Monday, August 16, 2010

New Week's Resolution

I have woefully neglected this blog in the past few weeks, but it is Monday, the beginning of a new week and I have resolved to be pay more attention to journaling my quilting journey.  Since this blog focuses--or tries to--on quilting/art related topics, I will not tell you about one of the big distractions from my quilting last week:  an energy-filled visit from our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and her parents, which of course involved preparing a house full of pointed quilting tools as well as dust in corners I normally don't notice.
Even this was quilt-related, however, since I was forced to take some time out to organize fabric and rulers, and I also had a great talk about the meaningfulness/usefulness of art with her mother. 

I also taught two classes, the first on making labels using a computer printer and the second on dyeing.  Great people signed up for them so there were lots of questions and a good bit of laughter.  And I thoroughly enjoyed both.  The dyeing class was somewhat dependent on the weather, since it was to be outside, but that Saturday morning dawned beautifully sunny and refreshingly cool--a bit too cool for the dyes, but I managed to get things warmed enough that they seemed to work fine.   I often get too involved in the classes to remember to take pictures, but I did record the final exciting moment of truth when the iron reveals exactly what the fabric will look like.

And I have been quilting, just not writing about it.  Our local guild's biennial exhibit opens Labor Day weekend and I have been hard at work trying to finish two quilts.  I realistically abandoned a third that was just not going to get finished by the deadline.  And I am on to the binding at last on one:
Binding should be easy, right?  But even here this quilt gave me a challenge.  I had decided not to face it because I had triangles going right to the edge and I felt they needed something beyond to finish. 

I finally decided that binding it in the dark gray would finish the edge but not call attention to the binding.  I had dyed almost all the fabrics for this quilt and had found that gray was much more challenging than I thought.  It was very easy to get a gray with an obvious green or blue cast and this was not what I wanted.  Finally I got the perfect color for the body of the quilt but then decided the best color for the border would be gray.  Not enough dye left, of course, so I had to put a quick order in to Dharma and then kept my fingers crossed that the mix of dyes would work again.  It did and I thought I had used most of that fabric up creating the border.  But now there was some perfectly good dark gray that I could use as a narrow binding--or so I thought.

I set about squaring up the quilt and measuring the binding strips and sewed the first side on.  Luckily I decided to check things out before starting the next side.  My binding, which had looked fine in regular light, had a slight but definite greenish cast in bright, clear lights when it was attached to a whole side.   Not acceptable.  You'll have to take my word for this because I could not get the contrast to show on a computer monitor.   Not only that, I had stopped the quilting about a half inch below the binding, thinking it would be a nice contrast but it looked unfinished.  More free motion quilting was called for! And that meant more squaring and measuring. . . .

After a day of depression and questioning whether this ornery quilt was worth it, I sat down to add the quilting and a wonderful thing happened.  I found myself having a good time.  I am still not satisfied with having complete control over my stitching--no Diane Gaudynski in this house!--but I have done enough of it with all those Doodle Squares that I can get in the flow of it and have fun.  I knew that free motion quilting was not as stressful as it once was, but I would never have thought that I would look forward to that part of the quilting process.  

Black seemed to be the best choice for the binding and, as sometimes happens, it was good that the gray did not work out because the black provides a better frame for all the movement in the quilt.  Of course there is still the hanging sleeve and the label as well as a bit of hand quilting to do yet, all of which take more time than they look like they should.  But this quilt looks like it might make it for the show.

My second quilt is very experimental and difficult to photograph.  I am still not sure whether my planned hanging system for it will work, but more about that later. . .  And if you're still with me, thanks for the company.

1 comment:

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Thank you for sharing. I really like how you finished the quilt above.

I cant wait to see what the "very" experimental project looks like....sounds fun.