Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will Quilting Make the Quilt?

Nineteen years ago I was a fairly new quilter and would devour almost any book published on the subject.  One book was especially fascinating, and I think it has stood the test of time.  Quilting Makes the Quilt is by Cleland, Weiland and Shayne, and demonstrates, with beautifully detailed photos, how five identical quilts look when quilted with five different techniques.  Now, mind you, it wasn't just ONE quilt made five times, but TWELVE.  Yep, sixty quilts, five of each, all quilted differently.  At that time, as now, just finishing ONE quilt and quilting it is a big deal for me.  But making something five times?  Yikes.  I still love looking at that book and I just shake my head.  Which leads me to the photo.  I am still working on my pieced quilt of the map of the United States.  This quilt has taken me longer to design and make than any other I have done.  Maybe in nineteen years it will be done.  Well, I thought it was done a few days ago.  I just couldn't come up with a good quilting design for it, so I just gave in to the good old meander stitch.  Put on the binding, washed and dried it, put on a label.  Now to do the instructions.  But, every time I came up to the studio, the map quilt made me feel shameful.  So much work, and the quilting was meh.  Too late now.  In the meantime, I have been looking at photos from Quiltcon, the first Modern Quilt Convention that just took place last week.  The Quilts!  The Colors!  The Quilting!  I felt even worse about the map quilt.  So, today, just a few very short days from packing up and taking another car trip (60's music...here we come!), I decided to avoid trying on old bathing suits to see if they fit (they won't), writing pattern instructions, and cleaning in case we don't make it back and the kids have to sell the place.  I echoed the meander quilting a couple of times and then decided to fill in the empty areas with little pebble stitches. You can see the areas that "unpebbled". Probably not the best idea I have ever had, but I think it already looks like I have put a little more thought into the whole project.  I am pretending that the meanders are the ocean currents and that the bubbles are from all the fish.  I have never done bubbles/pebbles before, so the going is slow.  I don't know what I am going to do with the rest of the quilting on the quilt yet.  On the map, I meandered with a variegated thread and put stars about where each state capital would go.  Subtle.  I know that adding more quilting after the quilt is bound and washed is a bit risky.  We will see where all this heads.  This quilting will either make this quilt....or not.  Jerilynn

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