This quilt is a study in freehand cutting (not using the straight edge of the ruler to make cuts) and improv piecing; and it was born out of a need to calm my fears and a want for a stack of pretty quilts in our home.
I realized not long ago that our household lacks quilts. How did that happen? I see stacks of quilts piled high on Flickr and on quilt blogs. And I feel like I am missing out. I want a stack! Most of the quilts I have made have gone to others. So I am now on a mission to make some quilts for us to use, wherever and whenever.
But a big reason that this quilt came to be is a bit of a convoluted story.
I was asked to demonstrate a block at the last DMQG meeting. I decided to demo a technique that is new-to-me: cutting and piecing gentle curves without pins. I pulled out my stack of Hey Sugar (by Cosmo Cricket for Andover) prints + Kona solids (that I had planned to use for one of my bees) to make a couple of sample blocks incorporating freehand cutting, gentle curves and improv piecing (did you catch all of that?!).
The first couple example blocks I made, I loved. But as I continued the process, I started to doubt my vision. After getting a few more blocks made, I placed them side-by-side and they just looked messy; kind of like I did not know what I was doing.
Following the meeting and over the next few days, I quickly worked on more blocks, hoping that the more blocks I saw together, the more they would make sense as a whole. I made three to four blocks at a time, utilizing chain piecing as much as I could. Since there were only 24 (12″) blocks to make, the top came together seemingly quickly. I put all other projects on hold — projects with deadlines — to work on this impromptu quilt-for-no-reason.
In the back of my mind, I kept telling myself, it will look good in the end, it will look good in the end…
Even though I tend to avoid quilt designs that involve a lot of precise piecing and matching points (like here), my block corners do a pretty good job of matching up in this top, enough though it is not crucial to the design (hello, run-on sentence!). So, apparently my piecing skills are improving in all of the sewing I have done lately. Maybe that is a sign that I should try some designs that incorporate more intricate piecing??
And now, the back… the back began as an exercise in thrift. I started putting the back together using the leftover Hey Sugar pieces. Once I was about halfway done with the back, I hated how it looked. It was too patchworky. Too many pieces. Too busy. In thinking about the time and heart I put into the top, I felt like the hobo-style back would ruin the entire quilt. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the look of the pieced backs I see out there. Somehow though, when my backs incorporate too many prints, they look amateurish.
So despite trying to resist the urge to buy more fabric, I decided that it would be more than worth it to fork over a few bucks to get a Kona solid to use on most of the back (Aloe, I believe?). A large area of solid + a little print + a little piecing = a much happier me.
For the quilting, I did horizontal organic “straight” lines that were irregularly spaced. The wavy lines mimic the feel of the improv piecing in the blocks. And for the binding, I loved that I was able to use the print with the diagonal stripes, so my binding only looks like it was cut on the bias. And I used a new-to-me method to join my binding that Juanita (of Settler’s Peace and fellow DMQG’er) posted about.
I have not washed this quilt yet only because I fear that those chunks of red may bleed over all of that ivory. I did not prewash any of the fabrics and I will soon find out if that was a mistake or not. I have a box of Colorcatchers ready for the inaugural laundering. Here’s to hoping that I have a smile on my face as I pull it out of the washer!