Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Turn the Dial
71" x 71"


I have been working on a new quilt since the beginning of the year, and it's finally finished!

I loved working with the yellow color palette, it was fun and inspired me daily.  This side of the quilt is about applying effort over time to reach a goal. I love how this definition for an Archimedes' Spiral is such a perfect metaphor for life.
I started with a minimal number of pieces for the center.  This is the beginning of one of the biggest mistakes I made while working on this quilt.  I drafted a pattern, and then in an effort to stitch accurately, I decided to mark the seam allowances with pencil.  Great idea, but I should have marked them on the BACK of the fabric, not the front.  Still not that big of a problem, if I had caught it early. But, I did not.  I was not sure how to build this quilt, I just wanted it to be yellow.  So, I cut every single piece and pinned it to the design wall before I started stitching.
That's when I discovered the problem.  I did use an eraser, which helped, but ultimately, I had to scrub the top, in some places, with dilute detergent and toothbrush, and then wash it.  Let's hope I remember this the next time, and do it the right way!
Here's an early shot of building the arcs by stitching one piece at a time.  I also discovered that small errors, multiplied over many pieces, lead to an arc that is not quite the right shape.  It helped to compare what I had stitched to the actual paper pattern I drafted, and making minor corrections as I went along.
Here's a shot of stitching the arcs together.  This I know how to do.  No surprises! Thankful! So thankful!

I decided to quilt this in concentric circles, because it is so perfect for this design (and the one on the back).  Here's a view of the beginning, and a few of the threads that will need to be tucked in.
 I love the way it looks while working on it.
Here's a shot while it is under the needle.  I have just made it around a complete circle here.  I use the quarter inch masking tape to help mark my stitching path.
A problem with quilting in concentric circles is that the quilt can become quite distorted by the time you finish.  The center can hump up like a bell.  The edges can be fluted instead of flat.  It is all about keeping perfect and balanced tension.  And, though I have gotten better, this quilt will still need to be blocked.  This requires getting it wet and pinning it on a flat surface until it dries. I used to block my quilts on the living room floor; it was carpeted with a closed loop carpet.  That floor is now concrete, and it is in cat territory.  My design walls are mobile, so that could have been an option, but after a number of years, they have warped, and do not lie flat anymore.  They are not meant for walking around on either.

Thankfully I have discovered a new foam floor (thanks to a tip from a friend).  I got mine from Home Depot, and it comes in lots of colors. (Yes, I got yellow!) The foam floor is perfect, and I can put it away when not in use! And, it can be built in a number of different sizes, depending on how many squares you buy.
Here's a close up of all the pins I used:

And, just for fun, I thought it would be interesting to show an animation of a few of the steps of the quilt 'growing' on the design wall.  I wish I had taken a few more pictures, but sometimes I get so engaged in my work, I forget to take a photo!

I have now learned how to make a gif file!!  Enjoy!

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