Saturday, 3 January 2015

Something old, something new...

Some quilts come together quickly, occasionally a little to efficiently for complete satisfaction...sometimes it is immensely satisfying to conceive and execute the whole thing in a short period of time...and sometimes there are quilts which take longer than you anticipate to finish.

Oh yes, I have many WIPs (works in progress) in my collection.  Some are completed tops that while lovely, don't have a known purpose yet and so have not had the life breathed into them.  Some are blocks from bee circles, which need to feel owned and loved or at least just finished off and gifted or donated to their forever homes.  Some are learning curves shall we say, ones where I was trying a new technique and got a bit stuck along the way...

The gypsy quilt probably falls best into this last category although it was a quilt idea without the perfect destination, until now.  I started it during a class what I thought was a little while ago (a friend in the same class, on seeing the finished product said "Love it!  Isn't this the one you started when you were expecting (your 4 year old son)?"  Hmmm.  So yes, it started life as a learning curve, learning how to incorporate unconventional fabrics into a traditional cotton quilt, learning to be bold with colour and fabric choices...In fact learning lots of things I actually feel pretty comfortable with nearly 5 years down the track.

My friends' marriage this year inspired me to revisit this quilt as a gift for them.  I had in my head that I had made decent progress on it and "just needed to finish it off".  One length of pieced sashing and 2 completed blocks out of a 12 block, double bordered and sashed quilt was what I found.  Better get to work then.  The fabrics I found in the project box blew me away - I had set them all aside for completing this project so there were an amazing amount of (in particular) Kaffe Fassett and Jan Mullen designs I hadn't seen literally for years.  It was a lovely surprise and a real Aladdin's cave of treasures.

It took longer than expected due to other time constraints, a bride who was very laid back about when she received it and the fact I initially just sat and stared at the fabrics, what I had achieved and the huge amount I still had to do.  We had to spend time getting to know each other again.  Once we were reacquainted though, progress was smooth and organic.  I started to become inspired about the next step  - what fabrics to emphasize in the borders, how to back it, how to quilt it, what hand details to add, what sort of binding it needed.

And here it is finished:

 And a detail of the stitching...
I am really glad I progressed this quilt for them, especially after my initial reaction at seeing how (not) far past me had actually got with it!  I can't see a lot of these quilts in my future, however I can see a lot more unconventional materials in my quilts - the interest and luxury they can add makes them really valuable little gems.

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