Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan

We returned from our big spring break adventures in Toronto to find Atlanta full of bright green leaves, flowers, and pollen. Or maybe everything just looked really, really green after a few days in Canada where everything is still really, really brown. Our trip was tons of fun, but more about that in my next post. I finished my couch quilt before I left, but it was cloudy and gray and I couldn't get a good picture. So, just a couple hours off the plane and I was tromping around in the back yard trying to get a shot that accurately represents the colors of the quilt.

This one was specifically made to bring together the colors in my living room and I am completely in love with it. Amy Butler fabrics from her Belle collection (I bought these as a fat quarter stack originally to challenge myself because I was in a batik rut) and a Yellow Brick Road pattern. The pattern is one I have made before with my friend Melissa for a charity auction, that time we made it up in batik-ish fabrics in purples and blues. This is a totally different look and the pattern is actually fantastic for showing off large print fabrics. This quilt held quite a few exasperating moments for me (as most of my quilting does), but more about that in a minute. It was originally dubbed "The Ugly Quilt" by me and everyone that helped me in its construction (complementary fabric choices, block placement, quilting suggestions) because after opening up the fat quarter pack of fabrics and laying them out they could best be described as an insane combination, it was really hard to imagine anything cohesive ever being made from them, hence the challenge. The fabrics were so crazy that piecing them together and placing the blocks gave me headaches, but once border fabrics were chosen and the eye was given somewhere to rest, those same fabrics became quite a sassy combination. And then there is the backing fabric. Love, Love, Love this fabric. (click on the picture to get a better look) Admittedly, I had to be talked into it at the quilt shop by my mom and aunt, but they definitely saw something that I did not. It is beautiful and brought the whole quilt together, from the back!

Now for the frustrations, pretty much all of them brought on by myself. First, I dutifully sandwiched the quilt (that is when you lay down the backing, put on the batting, and top it off with your quilt top for my non-quilty readers) and pinned the hell out of it to prep it for quilting. Well, usually you quilt on the front of a quilt, but my mom had convinced me to follow the fabric design on the backing fabric, from the back of the quilt. Pretty hard to take safety pins out of a quilt as you come to them when you can't even see them. So, lots of broken needles and unstitching sewn on safety pins. Yes, I should have redone the whole thing at the beginning, but I was too stubborn and too anxious to get to the quilting part. Secondly, did you happen to take a look at the backing fabric?!!! Following this as my guide for my quilting took WAAAAAY more patience than I had on most days. And if I had happened to drink too much coffee on a morning I wanted to get some quilting done? Forget about it. I'm very happy with the end result, but getting there sucked. This was also the largest quilt I had ever tried to quilt by machine, which meant a lot of quilt wrestling. So, a challenging quilt in more ways than one. Usually when I finish a quilt I don't want to look at it for a few weeks, but I can't get enough of this one.


Supreme Ruler of MY Universe said...

Yay! "One down and infinity to go," a young, but wise friend of mine once said, Kristin. Nicely done. But I have to say...binding not my thing! Still into machining it, baby. By the time I'm putting my last stitch in with the quilting my eye has roved to something else and my mind has been inspired by something more power to you.

quiltu said...

Can't wait for my next sleep over!
Do I have to wait until New Year's?

Anonymous said...

Just gorgeous darling..I love it!

Anonymous said...

I too have a Yellow Brick Road quilt top that is ready for borders and I'm struggling with working on it because it too is an "Ugly Duckling"! I know it can be salvaged but wasn't sure how, I think yours has given me ideas and hope. I love how yours looks and the wide green border quieted the "chaos" of the blocks down. How beautiful!