This has been a long process for me! Since my rheumatoid arthritis really effects my hands, wrists and elbows, I had days that I couldn’t make any progress at all on this quilt. I was, however, determined to finish it by the deadline outlined in the Feathers QAL, hosted by Nydia at the ADD Crafter. The pattern is called Feathers by Alison Glass. The fabrics are gradation batiks from Sew Batik, with the sashing and background made with Kona White. I’ve never paper pieced a whole quilt, so it was quite a process! I love the final result!
Always Last Minute Lucy (as my friend, Jamie, nicknamed me), I finished my entry for QuiltCon and got it submitted about 30 minutes ago. Heck, I had 4 hours to spare, so I’m early! 😉 QuiltCon is the first convention for the Modern Quilt Guild, held in Austin, TX, in February of 2013. That’s right around the corner! EEE GADS! I’ll be going with some friends from the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild, and it’ll be fun to experience it firsthand!
My entry is called, Is There a Court Jester in the House?. I love this Tula Pink pattern called Crown Jewels. I had a particular fabric line in mind for this quilt, but when I walked into Strawberry Patches, I spied the Penelope 4 line by Lakehouse, and it was an “aha moment” for me. These are not fabrics that I’d usually choose for a project, because I usually go bold. However, I thought they’d look great against a dark gray background! The gray is Moda Bella Graphite, purchased at Bolts to Binding and Pink Chalk Fabrics. The hats remind me of court jester hats, so that’s how I came up with the name. I was going to do a lot of straight line quilting, but I just kept thinking that the quilting needed to be quirky and springy, as in springs. After drawing lots of designs on the steamy shower doors….I’d bet that lots of quilters do this…..I came up with the feathered springs. I used thread that blended into the background fabric so that you see lots of texture. The backing was another “first time” for me, in that I’ve never done back art on one of my quilts. I get all intimidated, and I’m not very patient. Once I’m ready to load a quilt, I want to get on with things! When I was talking about piecing an extra block into the backing, my friend, Pam, said, “Why don’t you make a huge crown?” I thought it was a brilliant idea, then immediately got frozen up with how to do it. That’s when I usually just go the easy route. I gave myself a rather brutal butt chewing, and proceeded to make myself a paper piecing pattern from freezer paper. It was a bugger to get the first piece started, as I didn’t want to use a lot of glue to hold the initial piece in place. That’s where the freezer paper came in handy! The wax on the paper held the pieces in place, as long as I didn’t move the thing around a lot. It took me all day at our BMQG sew-in to get the crown pieced, but it was so worth the effort!
Several things about making this quilt provided personal challenges for me. I’ve never custom quilted a quilt using a layer of Hobbs 80/20 and Hobbs Wool before. That may sound simple, but as a longarm quilter, it presents certain challenges. I’ve also never custom quilted a piece that had so much negative space. That can be daunting! As I’ve already talked about, making the backing was a new adventure for me. Then there was the turmoil of trying to decide on quilting designs. Usually, something “speaks” to me pretty quickly. This one did, but I kept thinking that I needed to do something else on it. I finally went with what my initial instincts were, and I love it! Finally, entering the quilt into QuiltCon was also quite daunting for me. I’ve only been involved in Modern Quilting for two years, and I’m still not sure I have the hang of it! As with everything, the meaning of “modern quilting” is evolving. Believe it or not, I’m easily intimidated….by a small, critical voice in my head. ALL THE DANGED TIME! I only fake confidence!
Last, but not least, I’ve really been struggling with pain lately. Monday and Tuesday were really bad, to the point that I couldn’t get comfortable, regardless of what I did. It probably had a lot to do with doing way too much over the Thanksgiving holiday, then tackling this project at the very last danged minute! I had to get my IV meds on Wednesday, along with an extra steroid shot for the joint inflammation, which also happened to be the day of the week that I give myself a shot of Methotrexate. I think it was the combination of fatigue and all of the meds on the same day that made me sicker than a dog on Thursday. It resulted in a total meltdown on Thursday night, with me sitting here by myself, tears rolling down my face. Things don’t get to me very often, because I intentionally try to maintain a positive attitude. However, dealing with these diseases can really get me down sometimes. I couldn’t help but think about how much my life has changed in the past few years. My body has changed, and I think my personality has changed. I miss the way I used to be. Okay, ‘nuf of that. All of this is the final reason I was determined to finish this quilt! I was not going to let all of this keep me from completing something that was personally important to me! Now that my entry is complete, I feel like doing a victory lap or something! Of course, I can’t run, so I’ll do it in my own little head! 😉 So I say to all of the obstacles I’ve overcome with this project…BOOYA!!!! I am still the boss of me! Well, sometimes. WUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Close up of the front
This is the crown I pieced in the back. It’s about 20″ wide by 30″ high
I don’t know about everyone else, but Plan A almost never works out for me. When beginning a project, I usually have a Plan A, B, C, D, and sometimes I get even further than that in the design process!
There was a time when, if Plan A didn’t work, the project went back into a bad, drawer, or shelf somewhere, never to be worked on again. Then I got involved with the Bakersfield Modern Quilt Guild and started researching what modern quilting was all about. The terms, refashion, repurpose, and reuse, are all very big in modern quilting. The more I learned about MQ, the more I started giving myself permission to screw up and NOT throw that project into the closet! I keep telling myself that mistakes are simply new design opportunities, right? Works for me!
Recently, I got interested into participating in a couple of online swaps. The first swap was called the Pretty Little Pouch Swap. I had never made a purse or pouch of any sort, and I hadn’t inserted a zipper into anything since high school! Needless to say, I was a little bit intimidated! So, on to Plan A for the PLP swap! I dug through my precious Kaffe Fassett fabrics and came up with Plan A. I was loving it until I posted a progress picture on the Flickr group for the swap. There were very few positive comments about it, because not everybody is a Kaffe fan. Okay, so where was my Plan B? Most likely, playing in the hall closet with all of the Plan A’s! After hours and hours of trying to come up with a Plan B, I got an idea. I could envision the general layout in my head, but had no idea how to execute it. Little by little, I let Plan B come to fruition. I loved the end result, and I learned that sometimes ideas need time to marinate. This was one of them.
Plan A Pretty Little Pouch Swap
Plan B Pretty Little Pouch Swap
I’ve decided to finish the first one and give it as a gift. The colors are brighter in person, and I know that the recipient of the pouch likes Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
I also participated in an online pillow swap called the Pillow Talk Swap. I didn’t start with a Plan A. I bought the fabrics, then let several ideas marinate for a while. This was the end product, inspired by Victoria at Bumble Beans.
The next swap deadline is right around the corner. In this one, we are making and swapping doll quilts. They are to be made out of Denyse Schmidt fabrics and measure no bigger than 16″ x 16″. Plan A was absolutely fabulous, in my head! Once it was on the design wall, it stink, stank, stunk!!!
After my friend, Pam, posted a picture of a paper-pieced braided star block she’d made, I had my Plan B!
This was such fun to make! I need to add a 2″ border and quilt it, then it’ll be off to my swap partner! If you want to make this block, you’ll find the paper piecing template and tutorial at http://www.add-crafter.com/2012/04/basketweave-braid-star-block/
I can’t leave you without a picture I took this morning, after this danged cat woke me up so that I could open the shutters and window in my sewing room. This is his favorite place to sit in the morning.