Sunday, 23 September 2012

A BIG Finish

Back in April I signed on to the My Precious Quilt along.  I had a couple of Lily and Will jelly rolls that I wanted to use to make a queen-sized quilt for myself, but I couldn't bring myself to cut into the fabric.  It was so perfect, and I wanted the quilt to be perfect too.  My Precious was the perfect motivator to get started, but it was including it in my third quarter to do list as part of Rhonda's finish along that motivated me to finish.

A bit of history is needed here.  Quite some time ago I bought a Lily and Will charm pack and fell in love with the colours--the sunny yellow and cheery blue seemed just the ticket to counter our very grey winters.  So, I decided to buy two jelly rolls, but when they arrived I was feeling pretty awful, so I just put them up on the shelf for another day.  But I kept that charm pack on my table just to keep me thinking about what I might do. I knew that I wanted to make a quilt that would leave the fabric in relatively large pieces so as to really show it off.  I just couldn't decide what pattern to use.

After signing on to the quilt along, I unrolled the fabric only to find that it wasn't what I expected!  There was no cheery blue.  Yes there was sunny yellow, but without the blue, the brown just seemed to overpower the yellow.  I decided that far from being precious, I didn't really like it, and I didn't want to have it continue to take up space on my shelf or in my head, so I'd just quilt it and get it over with.  I added some white to lighten it up and sewed the strips together.  The white made a huge difference, and I found that I wasn't hating it any more.

Then I cut the strips into 6.5 inch squares and started sewing them together only to find that my quarter inch seam marker had shifted and none of the squares were actually square.  Definitely not loving it again.  After giving it some thought, I decided that I had a couple of options: 1) trim the blocks so that they were square (tedious and time-consuming) or 2) just live with it.  Since I no longer loved the stuff, I decided to live with it, and as a result, not a single block lines up exactly with it's neighbour.  Okay, maybe two line up in the entire top.

Oddly enough, this was somewhat liberating. I decided to clear out some other fabric that I wasn't loving in order to piece the back.  I'd bought this fabric for a specific project, but by the time it arrived, the parameters had changed and I really didn't need this much brown.   

And, since it was essentially rubbish now, I decided that I was going to use it as a playground--appropriate, since it was likely to be used as a picnic quilt.  I definitely wasn't going to take the time to hand-quilt it, nor would I lay out the cash to have it quilted, so I free-motion quilted it in sections.  My machine only has about 4-5" harp space, which means that they weren't very big sections.  So, I did my very first all-over meandering stipple, and I tried a variety of methods for joining the 12 sections.  And I also sewed the binding by machine for the first time.  I used Sharon Schamber's washable Elmer's school glue method instead of pins to sew on the binding and it worked great.  Not a single puncture wound.

As for the back, cut down into smaller pieces, all that brown doesn't actually look that bad.  Each fabric is used three times, although that isn't evident in the photo because I had to fold it over the line to keep it from dragging on the ground.  When you can see all of them, that solid brown square doesn't jump out so much.  I've decided that I like that Honey Vine print enough that I'm going to order some more.

So, what do I think of it now that it's done?  It's okay.  I'm pleased that it's finished.  The FMQing turned out fine, and I'll definitely do more of that in the future.  Same with the binding.  I learned a lot from this, and in the end, it looks nice and sunny on my bed.

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