Sunday, November 19, 2017

Boxed In

I started this quilt 3 years ago at a Seattle MQG quilting retreat. I had a pile of Cotton & Steel basics on one hand and a stack of packing paper from my recent move to Seattle on the other. My sewing room was filled with boxes and I felt trapped in it when I sat at my sewing machine. Such little space and so many things to fit into the tiny room. It was quite a discomfort to downsize drastically from our sprawling residence in NJ. It was as if the walls were closing in on me. I poured this feeling on paper and came up with a variant on the log cabin called "Boxed In"

Like all quilts it's beginnings were very humble. The first time I drew a schematic and picked a few colors from the stack and got started.

Each block took me about 5 to 6 hours from start to finish. Since I was making it up as I went along it took me a long time to get things just right. Many a time I had to go back and rework the template. 

Progress was slow. I did not have enough wall space to see how the quilt was progressing. 

I would take it to retreats as the only project to work on in an attempt to finish it, but it took so long to make each block that I returned from a few retreats without completing it.

At one such retreat, Debbie from A Quilter's Table took a picture of me knee deep into it.

At one point I thought I was almost done with the 3x3 configuration but something about the proportion of the quilt did not sit right with me. I decided to add one more row. As it got larger, piecing the blocks together got increasingly difficult. The thin lines would not stay straight and I had to redo the seams a few times. I had to glue multiple pieces of paper together for the multi block template. Not an easy task in a small sewing area.

Putting all the blocks together was perhaps the hardest thing for me. I had to try a few times before it all lay flat. 

Once I was done piecing I had hoped to quilt it such that the lines echoed the block design. Having spent my energy on the piecing, I struggled to muster up enthusiasm to quilt it. This is when I turned to my dear friend and fellow quilter Krishma Patel. I conveyed my overall plan but mostly left it to her. This is a progress picture she sent me and I could not contain my excitement. I knew I had made the right choice by sending it to her.

Finally it arrived at my door step. I faced it, this has become my go to binding method these days. Waited for a clear day to take some pictures and here it is.