It t’was a glorious day yesterday – at around 7.30pmish last night I finished my How Does Your Garden Grow? Competition quilt!! It was a very happy, happy moment…. stepping back and admiring the long hard hours I put into making it. And yet, strangely, all I could make myself see were the faults and mistakes I’d skipped over and tried to ignore. Apart from that, I’m very pleased with the end result and hope it does well in the competition – fingers crossed!!
So, here’s how I made it…
To start the paper piecing process, I bought four large pieces of poster board and sticky taped them together in a very professional manner (sprawled across the floor, butt in the air, tape hanging out of my mouth while my measure tape, hanging around my neck, tried desperately to strangle me to death!).
I made a 1m ruler out of a wood stick I had floating around (I’m a poor artist and can’t afford to buy a real 1m ruler stick) and drew up a 1m-squared square, cross-sectioned it into fours etc. and then drew in my petal blades and stem. I made a few adjustments here and there until I was satisfied with the final design. I numbered each piece in a clock-wise direction so I wouldn’t get lost and befuddled with all the different pieces. It more or less became a big number puzzle for me to cut up and then stitch back up again.
So that I wouldn’t be too overcome by cardboard everywhere, I cut and sewed back together the pieces in quarters; the first quarter of the flower design, then the second, third then fourth which then completed the quilt top.
I chose randomly which petal blade got what purple print fabric because – well – because that’s just how I roll. I like to be spontaneous and try (very hard, with little success) not to over think things.
Hand basting was a slight nightmare. You see those pins? Well, let’s just say many cuss words came out of my mouth thanks to those sharp little buggers. (Please understand my meaning of cuss words: crap, poo, sonova biscuit, far-out and [oh] flip it!) Once basted, I patiently whipstitched all the pieces together, in their correct order, while watching a fair few classic episodes of Friends.
Spray Starch became my best friend – my crime-fighting buddy (no, more like my seam-flattening buddy! Ha!) and my quiet achiever while I untact all the paper pieces away from their fabric companions. I steamed ironed the hell out it and then became stuck on what to do next for two weeks.
Do I put a Dresden Plate Wheel on it to create the illusion of it blooming? No…
Do I use a browny/earthy centrepiece? No…
Should I put both of these together to see if they cancel each other out to make something better? Ew. No…
Do I break my pact of not resorting to making a typical flower with a yellow spot in the centre? Yes. And it works. You know why? Because purple and yellow are matching opposites on the colour wheel and so naturally work and look well together. (Ha! See I told you I don’t over think things!!)
After making such a
crucial important simple decisive essential boring time wasting decision, I got on with the job! I hand stitched the centrepiece onto the quilt top and then got onto setting up ready to quilt it.
To shake off the tag that Gen Y (which is me) are a throw away generation, I recycled the idea of the Dresden Plate Block and the browny/earthy coloured centrepiece and appliqued it onto the back of the quilt – just for the sake of it. (And for the fact that I really didn’t want to throw it away after all the effort I put into making it.) I’m changing the world one quilt at a time!!
Once basted and ironed (for about the tenth thousandth time), I spent three days quilting. Three whole days of sewing line after line after line after line after line after line after line… It was fun – for the few minutes. I had to force myself to go to a happy place for the sake of my sanity. But, you know, this is what you do for your art, your passion and for your living.
Next came the binding and stitching on the rod pocket while watching more classic Friends episodes.
And then – tah dah!!! Finish! Fin! Finito!
So, that’s my very first self-designed, hand pieced, machine quilted competition quilt! Hoorah!
It shall be called: A Summer Bloom (as the photo I took of the inspired flower was blooming mid summer this past January).
And so I say: Bring on the next one!
Happy Sewing! xx