Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Charmed Remix

Charmed Remix
80" x 80"
It is hard to believe that it has been 3 months since I have posted anything.  I have been hard at work, but with other home improvement projects.  Meanwhile, this little quilt had been bothering me. (See previous post.) I had 'finished' it, but I didn't really like it that much, and it felt unfinished.  And it was blocking my creativity. Something needed to be done.  Then I had a flash of an idea that I thought might work, so I did a mock up on Photoshop, and I LOVED it.  Which just meant that now I had to DO it.  I knew it would be a lot of work, and if you are interested, I will show you what I did below!

First step was removing the old facing on the top and bottom of the quilt.  Easy!
Next, I drew the cutting lines across the surface of the quilt in a permanent marker.  Then I stay-stitched very close to the black lines before cutting the quilt apart with my scissors.
After all the pieces were cut, I rearranged the order of the quilted pieces, and looked at it for a while.  It definitely looked a LOT better in the new arrangement. So, I began by stitching the first two pieces together with a zigzag stitch, meanwhile wishing that my zigzag stitch was wider, but it is not. 

The reason this looks so complicated on the photo is because there are actually two passes with the zigzag, one from the front, and the other from the back.  And, they also neatly line up with the stay-stitching I did before cutting the quilt apart. On the back side, I used Mistyfuse on fabric strips first pressed right on top of the seam, and then I put the zigzag stitch on top of that.
I have a lot of experience with this type of quilt construction because we used to do this all the time when we made our group art quilts. However, because this was a really large quilt, and intended to be used, (not just hung on a wall), I wanted the front side to be prettier, and I also wanted those seams to be stronger.  So, I pulled out my original stash and began the hunt for matching fabrics to cover that seam. 
After finding them all, I cut them to size.
Then I chain pieced them together in a long strip.
Pinned right sides together on the quilt and then stitched the cover strip on.
I intentionally made the original cut 1/4" off center, so that when I added this cover strip, the seam would be exactly center of the block once it was stitched on and pressed to one side.
Then I turned under 1/4" on the raw side, and pinned it down with tiny applique pins, and handstitched in place.

Then I repeated all these steps on the other 3 seams.

To complete the illusion and also strengthen the seam even more, I decided to extend the existing quilting lines on top of the cover strip.  It was about this time I was starting to question using so many different colored thread choices. I think I used about 45 different colors.  Nuts!
There were some vertical lines, but most of the new quilting lines were horizontal, spaced approximately 1" apart on 4 different seams.  It made for a lot of thread ends to tuck in.  I didn't think I would ever finish, even though I was so close to the end!
The illusion is complete! Here is a closeup detail of one of the seams.
In the end, it was a huge amount of work.  But ultimately it was worth it.  I really like the quilt now, and I didn't before.  Also, since finishing this one, I have moved on to quilting another one that has been languishing on the shelf.  More about that one later! 

This work not only cured my creative slump, but it also gave more meaning to me and it feels more authentic.  A lot of the fabrics used in this quilt are children fabrics. I love them!! It not only reminds me of the fun I had as a kid, but also the joy I had parenting my children when they were young.  The cut apart blocks remind me of when my marriage broke apart. A broken home represented here by a cut apart log cabin block. Once again I am in awe of the process of quilting and how it connects deeply with a part of my life. In this case, with lots of effort and attention to detail, the quilt was reformed in a beautiful fashion. I like to think the same thing of coparenting and raising our kids, that with lots of effort, attention to detail, and hope, it can be done beautifully. 

Last if you are wondering how bright this quilt really is? Here is a photo of it in front of my house on an overcast day.