Friday, February 26, 2016

Random Part Two

Whew! I made it. I was on a deadline (well, I don't like to use that word, so let's just say a tight timeline). I had promised two quilts to an organization by March and thought I had plenty of time to make them. I finished one in January (you can see it here), but then suddenly my time at home in February was very short. 

Let me first of all say thank you to everyone who expressed sympathy after my tribute post to my sister-in-law, who passed away at the beginning of this month. Last week we traveled to Colorado to be with family and celebrate her life at a memorial service. We had a wonderful time. It might warm your heart to know that the quilt she used is on its way to the cancer center where she was treated so someone else can enjoy its hug during treatment.

I had finished the top of the quilt that needed to be completed this month before we left on our trip. You can see it in my Random Experiment post here. We got back Sunday night, and I knew that I had to get right to work on the quilting on Monday with a design that could be completed in two days. (I even went on an internet fast so I wouldn't be distracted.) I had thought of just meandering on the quilt, but I wanted a little something more. I settled on meandering on the colorful patches in the main part of the quilt, but I changed to a back-and-forth line in the background patches. This didn't really take any longer, and it added some texture to the background. I could just keep treadling and treadling until I ran out of bobbin thread. 

But then, what should I do with those wide borders? I decided to continue the "random" theme. I used some masking tape and my hera marker to make a simple grid to help with spacing and then FMQ'd half-flowers connected with a wavy line all the way around the quilt. They worked out well. I intended to make another pass and quilt a couple more petals to complete each flower, but I kind of got carried away with a sort of scallop and pretty much forgot about making the scallops actually look like petals when I got to the flowers. I completed the design with a couple more rows of scallops until the flowers were pretty much unrecognizable unless you know where to look. Then, around all that randomness, I did more back-and-forth lines as filler. No real planning, just treadle, treadle, treadle until the bobbin thread ran out. Done in two days. Yippee!

On Wednesday I sewed the binding on, first by machine and then by hand as I caught up on TV shows. And yesterday I washed and dried the quilt. Twice, because there was a little bit of color run the first time through.

And here's how it all came out (lots of pictures):

On our bed--more about that ivory quilt another time.
After washing--more texture-y

As I said in the last post on this quilt, the pattern is Now and Later from American Patchwork and Quilting. It's made from 2 by 4 inch rectangles and 2 inch squares (plus seam allowances for all patches). When I first attached the borders, they were about 7 1/2 inches wide, but I trimmed them to 6 3/4 inches as I neared the end of the quilting. The total size was 56 by 43 1/4 inches before washing and approximately 53 1/2 by 41 inches after washing. 

The colorful fabrics are a variety of half-yard cuts I ordered from the Fat Quarter Shop with a gift certificate I won in the Art Quilt category of the Fall 2014 Blogger's Quilt Festival put on by Amy's Creative Side. I've lost track of the exact fabric names. The background fabric is Moda Bella Solids in Feather. I had ordered it (and then rejected it) for another project. It's a very pale gray, sort of like the color of recycled paper. 

I used Hobbs 80/20 batting and Superior King Tut Cotton quilting thread in Temple. As usual, I pieced the quilt on my Singer Featherweight and FMQ'd it on my Singer 115 Treadle. I also attached the binding with the treadle--so much easier!

Well, you know me. I always try to record what I've learned on a quilt. For this one, it was all about the randomness. I absolutely loved doing the random placement of the colorful patches. It was good for me to let go of a lot of planning.

I also enjoyed the randomness of the FMQ. What I found out with the FMQ is that when you plan to wash a quilt, a carefully planned, neat design isn't always that important. It all turns crinkly and you do lose some of the design anyway. I guess if I had made my flower designs more simple with wider spacing between the lines of quilting, they might have shown up more as flowers. The way I did them, they pretty much just look crinkly and--well--random. Also, the back-and-forth lines--because they were so close together--turned into texture. It really didn't matter if they were neat or not. They don't look like lines, just texture that allows the flower areas to stand out. That means that when I do this kind of quilting, I definitely don't need to stress about how neat my work is. But I will remember that if I do want an element to really stand out, I probably need to plan a little bit more and quilt more sparsely--something that I find hard to do. I just naturally quilt densely. 

Another thing I learned is that my favorite width for cutting binding is 2 3/8 inches. I've tried 2 1/4 and have had trouble with miters, and I've tried 2 1/2 inches, which seems cumbersome. Using 2 3/8 inches and using the edge of my walking foot as a guide for the seam allowance works just right for me. I've also learned that it works best for me to stitch off the edge on a diagonal at the corners when I attach the binding and then start my next stitching line right at the point where I turned the binding rather than at the edge of the quilt. I know everyone has their favorite technique but this is now mine and I'm putting it in writing so I remember it. 

Overall, I'm really pleased with this quilt and with the little time it took to make it. I do think, though, that with the fabrics I chose, it is best viewed close up. Some of the patterns are small and from far they tend to look solid. Nothing wrong with that, but they are more interesting close up--especially on the back. Of course, this quilt will mostly be viewed close up as someone snuggles up in it. 

Oh, and one more thing I learned? When I have nearly half a year to meet a timeline, it's probably best to start earlier rather than later. I can't believe I almost didn't make it.

I wish I could have done some outdoor pictures of this quilt, but while I was working on it this week, this was happening outside:
So much for our ornamental grasses

I had no desire to go out there. Not a huge, huge storm, but big enough, and a bit shocking after unseasonably warm weather (temps in the 70's) when we were in Colorado. We ended up with a little over a foot of the kind of wet, heavy snow that lets you know that spring is on the way. Pretty much everything was closed yesterday, and the schools are ending up with 2 1/2 snow days this week. 

I'm linking up this week with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It up FridayConfessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop WhoopLisa in Port Hope for TGIFF, and Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing for Free Motion Mavericks because I need to celebrate a second finish in 2016!!

Have a great weekend, whether you're way ahead of your goal, a little behind, or just making your timeline. Or even if you don't care about timelines. (I usually don't.)


Mari said...

This is lovely Janine! I'm amazed that you were able to do such a beautiful job after what you just went through. I'm sure the organization will be very happy to receive such a generous donation!

Bernie Kringel said...

Wow!!! Janine, I love the quilting on this. Truly gorgeous. I don't think it looks random at all. It fits perfectly and you achieved such lovely texture. This is what I am aiming for... someday! Excellent finish and a gorgeous donation for some lucky organization.
I hope the guy with the snowblower meanders on over to your house too!!

Linda said...

Janine how wonderful that your sister-in-law's quilt will bless someone else.
The quilt and your quilting - wow! I so love the flowers/scallops with the "texture" quilting and am in awe that you FMQ'd it. The fabrics are so pretty together, and the pieced binding and backing are perfect with that wide white border. Nice job! I'm glad you shared the things you learned (I used to do that and stopped - why???) and documented the fabrics, batting, etc - that is something I'm going to do thanks to your inspiration.
My mouth is hanging open on the snow! But your porch and yard are pretty with it. :)

Paige said...

Janine, it is beautiful in every way! Great finish. I would love for you to give us a tutorial on your quilting path in the border. I love it and the scrappy binding. Glad you got to be with family to celebrate the life of your sister-in-law and had safe travels back home. I enjoyed the snow pics too!

karenquiltz said...

Love the border quilting, looks so complex, but after your description, I can see the randomness. Just read your nice comments on my blog and hopped over here to see what you're up to!

Lisa in Port Hope said...

I love the crinkliness of the quilt after washing with that awesome border quilting! And the best thing about a snow like that is staying inside with a cup of hot chocolate :). Thanks for linking to TGIFF!

Claire said...

I like your quilting a lot. And I can see the flowers. :-) I so wish I had kept my mom's treadle! And I like the looks of the quilt too.

Preeti said...

It is such a simple pattern, made beautiful by your fabric choices and then made exquisitely beautiful by your detailed quilting. Love it. And thank you for your darling comment on my Sun City.

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Hi Janine! Oh my that snow is amazing. Love your porch picture the best! The way you quilted your border I found's a cozy finish for sure!

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

Wowee, what a lot of snow! Yech. Your quilt however is amazing. Love, love the quilting on it. So pretty!

Muv said...

Hello Janine,
Your quilt is totally marvellous in every way. I can guarantee that I wouldn't have the self control to let random do the arranging, but seeing how it turned out for you I may have to give it a try. The quilting is wonderful, especially the border that evolved as you worked. Two days' intensive treadling - you are a star!
Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks - your quilt is this week's featured project!
Love, Muv