Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Design Wall Monday on Wednesday

Behold, Constructive Chaos!
So on March 10th I posted here and told you about a new applique project I'm cooking up.  Recall that this project originated as a small applique sample for practicing new (to me, anyway) needleturn applique methods.  I didn't like any of the cute projects in my book so I dug through back issues of Quilter's Newsletter magazine and found one applique pattern that I mostly liked except for the hearts, which I swapped out for the stylized tulips on a historical reproduction quilt from another issue.  That was nearly two weeks ago.

I photocopied and laminated my templates as per the Piece O'Cake book instructions, and that went fine except that next time I think I'll photocopy them onto a heavier weight paper to make them a smidge sturdier for tracing around.  I then traced my full-size pattern onto midweight upholstery vinyl with an ultra fine point Sharpie permanent marker, also as per the POC instructions.  But at that point, I decided that I really didn't like the bullseye effect of three stacked circles for the center of my big flower.  After playing around with it a bit more, I decided to make the largest and smallest circle, but not the middle one.  I'll put a ring of little berries or seeds or whatever around the center circle instead.  While I was at it, I added some more little berries at the ends of my tulips, because Bernie likes the little berries.  He has finally started painting my bedroom this week, so he deserves some berries!

Applique Pattern, Revised Yet Again

That's what my pattern looks like now.  I'm happy with it.  The block will finish at 16" x 16" so those stacked petals are pretty big.  I'll be stitching the stems first, then the large stacked petals, so I'll be starting out with gentle curves and not-too-severe inside and outside points.  Then I'll reverse applique the tulip centers before stitching down the tulips and leaves.  As for the circles, large and small, I'll probably still use my heat resistant Perfect Circles and More Perfect Circles templates and starch and press them, because I really like how nicely the circles turn out that way.  We'll see.

Fabric Auditions in Progress
Now what has really been bogging me down is the fabric selections.  I decided to piece my block background from print fabrics, and I'm using my kitchen drapery fabric (Monado in Havana colorway from Vervain) as a color and style inspiration.  I like the mood of it.  But I've been tracing templates and cutting little pieces out of all different fabrics, arranging them on my block background, scowling at the result, and then cutting new pieces out of different fabrics.  I thought that some solid fabrics might be better, so I ordered a few shades of Kona solids online... waited for them to arrive in the mail... cut them out... and rejected them!  Then when I finally settled on my favorite combination of fabrics for the large flower petals, I realized that the only chocolate brown in my stash that could work for the bottom petal was one that I bought several years ago in a fat quarter pack.  So I only had enough to do ONE block.  What's that, you say?  You thought I was just making a little sample block to learn a new technique?  No, now that I've invested so much time just with the pattern and the fabric selections, it will have to be more than one block, at least enough for a throw sized quilt that I can drape elegantly over the arm of the sofa in the family room.  My kids will throw it on the floor -- which is why it's called a throw.

New Fabric Left, Stash Fabric Right
This time I called in reinforcements, and Anders and I went to the Bernina quilt shop in Lowell, NC, Sew Much Fun.  We found the closest substitute possible for my brown print. 

But now I'm thinking I might want to do just one block using the original fabric, and use the new fabric for all the other blocks.  Sometimes in a vintage or antique quilt you'll notice that the quiltmaker ran out of a fabric and "made do" by substituting something similar.  Sometimes quiltmakers would deliberately set one block upside down, an intentional mistake symbolizing that no one is perfect.  Anyway, I cut four perfect petals and one little tulip out of my brown daffodil print fabric so far, and I'd rather not throw them in the scrap bin if I can make them work in my quilt.  So, we'll see.

I still have only the vaguest idea which fabrics I'm going to use for the circles and seed/berries in the center of my flower.  After I recut the rest of my leaves from the darker green print fabric, the flower centers will be the last item on the agenda. 

I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday post because the linky is still open, and I can.  I'm also linking up to Esther's Works In Progress Wednesday, since it IS Wednesday, after all. 


Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca - I like your revised block and fabric choices. One thing....I have always thought that the old saying about how old time quilters would deliberately make a mistake in a quilt (by constructing one block upside down or backwards or something) to demonstrate humility and acknowledgement that only God was perfect, was the height of arrogance! I mean, if you have to deliberately make a mistake, aren't you saying that in effect your quilt would be perfect unless you had done that? I don't get how that is humility.........Claudia W

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

love the applique block you are doing, I have one similar to what you are doing but it doesn't have as many layers

Nancy said...

Your block looks great. I can't imagine it with hearts anywhere in. I really enjoyed reading this post because you explained your thought processes and how you came to the decisions you made. It's so easy to get wrapped up in showing our finished quilts, or finished blocks, without sharing the other parts of quilting, i.e., designing, substituting, the whole process. (I notice you took the process pledge....) Thanks!

P.S. I'm trying to become your newest follower but blogger won't let me at the moment. I'll follow on feedly and come back for the Google Friend Connect thing.

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Claudia. Actually, from a perfectionist perspective, scrutinizing every stitch and agonizing over the tiniest flaws throughout the process of piecing, applique and quilting, I feel like the "deliberate mistake" helps to relieve some of that self-imposed pressure. It's a reminder that you're not going to be perfect, no one else is perfect, either, and your best IS going to be good enough.

Esther Aliu said...

What a beautiful block you're creating, its so nice to read about your progress too