Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blue Plus

Blue Plus
95" x 95"
Blue Plus
I was inspired to make this quilt after making this one back in 2012:
Gift (or here) was made by folding squares of fabric and dipping the folded edges in melted wax (batik), then discharging out the original color, and overdyeing with a new color.  After boiling out the wax, the big squares were sewn together.  I wanted to know how this simple motif would transfer to a quilt that was completely pieced from solids with no batik, no discharge, and no dyeing. (If you click the previous links you will see some other color palettes I designed with Photoshop with this idea.)
However, I didn't have a stash of any significance of solids, but I did have the 100 yard roll of white fabric (waiting to be dyed).  So this definitely counts as a stashbuster because I am using fabric that I already have! I tore off 12 panels (each about 19" wide to allow for shrinkage).  This would give me three 18" squares from each panel (the fabric was 59" wide) for a total of 36 blocks (aka, big enough for a king sized bed). I picked this size for the blocks because it would work with fat quarters too.  And then I decided on a quieter color palette, because honestly, the quilt, Gift, is just about as bright as you can get and can be a bit overwhelming in a small room!
Here they are being rinsed on our zip line.  Just love the perspective view!
After washing and drying and ironing, I cut the fabric into 18" blocks.  Then I trimmed off two strips (2.5" wide), one from the side (this will be the long strip), and one from the top (this will be the shorter strip). I set the strips aside and tossed the blocks up on the design wall:
And because there are 3 of each color, the design is easily balanced by this rather random arrangement.  Sorry for the bad lighting here, truly a snapshot if I ever saw one!
Next, I tossed up the strips by selecting strips that were different colors that the background.  I was looking for contrast, which was not easy in this pale landscape.
Once again, bad lighting, but you get the idea.  I also decided at this point to make the plus motif a big wonky by offsetting the piecing a bit.
Next up, the cutting and sewing of the blocks.  I cut each block horizontally about half way or slightly less or more, and then stitched the short contrasting strip to both of the cut sides.  Then I cut each block vertically, once again, about half way, and then stitched the long strip to both cut sides.  After all the blocks are sewn together to complete the quilt top, the blocks have a finished sized of about 16". 
One thing that I noticed after completing this quilt was that I liked the way the blocks looked before piecing.  This is because the scale looks different, the plus motif is wider compared to the block after piecing.  I like the wider better.
LEFT, unpieced layout: RIGHT, after piecing together all the blocks
Next time! Also for next time (if there is a next time),  I maximized the size of the quilt by keeping all the cuts very straight and perpendicular.  I seriously think it would have been worth it to make the blocks with more wonky angles and trade off for smaller blocks.  Plus, the quilting....quilting giant monoliths on a home machine is just very hard work.  It makes your shoulders and back bark like a rabid dog (truth, I've never seen a rabid they even bark?)
The machine quilting:  I did not want to do 1/4" quilting like I did on Gift.  This one "needed" it's own unique quilting lines!  I decided to make 1" quilting lines inside a giant ring of quilting lines and then quilt 1" lines again in the other orientation on the outside of the circular ring.  Don't ask me why, it's just what happened, but I LOVE the way it looks:
And if you are wondering about what I put on the back?  I purchased a solid blue fabric.  Sigh....seriously not up to my demanding standards!! Ha! And to answer my original question, this quilt has a lot going for it, but I really prefer the batiked squares more. That was a lot of work to answer a simple question.


Dinner at Eight Artists said...

I love it! Interestingly, I just pieced a very large, predominantly blue, quilt, too! I laughed when I read your "barked like a rabid dog" comment. This is a good argument for longarm work, if I ever read one. Seriously, pull/pushing these large quilts through a domestic (or even a mid-arm!) machine is taking a toll on my shoulders. Oy! Thanks for showing us your process. I love it!

Kathy York said...

Thanks Leslie! I bought the mid-arm just so that I could quilt large quilts under it, but since it does NOT have a walking foot, it is actually harder to do large quilts than my regular sewing machine (the Juki 2010Q). And, I still have reservations for the long-arms (mainly that it limits design choices for quilting). However, I seriously love the quilting lines on your blue quilt. A perfect choice, and done exceedingly well!