Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wintry Terrain

The sole existence of certain things in life is just to teach you a lesson - this is how I feel about this quilt. 

When I first looked at the bundle of fabric we received for The Modern Quilt Guild's fabric challenge, the colors reminded me of trees and mixed with white of ski slopes and snow covered hills. I ran with the idea and decided to piece rows of triangles on a white background that would depict a wintry landscape. 

I had a vision. I wanted it to be organic and natural looking (words heard a lot since moving to the west coast ;)) I wanted to create stacked arcs of triangles in various sizes like trees on gentle curve of hills. In my mind's eye it was a picture perfect setting.

As an engineer I am often told what limits a vision are the laws of physics. In this case it turned out that the proverbial laws of physics reared their ugly head all along the way. Paper piecing triangles on a curve would have been a more experienced quilter's preference, but I was hot off a class by Sherri Lynn Wood and wanted to embrace carefree improv piecing. Let it flow from the heart she said. I figured out a way to create arcs of triangles by cutting one set of triangles wider than the opposing row. I made a ton of such arcs in varying sizes and was feeling rather puffed up.

Next came the task of putting the arcs together.....this is where the proverbial laws of physics kicked in. The arcs didn't quite fit together and I didn't want to insert pieces of fabric in the middle to make them fit because it interfered with my vision. It's fabric so I managed to wrangle it into submission with the help of my friend 'Best Press'. Once I finished it would not lie flat and the seams were all over the place. 

My solution, just quilt it to death. Quilting will hold all the pieces together and I can ease out all the uneven parts if I strategize the quilting properly. How about match stick quilting? The perfect antidote to uneven piecing. Hours of tedious straight line quilting seemed to calm my mood and it was almost proving to be therapeutic when I noticed that the quilt had not only begin to have a wave like quality but the seams were all over the place so as I quilted I could see the dark colored seam through the white fabric. 

No worries, just a small hitch. I undid the basting around the area I was quilting so I could put my hand under the quilt top and push the seam over towards the lighter colored fabric before quilting over it. This did not completely solve the problem but at least reduced it. The quilting now was going much slower than expected and I was getting tired of handling the seams. 

Over handling the fabric at the seams causes fraying. Another proverbial law of physics was beginning to become apparent. Now I had bits of colored thread on my batting in addition to uneven seams showing through the white top. Undoing the basting around the quilting turned out not to be a great idea either. The quilt was acquiring a 3D look. It no longer lay flat by any measure. This was not supposed to happen. Stick to the vision.

Perseverance in trying times is what separates the men from the boys...I made an appeal to the gods of quilting on Instagram and they came with answers. All good ones. I felt heartened and finished the quilting. It soon became obvious to me that I would have to trim off some of the edges on the side. The quilt would no longer be a perfect square. No worries. I added more white to the top and bottom and decided the length would make up for the lack of width.

Once I finished quilting, armed with my 'Best Press' and my Eurosteam iron I decided to tackle the wave problem. I almost soaked the quilt with 'Best Press' and steamed it to submission. I went over the quilt a few times till the fibers began to relax and the quilt began to rest flat on the carpet. I must say the iron really saved the day. It paid for itself on this one. Once I was done it was still a little damp so I moved some unopened boxes from my move on top of the quilt and let it dry out. A day later it was dry and flat. I cut out the sides that felt as if they would wave up, but was still left with a substantial flat piece to call a quilt.

I have never bound something so stiff before. My hands hurt from hand binding as the quilt is not very pliable. However all in all I am done, this quilt is behind me and I lived to quilt another day. 

If your are still reading this, thanks for letting me vent. Appreciate your much needed support.  

This is just in time for Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side. I am entering it in the original design category. Hop over and see all the amazing entries that continue to inspire us to keep quilting despite the occasional bump in the road.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Wintry Terrain
Size: 23" x 54"
Category: Original Design
Pieced and quilted on home machine

Sunday, May 10, 2015


I have not got much quilting done lately but have been working on a few small things.

Made progress on the medallion quilt which is part of the SMQG BOM for this year. I do like the way it is progressing.

Recently I bought the double pocket pouch pattern by Aneela Hoey. I really like the pouch and thought it makes a great gift. The zipper assembly on the outside is a bit tricky but her instructions are impeccable. Debbie from A Quilter's Table was the recipient of my first attempt.  Hopefully I did not screw it up too much.

Then I decided to gift them to my mom and sister-in-law as Mother's Day gifts.
Here is the latest attempt. I think it is becoming easier each time I make it.

I see many more of these in my future as I really do like the pattern and how the pouch looks.

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday