I started a king sized quilt back at the start of summer. I've had so many other projects going concurrently that the progress has been really slow! The up side has been that I've not gotten the usual frustration and hatred that comes with a large project. Score :)
So today's little project was finishing off the stright line quilting on the squares. Phew. That was a BIG job. I've not made a king sized quilt before and I'm a little bit gobsmacked at just how much more work there is in one of these compared to a queen. heh.
Finally, feeling brave partly because of Leah Day's fabulous Building Blocks Quilt Along which I've been religiously taking part in, I decided to mark up a quilt for the first time ever. Every quilt I've made to date has been done freehand. The closest I've come to marking was with the Dark Star Quilt, and I didn't mark, I used masking tape as a "ruler" for the straight lines, which I'd wanted super-straight.
Part of the reason I want to mark this rather than doing it freehand is that the design I want to do is relatively complex - well not complex as such, but it's a design that if you do it a bit too wobbly, or the proportions are off, it doesn't look right. It's my own design* and I've spent a while working on it and perfecting it, and I want it to look just right. So, marking it is. Something I've been getting a lot out of with Leah's quilt-along is the ability to stick to the markings, which has taken a lot of practice.
The other reason is that something I've noticed in previous work like calligraphy and also in quilting is that when you repeat a pattern again and again and again it subtly changes as you do, and the last row of sashing is likely to look quite different to the first row. The design smooths out. It may become more elongated, or rounder, or whatever tends to happen as you hit your stride.
I want the quilt to be very uniform in this area, so I got some template plastic and made up a sashing template, cutting out a stencil so that I can trace onto the quilt with a ceramic pencil and go straight over the top, pretty much the same as in the quilt-along. That way the first row will look the same as the last, even if it takes me weeks of one-row-atta-time to do. (another big hooray for Leah and her superior teaching skills!)
The final step was realising that the beige Highlights thread I'd used for the squares is way too light for the sashing. Like, WAY. I'd marked, started up, and quilting 3 sets of rosebuds, and BOOM it stood out like bright white. Now, part of the rationale in this quilt's design is that I'd bought this delicious Amy Butler fabric, and I've chosen a design and quilting style that will absolutely show off that gorgeous gorgeous stuff. The quilting, for this quilt at least, is secondary to the lusciousness of the colour and print of Amy's beautiful Belle range (which was, incidentally, her very first range and has recently been re-released). So I didn't want anything to take away from that. White rosebuds winding their way up the sashing? way too distracting and arresting.
So, unpicked that. It was only a little bit, so no drama. I knew after only 5 minutes of quilting that it wasn't going to look right.
Now I've done what I should have done in the first place - I've grabbed some leftover fabric and rustled up a couple of samples in different threads. I'm going with the brown - partly because the grey is 50 weight and too fine for the look that I'm going for and the brown is 40 which looks much nicer, and the colour blends enough to show off the squares, but doesn't disappear entirely. Like the sweet fleur de lys pattern on the brown sashing, it'll only be visible close up, and fade from view as you step back to view the quilt from a distance. Perfect, and just what I wanted.
So today... I guess today is gonna be all about getting on to that sashing and making some progress. Hooray for lazy Saturdays. I've completed my yoga practice in the morning sun, blogged my damn head off (ooh boy 700 words, hope I don't get too many TLDRs today) and now it's all about hanging out, listening to an audio book, and the purring hum of the sewing machine. Perfect indeed.
* a little note about designs that I share online: I'm ok for people to copy this design to use on their quilts. But if you're going to use it in a project and share that online yourself, do credit the design back to me- just link to the main blog monnsqueak.typepad.com and we're good. I've taken inspiration and ideas from many artists myself, and I credit my sources whenever I can. All I ask is that you do the same. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.