Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Taking the Unmapped Road - a new show quilt

Meet my newest show quilt.  I call her "Taking the Unmapped Road".  It is currently at it's first show, MQX.  At the time I wrote this post, judging had not yet taken place.  By now, though, it is judged and it's fate is sealed.  I will find out on Wednesday evening if it ribboned or not.
This quilt is over 2 years in the making.  That is mostly by my own procrastinating though.  The quilting was nearly finished (all but the outer red border) 15 months ago.  At that point in time, I was accused of stealing this design along with many of the quilting motifs -- a threat that is completely untrue.  I have enough integrity and design abilities to do this my way.  I got so mad, I boxed it up for a year and finished The Twisted Sister instead. The quilt and I needed a cooling off period so that every time I looked at it, I was not reminded of the accuser.

I think the judging coordinator likes to get my heart racing.  She posts a photo from during the MQX judging for most categories. This is not the first time one of my quilts has popped up during judging on facebook.   I think that my Solo category is the last one being judged.  This popped up on my facebook feed - I nearly fell out of my chair.  It was initially entered in Custom Heirloom Show, which has a larger size requirement, but had to be moved to Solo because of the number of entries (not enough).  I really dislike this because Solo and Large Wallhanging are often large groups, and CHS is not. Boo Hoo.  Sure hope that the judges like most of it when the take a closer look.

This quilt is an original of my own design, created using EQ7.  In October of 2014 when I started it, it was conceived merely as a "filler" project.  I needed something mindless to piece.  I was just finishing Bouquet Royale, and I was tired of every detail.  I wanted something simpler.   In all honesty, I loathe paper piecing, but it's the best technique to ensure pointy triangles.  There was a LOT of semi-mindless paper-piecing on this quilt.
(finished but not painted.  It needed more!)

Somewhere in the mindless process, which was supposed to keep me from feeling invested in the project, I decided I really loved the quilt.  The colors were vibrant and powerful, and they were drawing me in.  It is hard to see from the photos, but there are a few silks, and the more chartreuse greens are almost luminescent.

(photo of first quilting on outer border)

This past fall, after Houston, I resurrected the quilt.  First order of business was to remove the quilting of the red border.  I never liked it, and had a new plan to try.  This new idea was a one-shot deal - there would be no removing this if I didn't like it! No risk of that, though, as I totally LOVED the effect.  It was different for me, but it looked great.
 This quilt has many things that represent change and growth as a quilter.  I hate seeing quilt after quilt by the same artist, and being able to know who did it before I see the card.  Some people's quilting signatures are always the same.  I strive to expand my abilities, to try different designs, to keep people thinking.  I know many are now thinking I am the one that will mix the fussy-cut cottons with silk (and that is fine, as I so love this look!). But this quilt is a little different, as the name implies.
 
This quilt was the last quilt I did on my old Fusion.  It was stitched with both 40wt poly threads (YLI Polished Poly, and Glide) as well as some silk in the super dense fills.  I used a Hobbs wool/cotton blend batt with another wool batt on top of that.  It has good loft in unquilted areas (but we all know I quilted it nearly to death).
 As late as a couple weeks ago, I was still hand appliqueing a metallic bobbin thread to certain areas on the top, just for a tiny hit of pizzazz.  It is hard to just stop, and declare the quilt done.
 There is some color infused purely with thread, as in the red above.
 Here's some very teeny-tiny matchstick quilting in a great herringbone design.  It makes a wonderful effect.

Lotsa feathers!
and crosshatching too... 

I finally got the nerve to paint this interconnected scallop border in late January.  I had to mix the colors to get the right shades.  THAT was nerve-wracking. Hindsight tells me I should have appliqued these, but I didn't even have these scallops on the radar until I designed the quilting.  THEN I got the notion that they'd look good colored.  Go figure.
The binding treatment is of my own conception.  I am not a fan whatsoever of prairie points, but I envisioned this quilted scallop-prairie point contraption as an extension of the outer row of NYB blocks.  It was finicky, but not as hard as I thought.  Each of these 3" scallops was initially quilted on my longarm.  They were then cut out and turned with another backing fabric on the DSM.  This sounds simple, but much experimentation on how to do this so that a beautiful, smooth-edge scallop resulted.  I wasn't going to do the edge treatment any other way.  The purple prairie points are done the typical way.
 Putting this edge all together, with the piping took a few genies and a whole lotta magic potion, but it  was all done on the machine, except for hand stitching the facing on the backside.  Stay tuned for an article later this year in Machine Quilting Unlimited on how to make this.
And so we are done with the pretty pictures.  As I write this (it's only Saturday), I wonder if it will earn a ribbon, and I wonder if viewers will enjoy looking at it.  To me it is much more.  It is a 2 year journey beginning with choosing fabrics at the Hershey and Houston shows.  It is a calming, cooling time for me to do simple piecing, without an end result really in mind.  This quilt was kind of designed as the blocks were stitched -- hence the "unmapped road".  The binding without a plan falls into that uncharted territory as well.
Just because I didn't know where I was ultimately going, and did not have a well-layed out route initially, in no way should imply that I was not going somewhere.  Remember, friends, the journey of how you get from conception to completion is what you will remember in the end.  Take time to wander, for it does not have to imply that you are lost.  This may have spent a year in a box.  I believe that on some small, secret level, the quilt needed me to move on, do something different so that I could return back and finish this with a bang!

Enjoy, and have a great week.

22 comments:

Judy said...

Margaret, I think this may be my favorite of your quilts. I wish I could take a class from you. I hope you will make DVD's or teach classes online.

Nicolette Mathee said...

Such a showstopper, spectacular ! I love to read about the process beginning to end.

kupton52 said...

The beautiful quilt is a true masterpiece. Thank you for sharing so many pictures in the post. I look forward to the upcoming article in MQU magazine. I remember when you posted in the past that someone accused you of being less than honest--of copying. I remember thinking then that was an absurd allegation. One only has to see the body of your work to know how talented you are and how truly inspired you are. No one could honestly believe there was any wrongdoing on your part---there would be no need for you to steal someone else's design. I ordered your books on March 24th...will they be mailed soon? Just checking---I'm really anxious to get them. Good luck regarding the ribbon---you/"unmapped" deserve one.

PeggyB said...

It's beautiful! Thanks for the explanation of your process

Tammy said...

So beautiful!

Остригаь 65 said...

I am delighted with this work.

RachelA said...

Absolutely beautiful, gorgeous colour combo and fauous stitching. Another winner I'm sure.

Karen said...

Absolutely stunning, Margaret. Best of luck in the judging!

Diane Russell said...

Oh my I love this quilt. Each one of your quilts get more complex than the last. I think the time in the box allowed it to come up with better possibles. I am sure the accuser wanted your talent and that was the only way to get it. May she pout in peace. Can't wait to hear more detail in the article. Another masterpiece for you.

Connie said...

Fantastic Quilt. Thank you for sharing. I sure hope I get to see it in person

Heritage Keepsakes said...

Another breathtaking quilt for us to enjoy. All the best with the judging!!

Debbie said...

Almost speechless...your quilt is so astounding and the story of your journey with it is so very interesting. I hope I get to see it in person at one the national quilt shows.

Mary Bolton said...

Beautiful color choices! Looking forward to seeing this in person tomorrow.

Dar Welch said...

Wow. Just...WOW! The colors, the quilting, the attention to detail..... fantastic!! You do such beautiful work, Margaret. I adore the scallops and prairie point edging!

Elaine said...

Absolutely stunning. Mary Lou mentioned you on fb so I came to take a look. My grandfather was born in Gorham and my only cousin is coming for a visit today from Cape Neddick. Love Maine and have been back there many times.

Lynette said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! So fun to see this final report, knowing what it just won. :) While I know you didn't forget it, I totally forgot about that accusation fiasco. That was crazy! So many of us watched you develop the quilt top from the beginning, and you even shared many of your decision cross-roads along the way - from the beginning! Ludicrous to say you stole the design. It's astonishing in its completion, and well deserves what are surely only its first accolades, Margaret.

Marj said...

So beautiful! I love how this quilt evolved over time. Saw today that it won some ribbons, congratulations!

kupton52 said...

My books arrived today and they are all I expected and more! They are so durable and practical with the spiral "lay flat" binding. Beyond that, though, the artistic and educational value inside is incredible. The photography is so professional, the commentary/instructions so easy to understand---well, I can hardly wait to try each and every one on my Avante. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise. These books are worth far more than the modest $25.00 and are an invaluable addition to my quilting library.

PammyJoy said...

Just beautiful. You are a true artist as well as patient!

Diane Russell said...

Congratulations on the wins with this quilt. It is stunning. I really enjoyed the write up on it
Love all of the information you give us about your methods and ways. Still loving the books, I continue to look at them every night.

JoyVoltenburg said...

I can't wait to see this in person. Your comment about the "unmapped road" resonates. I find I do my best when I strive to do what I would like to do, rather than settle for what I know I can do. Gorgeous work!

Amy @ Amy's FMQ Adventures said...

Egads! Your work continues to blow me away.