Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Midwinter's Night'" done and lessons learned (edited)


Sometimes I feel like I have been working on this quilt for a long time.

LESSON 1:  DON'T APPLIQUE WITH KONA COTTON.
  • This quilt was designed last spring in a class taught by Elizabeth Barton at AOQ. 
  • Then last fall I bought the Cherrywood fabrics for it. 
  • Then it turned out the black Cherrywood fabric was not black enough for contrast with the blues so I switched to Kona cotton black.
  • Then I decided to hand applique the overlay shapes. Kona cotton is not easy to applique.

LESSON 2:  IT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO QUILT A QUILT BEFORE CONSTRUCTION.
  • Of course this is easier said than done.
  • I had no idea how to quilt it so asked the advise of Jacquie Gering at Craftsy. She suggested crosshatching.
  • Had I known that was how I was going to quilt it during construction I would have quilted it first and then added the shapes. Would have made the quilting a lot easier. Or maybe not since I have never done that before. 

LESSON 3:  I AM TOO OLD TO BLOCK A QUILT ON THE FLOOR.
  • I used muscles that I had not used in a long time and was sore for days so this might be the biggest lesson I learned!
  • Plus it was hard to work on getting it square while squatting, kneeling, and leaning over it on the floor.
  •  I am still not sure it is!

LESSON 4: FOR A QUILT THIS LARGE THAT SEEMS REASONABLY FLAT BEFORE BLOCKING SKIP THE BLOCKING.   
  • This quilt was reasonably flat. I debated about blocking it. I should have squared it up and sewed on the binding and then washed it to get glue and marking out. 
  • This would not only have been easier, but probably just as accurate as what I did.

LESSON 5: IT IS NOT EASY TO FIGURE OUT IF THIS QUILT IS SQUARE OR NOT
  • Yes, no, yes, no....I kept going back and forth on this.
  • It was not easy to trim this quilt after blocking to make sure it was square. I hung it on the wall and at times it looks square and other times it does not. 
  • The optical illusion that is created by the black shapes near the ends of sections can make it look out of square. 
  • I have measured and remeasured and it is reasonably square. Maybe off by an 1/4 inch in some of the longer measurements. Surely that is not bad. It is less than 1% error! Plus sewing on binding always results in some wiggles and distortion at the corners.
  • I even measured along the diagonals and they came out good so it should be square.
  • Almost pulled my hair out when I saw it on the wall yesterday and it did not look straight and square! 
  • Although when I photographed it and cropped it in Photoshop, it seemed pretty square.

LESSON 6: IT IS VERY HARD SQUARING UP A LARGE QUILT.
  • I found this to be really difficult due to the size of this quilt. 
  • Not sure I was really successful. This goes back to Lesson 5 learned above.
  • I wonder how much the wood slat running through the sleeve on the back of the quilt is contributing to the appearance that the quilt is not square....
  • Note: I just adjusted the position of the sleeve on the back of the quilt a little and it looks much better. In fact now it hangs flat without a slat of wood in the bottom sleeve!

LESSON 7: YOU ARE STILL GOING TO NEED A SLEEVE ON THE BOTTOM EVEN AFTER BLOCKING A QUILT THIS WIDE.  
  • Yes I thought by blocking it would be flat and not wavy. That has been the case with my smaller quilts.
  • It still had some wiggle. Well now that I adjusted the top sleeve it does not have much wiggle.
  • So blocking was a waste of time. All that pain for nothing.

LESSON 8: MAKE A QUILT WITHOUT A BORDER
  • It is much harder to square a quilt with a border. I forgot about that since I have made so many quilts without borders lately.

LESSON 9:  LET IT GO AND MOVE ON.
  • The quilt came out very, very, very good, but not the "masterpiece" I thought I was making.
  • Maybe I am the only one that has hopes that are too high for each quilt I make and find myself a little disappointed when it doesn't come out as wonderful as I envisioned. The least little imperfection makes me crazy.
  • Accept imperfections....stop being a perfectionist.
  • Move onto the next project...
Some more close up photos of the quilt.




 Thanks for reading. What lessons have you learned when making a quilt?

Chris

2 comments:

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh so many lessons I've learned. Some I've had to relearn! Because of my many years of making block quilts which even with borders were easy to square up - you had those seam lines for guides - I nearly panicked the first time I had to square up an art quilt with no reference points. Fine if it is small enough to fit on my cutting mat where I can position in what seems the most "square" position and use the lines on the mat for guides when lining up the ruler. But the larger ones with no design lines running horizontally and or vertically have caused problems. I often have resorted to chalk marks which can be adjusted.

Oh those optical illusions though. And the possibility that a sleeve might not be sewn on straight (I see your note now - I've had that happen a few times). I'm getting looser about this with the art quilts. If it's not an obvious angling off, I figure close enough. I know you can do the diagonal measuring thing, but it always struck me as too much work requiring working on the floor and something that would drive me crazy as it sounds it has nearly driven you!

This is a lot to learn from one quilt. But in truth, if you learn nothing from the process, you may be skating. All these lessons help the following quilts to go more easily and be better. That is, if we remember what we've learned!

Ellen Lindner said...

Just how big IS this quilt, Chris? I block my quilts on my design wall. Will that work for you?

Instructions on my website: http://adventurequilter.com/main_page/articles/techniques/blocking-v-2/