Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Inside the Quilter's Studio #2: My Very Favorite Finish...(so far, anyway!)


Today's post comes to us from Aoife, who blogs at thREDhead. If you'd like to contribute to Inside the Quilter's Studio, please send an email to Heather at dcmqgtreasurer@gmail.com. You don't need to have a blog to join in the fun!

Here's Aoife:

So, Paul loves colour. Big time. When I saw a jelly roll of Moda Marbles in Citrus last April I knew he would love anything made with those colours! They were like a bag of skittles. Hence, the name of the finished quilt - Paul's Rainbow Skittles Quilt...




When I started, I spent a long time coming up with different ways I could combine the marbles jelly roll with a white jelly roll and design a quilt top. I came up with all sorts of ideas, and along the way discovered that Paul likes geometric and predictable. No utterly random mixes or coloured lines that start to disintegrate or collapse away across the quilt! I had started putting the blocks together (on the computer) into what I referred to as St. Brigid's Crosses (but which probably has a proper block name, that I don't know).


I had even planned quilting around each coloured cross in matching thread, giving a rainbow of outline crosses on the quilt back!
Paul liked it. My parents saw swastikas. I mentioned it to Paul, he saw them too... Not good. And once you see them, they're hard to un-see! So I asked on Twitter, and the lovely Sarah Lawson replied to say she loved the layout and I should go for it! So tempted! But the swastika see-ers around me won in the end. Plus it gave me the opportunity to go in a brand new direction, with all of Paul's requirements in mind, and keep the new design a total secret. Sold!!

Bloggy people have been doing lots of things with chevrons, and invariably I adore them all. I decided a rainbow of zig-zags would look great, and having to line all those pieces up would be a great next challenge for me. In the start I hated pinning things, full on groan and grumble and sigh and strop (I'm 30 - can you tell?) hate. But then I took a dressmaking course and we pinned everything. It forced me through the hate, out the other side, into acceptance. Not love, but acceptance of the need for pinning. Zig-zags would test my resolve!

First I sewed every coloured strip to a white strip. Then I cut them all into squares - this was the most tedious part, by far!


The happy colours helped too!

Once you get through that, each time you sew something together you see the zig-zag forming, and it's lovely. Really satisfying.




Plus, and this will sound corny, but it was lovely to sit down and sew something that I knew Paul would bring back to the States without me and use. Handling it and working with it, taking time over every seam, was filling the quilt up with me (and probably also filling it up with my hair - it falls out all the time).

It was really hard to keep this a secret. I loved it so much. I have a lot of pictures. This was the quilt top in the midst of basting:




I had made a similar plan for quilting this top. Tracing each zig-zag in a matching thread so it would stand out on the white quilt back. I went around and collected all the thread colours I needed. I began with the hardest one, the red in the centre. I got three or four steps into zig-zag. It went horribly. Really horribly. I've never found it so hard to make a straight line straight. This is something I need to figure out.

But I didn't have time before Christmas and the wedding. I had to have it done so I could hide it away from Paul while he was visiting too! So I sat down for two hours with the seam ripper and pulled out my disastrous attempt. I have no pictures, but it is imprinted in my mind. And I decided that I'd try this hand-tying lark I've seen other people blog about and mention... I've a solid collection of embroidery thread colours. And so I set to work. I put a knot in at ever corner of ever zig-zag.


The finished back. Rainbow of threads - I'm guessing, though I don't know that I've left the threads too long? They washed ok though.

Paul had chosen the fabric for the binding himself. More rainbow :) I also made a label for the quilt, though I wanted it to be something special and unique. I was a bit bold, I did a google image search for robot love and traced one of my findings... I'm telling myself it's ok cos I'm not selling it on or profiting from it in anyway... Yeah, I guess. Intellectual property is a weird area. But an important one! I then embroidered over the top of the tracing, adding colour with the threads. I have since done a more comprehensive search, and after trawling through sites in Turkish and Spanish, Britta is the brilliant mind who conceived and drew Robot Love!! You totally need to check out her work :) And the robots are Leroy and Janice!


I love it! They're almost too cute.
Here's a picture of the finished bound quilt,



And here it is all wrapped up and ready to go home!



This is definitely my favourite finish so far.

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