Friday 5 August 2016

A dots, spots and stripes obsession

Having made this quilt by Chris Jurd last year, I was up for another challenge.

She makes the most amazing paper pieced quilt patterns and so this time I picked her You Little Beauty pattern which is supposed to look like this:

I was also fascinated by the graffiti artist Jason Woodside (I stalk him on Instagram @jasonwoodside) and I thought it would be really interesting to see what a quilt would look like made in vibrant colours but only with dots, spots and stripes.

I didn't actually have many in my fabric hoard so asked to swap on Instagram and received some incredibly generous packages, including one from @narthexart who offered to screen print me my own collection of prints. I think they add a real individual zing to the quilt.

And off I started.

With a tidy quilt room and a neatly stacked basket of possibilities.

Then I got the bright idea that it would be really good to use all the little left over scraps you end up with from paper piecing and turn that in to the quilt back.

It's not necessarily one of the quickest nor brightest of ideas I've ever had but for the moment, I'm still doing it.

I'd like to tell you the pattern comes together really quickly.

But it doesn't.

Especially when you decide to deviate from the pattern and make it longer and therefore bigger.

But then it becomes a metaphor for life; don't give up, keep going to the very end.
What's the point of life if we don't challenge ourselves from time to time?

And I constantly struggled with the idea of 'perfect' versus 'good'.
So much so that I've even named the quilt which is not what I normally do.

There is definitely a cut-off point from striving for perfection and enjoying the process; where that is, is different for each person.

Will people look at this quilt and think it is a riot of colour and just enjoy it for what it is?

Or will critical eyes scan over it and point out all the missed points and joins?

Do I feel comfortable with my idea of perfection?

No, I'm going to go back and sort out some of the missed joins but it is too late and life is too short to worry about the less than completely perfect points in some of the curved arcs.

Hence its name: The Cut Off Point.

So finally, I got the whole centre of the quilt top finished.

And it was time to think about the borders.

I followed the original pattern which was wavy half, followed by a quieter fabric to straighten the edges.

I made the upper and lower edge borders, sewed them on and disliked them almost immediately.

Suddenly, the eye was drawn to the black and white polka dot fabric and the dramatic impact of the quilt was softened.

I didn't want any one piece of fabric to take centre stage and now one was. I do get the concept of giving the eyes somewhere to rest but in this case I felt the eyes drifting into inertia.

So I unpicked the black border and thought it would be rather fun to actually have the striping, pointy wavy section of the border as the edge of the quilt.

But it was still not right. By doing that I had made the borders too narrow and the balance of border versus blocks didn't work.

I took them out and remade and with one border on and the next started, I am much happier.

The borders you draft yourself so I am just making the spikes random widths and then keeping the whole foundation paper strip neatly clipped together, slowly unraveling a piece as and when I need to.

And that's where I'm at so far.

It's become an obsession; a battle of mind over matter. There are other things I want to make but until I've finished this, everything else has fallen by the wayside.

As you can probably see...

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