Monday, December 14, 2015

Playing in the Swamp

Playing in the Swamp is the name I affectionately gave this quilt when it was started nearly 4 years ago.  February 2012 are when the first photos of me strip piecing the center star.  I took a few days in August 2014 to assemble the units into 2 large pieces (minus the mitered borders), but nothing has been touched in nearly 1-1/2 years.  A couple weeks ago I sold a top I made around the same time, in an attempt to clear out the clutter of my studio.  I figured if I hadn't quilted it yet, it probably wasn't happening.  While I considered selling this one too, as my interests have more turned to the silk quilts rather than batik, I knew it would be a hard sell to make if it were in pieces.  Last week, when I finished the Ladies of the Sea quilt and was waiting on fabric to arrive for something else...while I was cleaning up pot after pot of 11-yr old barf every hour, I decided to try to get this together.  I managed to assemble the pieces and borders, and then something clicked.  It was really pretty interesting.  But if I was going to bother to quilt it, it would have to have the points of 16 intersections fixed.  That was my Thursday.  
Via Facebook, I queried folks on what color diamond points would be best between a red, teal and blue.  Almost unanimously, the response was red.  So I went with my first instinct - royal blue. While I am intrigued to hear what others will do, I felt that the blue drew the eye to the center of the quilt best.  Finding visual center is an important goal for every quilt.
With the top done (and mind you, you'll hear me fuss plenty while I am quilting this, as it is far from great piecing.  The applique blocks have more cleavage than I do), I decided to ponder the quilting. This will absolutely NOT be one of those quilts I overthink.  I am not that vested.  But, I do want it quilted.  Since the quilt reminds me of a swamp (the greens are textural like frog or alligator skins, and the water lilies seem appropriate), I wanted to add dragon flies into the outer border.  There is a good amount of blue background to fill, and make more interesting, and this is one way I will break up the space.

Here's a picture from a dragonfly I used on a recent silk whole cloth.  I pulled out the pattern, and scaled it up a little to make it better sized for this space.  The one below is painted to increase it's visibility, but I don't think that will be necessary on the Swamp quilt.
I traced the outline onto template plastic, and cut it out.  I will need to make 8 of them and this is the easiest way to get them all the same.  A lightbox isn't really possible because the background is so dark.

I uploaded a shot of this quilt to Photoshop and drew away yesterday.  This is 1-2 hours of sketch time -- about all I really plan to devote to this quilt!  The dragonflies will be stitched in the corners.
I have a couple more templates to cut for the butterfly blocks.  Someone asked me a month or so ago about my Press-n-Seal method.  This is it... Place Press-n-Seal on a block you like, and trace the design with a Sharpie pen (very carefully so as not to mark the fabric).  Now place this on a piece of cardstock.  I use file folders or used cereal boxes.  Cut out the piece you need a template for - in my case, I wanted this scrolly thing that represents the flight of the butterfly.  The cardstock is easy to trace onto the quilt with chalk.

 Another peek...
I did get this loaded late morning today.  I will post pictures as I progress.  Hopefully I will make good progress before boredom sets in :-)  Usually I like "no think" quilting projects, but I wonder if I can stay that way throughout the entire quilt?!?


The Joyful Quilter said...

I think you will be REALLY glad that you didn't sell the quilt top (once it's finally quilted!) It's going to be FABULOUS!!!

Rebecca Grace said...

Hah -- applique blocks with "cleavage?" That one is new to me! I think it's great that you have an interesting but less-than-perfect quilt on your frame right now. We all need some low-anxiety, less stressful opportunities to kind of play and work out ideas, like creative play. And even if this one isn't up to your usual high standards, I think it will end up stunning all the same. I hope your little one is feeling MUCH BETTER -- and that the icky germs don't attach to another member of your family!

Ruth said...

I thought blue when I saw it on FB, your quilting will make it wonderful.

Ruth said...

I thought blue, when I saw it on FB, glad you went with your instincts, your quilting will make it wonderful.