Well I never, another finish!
Actually, I finished this quilt ages ago, but never quite got round to taking any photos of it. But a timely reminder last week that the Q1 Finish-Along is about to, well, finish, reminded me that this had been on my To Do list. So I whipped out the camera, hopped onto the balcony, and got to it!
I started this quilt back in September last year, when I took a class with Marti Michell at the Carrefour Européen du Patchwork in Ste Marie-aux-Mines. I’ve loved the look of the Kaleidoscope block for a long time, and the chance to take this class with such a well-known teacher, and in ENGLISH too, was way too good to pass up. Now my French is certainly good enough that I can follow when I take classes here, but, well, they can be quite exhausting! I always have to concentrate really hard to make sure I’ve totally understood what I need to do, and then there’s all the having to translate cm into inches, which makes them somewhat challenging at times. A class in English for a change – well, hooray!
According to the pre-course information, highly contrasting colours work the best for this quilt. So I chose black and white, with a pop of yellow.
The quilt top itself was actually finished on the day of the class – which is an absolute first for me. I’m not a super-speedy quilter like my friends Ms JJ or Ms C, and I’m pretty much always one of the last people to finish any given project. But this time I was the first – probably because it was all in English!
Then I came home, and the quilt languished in the back of the cupboard while I tried to decide how to quilt it.
Back in January, I decided enough was enough, and added it to my list for the Q1 Finish Along and the projects I wanted to finish during my fabric fast. And I got stuck in. I started off quilting in the ditch around the distinct Kaleidoscope circles, hoping that this would make them stand out. But it didn’t have the effect I wanted. So I then quilted every seam in the ditch, thinking that this would show up the contrast between black and white.
Now this worked a little better, but it still didn’t have the effect I was after. I wanted to highlight the circular nature of the Kaleidoscope. And given that the fabric had circular motifs and dots on it, I decided to try quilting some circles.
The design then evolved to contain concentric and interlocking circles in the quilt centre, and overlapping circles in the outer border.
It’s easier to see the quilting design from the back of the quilt – and yes, it really is that bright a yellow, one of the many perils of choosing fabric online…
I finished the quilting back in January, and it was one of my first finishes of 2014. And I’m really pleased with it. It’s only quite small (measures 33″ x 33″) so it wasn’t too daunting to quilt. In fact, it was a great confidence boost for me, as I am always petrified that I’ll ruin my beautiful quilt tops with inexpert quilting or a badly chosen design. This time I just went with it, and let the quilting design evolve organically. And I think that it works. Maybe I should have more faith in myself!
So even though I’ve only just got around to sharing this quilt, I’m linking it up with the Q1 Finish Along Finish Party. Why not pop over and have a peep at some of the other beautiful finishes out there?
Well I never, the quilt show is almost upon me. And I’m all ready! My entries are all quilted, bound and labelled, with the requisite hanging sleeves attached, and I spent an hour at my friend Chris’ this afternoon de-furring them (totally pointless even to consider doing so here…) I’ve just got back from handing them in at my guild meeting tonight, and I’m feeling exhausted!
In the end I decided to enter the maximum 3 quilts, along with the challenge. You’ll have to wait another couple of weeks to see all three, as one of them is too large to be put on the floor and photographed – the photo will have to be taken when it’s hung at the show. But I did want to show off my challenge entry, which, despite Very Unpromising Beginnings, turned out rather well (even if I do say so myself!)
The turnaround all started with a great suggestion from Sarah at Thrift Store Crafter, who said she saw the snail trail block in the embroidery. So I took that idea and went with it! I made twelve 4″ snail trail blocks as an outer border, then I surrounded the embroidery itself with the fabric in the snail trail centres, and added a flying goose block at either end (each with one green and one neutral coloured wing). To echo the black diamond in the embroidery, I added some black bias tape running across the corners of the quilt, and finished it off with a skinny black binding. And it had to be very skinny, given the size constraints of the challenge. I think I came in one mm under the maximum allowable width. Phew!
For the quilting, I wanted initially to do something quite elaborate, but my lack of a working foot pedal meant I had to use my walking foot and the stop/start button rather than going free-motion crazy. In the end, it worked out brilliantly. In this case, I feel, less is most definitely more. I started out by quilting little on-point squares in the centre of the snail trail blocks, then I ditch quilted around the outside edge of each ‘swirl’.
Once the blocks of the border were outlined, I turned my attention to the quilt centre. I wanted to echo the diamond shapes in the embroidery, so I used my walking foot to stitch a radiating diamond pattern on either side of the embroidery piece. I started with a light green thread, and then I sewed between these stitching lines with a darker green thread. I think it gives the diamonds more of a sense of motion, creates more interest on the quilt, and adds texture to the whole piece.
I did consider embellishing the quilt a little, but to tell you the truth, it’s not really me. So I just left it at that. And after all that, I find that I actually like it! We had to give the quilt a name, so I called it “Blackbirds Flock to Guns”. This is an anagram of Some Very Bad Words once uttered by RR during a somewhat frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful DIY session, and it reflects exactly what I felt when I first saw what the challenge involved! I won’t say any more, but you can probably work it out for yourselves if you really want to!
So here I am now, back at home, quilts handed in, all packed for my quilt retreat this weekend, sewing machine and fabric stashed in Chris’ boot, and I feel oddly bereft. All that energy I put into getting everything finished in time for the show has now dissipated and I’m at a bit of a loose end. Still, with Peaks starting tomorrow afternoon, and a weekend of full-on sewing planned, I’m pretty sure it won’t be all that long before I’m all quilted-up again! Watch this space…
It’s Wednesday, so I’m linking on up again to Lee at Freshly Pieced. Why not do the same?