Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Whole "Quilting Makes the Quilt" Thing

Quilting makes the quilt. In the case of the quilt I finished binding yesterday after a marathon week of quilting it in pebbles and tiny lines, quilting also makes one run screaming to the chiropractor for an adjustment.

If you've been following the progress of The Great Pebble Undertaking of 2015 on my EPQD facebook page or Instagram feed (@evapaigequilts), you've been a witness to not only the progress, but also a not-so-rare look into my feelings on my choice of quilting pattern, with captions expressing my horror upon realizing it took me 38 minutes to quilt one triangle section, admissions that I fortified myself with chocolate covered almonds to keep going, and hashtags like #bringthecrazy, #stupidpebbles, and #aurifilrocksmyworld. I thank everyone who shouted encouragements at me through every update. It was, next to the almonds, the thing that most kept me going.

So remember this quilt top?

Working title: Big Old Star
 Shown here hanging off the side of the deck as we are wont to do around here, it's quintuple nesting stars in 80" of pure quilting dilemma. Which is why it ended up in the UFO pile for a bit while I contemplated. Then once I decided it was time to start quilting it, I of course had no backing fabric big enough, so it went back to the pile for a week or so. The motto of EvaPaige Quilt Designs has never been "Bringing you new quilt patterns with utmost alacrity in a prolific manner," after all. I didn't adopt such a motto for a reason. Sometimes these things need to marinate. Or they just piss you off. Or you are out of backing. Regardless, the EPQD motto, "Inspired Designs, Relaxed Attitude," could just as easily have been "We'll Get to it Eventually. Relax with Us. Enjoy an Adult Beverage While You Wait."

Once it was time though, I dove in.

And we're sandwiched!
And we're off!
For whatever reason, the quilt, with all of its white background, was screaming for some heavy quilting. I tried to shut it up for a few minutes, but gave up when I saw how cool it was going to look. So despite the fact that three rounds of stars, which were barely 1/8 of the entire quilt, took me over two hours and three bobbins to quilt, I was stuck. And a little bitter toward myself, to be honest.
However, come on. It's looking amazing.

So the pebbles filled the white, and in the star points I did wavy/straight lines in a triangular spiral. For thread I used Aurifil 40 wt 2510 "Light Lilac" on the top and 50 wt 2150 "Pumpkin" on the back. Did I notice that the numbers were almost exactly the same until I went to buy more? No. But it confused the heck out of me and I'm glad I had the spools with me or I definitely would have ordered the wrong thing.

The quilting was by now making the quilt. It was killing me to admit it, but it is a true statement. And as one who has ruined more than one quilt with less than stellar quilting, I was loving what I was doing to this one and that made me want to continue all the more, even though my shoulders were killing me and my machine area was getting messier by the second as every time I moved this monstrosity under my Janome 6125, it knocked more crap off the table to the floor. I can't wait for school to be out to make my children clean up my mess. Payback is awesome.

Halfway there!

The final pebble section. I may have been shaking with joy.

I also definitely celebrated at lunch that day.
 For the first time in my life, I love the back almost as much as the front. Plus those circles are so circular! Eat your heart out, Mr. Galluci, my fifth grade teacher who liked to amaze us by drawing perfect circles on the blackboard. I challenge you to a circle contest any day.
Love love love.
Isn't it cool how the circles make those white areas of the back look like carnations? I totally planned that.
By now you realize I am teetering on the edge of the deadly sin of pride. We're just going to go all the way into the abyss, so stop reading if you just can't take it.

For the 8" borders, I switched feet and did straight lines about 3/4" wide, about the same size as the pebbles, but much quicker.

And then, joy of joys, it was time to trim the excess! I pretty much was in an ecstatic state of glee and am lucky I didn't slice off a finger in my joy.
 I had my concerns about switching to straight lines from pebbles, but overall, I think it worked. Plus it was done, so I no longer cared.
Works for me. Done is better.
 Love this fabric I chose for the binding. It, like the blue part of the backing, is a Riley Blake print, although this one, being newer, is actually available.
 Then came the fun of adding the binding, and an epic display on my part of the Stupid Quilter Trick of managing to get the binding seam right at the corner the quilt. Because I did it not just once...
first corner
 Not just twice.....
second corner

Third corner
I win.

I did love that posting a photo of the first corner on my facebook page garnered a ton of reaction, both from the masses who do this all the time too to the superior among us who test it out first to make sure it doesn't happen to them. As I said to one of my friends who falls into the latter category, but then what would I have to complain about?

Which brings us all to the reveal of the completed quilt. While it is much more evident in person, I hope you can see a bit how the quilting of this thing, despite the fact that it took several years off my life, used up over 1000m of top thread and 25 bobbins, and generally drove me up a tree on multiple occasions, resulted in a really cool looking finished product, so much better than the top we started with. Plus it's so stiff with thread it could practically stand on its own, which could come in handy at lectures. I do pity the helpers who will be holding this sucker up when I give my "Give it a Scrap Slap" lecture - I hope they have their Wheaties that morning!

You are sick of me, but I really really love it.

I'm going to be needing some pattern testers in July to make me a top and let me know if my directions make sense, so if you are interested, let me know. I will NOT be requiring you to quilt it in pebbles, straight lines, or at all. Cross my heart.


pennydog said...

A margarita well earned, I so do not like pebbling (I love the look of it though)!

Sherry said...

I would be happy to be a pattern tester. I had tested for you previously.

As for your quilt......I love it, but I think I would need a lot more work to be able to get my circles as good as yours. Great job.

by Maggie 2u said...

Love love your quilt



Colleen said...

The quilt was gorgeous to start with, but you're right, the quilting made it spectacular!

Pebbling is sneaky. You do some, realize it will take a huge amount of time to finish, but with all the double stitching, there is no way you want to pick it out and start over!

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