It's Friday Link up day again! I love Friday linkup for a couple of reasons. First of all, it gets hits for my (now rather quiet and well behaved) little bloggy! Hooray! I don't know why this is important, but it's very exciting when you get hits.
Secondly, it's actually gotten me blogging regularly again, which has been great. I'm linking up with Leah and also with Gemma, who is a lovely new friend I've met through the local Modern Quilt Guild.
I've just put the finishing touches on the Summer Quilt, and the most fun I've had with it has been with the sashing.
When I first started making this quilt, a friend looked at the top and said "this is really plain compared to what you usually do". This is the first quilt I've made for myself, and the planning has been much more involved than it looks. The main premise of the design was that I'd bought this beautiful Amy Butler fat quarter set (re-release of her first Rowan "Belle" range), and I adored the boldness of it so much that I wanted a design which would unequivocally show off the beautiful fabric. So I made a bunch of very simple striped squares (rail block I think they are called officially) in each of the 4 colourways, and lay them out in diagonals.
The sashing is there with one purpose only: to make those lovely bright squares POP! Plain grey didn't do it, white looked weird (and I didn't want white for practical reasons - this quilt is gonna get a LOT of use), and black was way too stark. I decided I'd use chocolate brown, but most of the dark brown solids I found were too rich and made the squares look a little washed out. I eventually found the PERFECT sashing - a muted dark brown with a subtle fleur de lys type pattern over it. You can't see the pattern when you stand back - it reads as a solid - but when you get close you see this lovely little design which perfectly complements the swirling floral designs on the fabric.
Ok. So far, so good.
I quilted the squares in simple straight lines of random varying width, all FMQ in Superior Threads' "Highlights" in beige. I had the idea that I'd do a trailing rosebud design of my own making on the sashing but when I went to stitch it in the beige, it looked way too stark and just wasn't right. My partner David (who has rather good taste and often gives thoughtful and helpful feedback) agreed that it looked odd, so I started playing with leftover fabric and did some samples in different thread colours and weights. This sort of planning pays off! When I eventually chose the thread and colour, it looked wonderful.
Finally, once I'd done the vertical columns on the sashing, there was a problem: the design didn't really allow for a horizontal complementary design to work in with it. Hmmm. Back to the notebook.
I tend to use Paper (a really beautiful drawing app) fora lot of my quilt designing work, it's really helpful because I can draw a basic outline and then draw several pictures over it with several ideas, which I can then compare and decide what to do. You can see in the drawings above that I had a few ideas, and I eventually settled upon the one with the central rosebud and a few swirls around it.
Again, like the sashing fabric itself, the quilting on the sashing is complex and beautiful, but fades away as you step back, and becomes visible again as you move closer. I love this! I am SO pleased with how it turned out.
The quilt is now in the wash getting its hot bath to shrink up the cotton batting. It'll be on the bed by the end of the weekend! So, final photos later when I have dried it and photographed it properly. :) It feels wonderful to finish such a large and involved project. It was a huge help to have the ongoing lessons and discussions from the Building Blocks Quilt Along group as well.
Sweet dreams to come! :) ...and I've already started the next project. This one's gonna be a quicky - I'm pushing a deadline for 18th April. Hopefully I'll finish on time!