don't really like however how pieced white goes together - you can see the seams so much. I was also cheap and mixed my whites a little as I am trying to work through my fabric and not buy any. I'm not sure what I could have done about the seams. But ....

Lesson #4: Don't be cheap (or at least try not to be AS cheap!)

Someone told me that grey was the best color for piecing. That it was hidden in everything. I have to say I really disagree with this and when piecing you should match your piecing thread with the lightest color fabric you are using. I should have used white for everything in this quilt. No grey. You can see where I used grey for the piecing.

Lesson #5: Pay attention at all times to the color of your piecing thread - it can really affect the way your seams blend on your quilt top.

I have recently become a big believer in paying attention to the direction you press your seams. On backs as well as tops. Always press my dark fabrics away from the light. Press seams open to create 'flat invisible' seams when joining the same fabric together. Press seams in or out so that blocks sit 'behind' or 'in-front' of the background fabric. As I become more focused on the texture of the quilt (as yes I have lost it and become more and more OCD!) these things seem to matter to me more. So why why why why didn't I pay attention to the seams more? I should have pressed the seams into the color blocks.

Lesson #6: There is a reason why you make rules for yourself. If you don't stick to them you will only disappoint yourself.

Having said all of this lets have some quilters eye candy. 

I had some fun playing with feathers, swirls and orange peel. Those are the only motifs used in this quilt top.

I played with how I made the swirls and how big the swirls where. Can you notice the different ways? 

So what do you make of it? You can be honest - I can take it ;-) (Be kind - don't make me cry!!)


Debbie Rogowski said...

I love it!! I'm new to long arm quilting and I really love all the information you gave on this quilt, step by step. You took a very basic but adorable quilt and brought it up to 'AMAZING' even with your learning experience

Marilyn said...

I am a newbie too and agree whole heartedly with what Debbie said. Very unique design on top and quilting too.

Barb N said...

Overall I love your quilt, both the design and the quilting! I had to laugh at your remark about trying to rush through it before your machine gave up the ghost. I do that too when something isn't going just right. My brain tries to 'rush through it' thinking "If I hurry, it will just work out." Well, it took me several attempts at that philosophy to realize it just ain't never gonna happen, no way, no how. So now I tell myself to just stop, before I need to unpick for hours! I'm a slow learner.