Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Five Dollar Quilt?

And now back to my personal chronicle of quilting...
Anxious to continue my quilting education and experience I found an honest to goodness quilt shop about 30 minutes away from my house. A friend and I decided to participate in their "$5 Quilt".  
So the promise here is that you pay $5 and they give you just enough of the material for a quilt block and you get a different pattern each month, if you bring the completed block back at the appointed time one month later you are given the next block pattern and materials for it for free.  If however you are even one minute late you have to pay the $5 again. So my $5 quilt ended up costing more like $20 because I missed a couple of meetings...Strike One against the $5 quilt.

The shop I did this with had three colors ways to choose from.  I had decided to do the 30's reproductions color way because I hadn't done anything with them and was itching to try them but, when I got to the store they didn't have a sample made up and they were kind of vague about which fabrics were going to be used and I got nervous and chickened out. I instead signed up for the "medium" color way because they had exactly the fabrics there on bolts and I could see it wouldn't be awful whereas I wasn't entirely sure of the 30's repro's. It seemed safer, beiges, navys, maroons etc... Why oh why did I not go with my first instinct?

Somewhere early on I decided that I really didn't like my color way. My friend, who also signed up, had been brave and gone for the repro's and though she had made a couple of substitutions-overall it was pretty and scrappy easy to play with adding other fabrics as long as they were repro's. Mine however was BO-RING and didn't really lend itself well to changing out fabrics because they were all from the same line.
Strike Two against the $5 quilt.

My mom saw the blocks and said she'd be happy to have the quilt when I was done with it if I really didn't like it.  She liked the fabrics and blocks and so I continued to do the blocks planning to give it to her when it was done.

The $5 Quilt Class ($20 quilt) just gave you the blocks. I then had to buy more fabric from the line, which I didn't like, for the sashing, and backing etc... I could have bought the "finishing kit" the shop offered for $50 but at the last meeting when they displayed the completed quilts in each colorway I still was not thrilled with my colorway and opted to wing-it by myself.
Strike Three against the $5 quilt.
I bought a couple of yards of fabric for the backing which was clearance priced, a yard of two of the darker prints in the line and a yard of the beige background fabric that was featured in every block.
I started laying the blocks out, playing with sashing widths etc... Still didn't like it. Some of the blocks were on point and some were not. UGH. I had never set anything on point but since I didn't like how it looked with the tree laying sideways I decided to try it.
So I auditioned the blocks on point and it sort of looked better.
I really didn't like 3 of the blocks, they just didn't look nice with the others, plus in all honesty I had not been pleased with my piecing on two of them so I decided to leave them out. I could do that right.?  Yes I could, I liked how they looked on point better without those three.  
I pulled out my trusty Fons and Porter's Complete Guide to Quilting.  It showed several traditional settings for quilts with blocks on point.
One had an open block in between the pieced ones- a good place to put some really pretty quilting.  I had been drawn to the quilting in quilts more and more and I had decided to plan some opportunties for quilting in my quilts in the future and this seemed perfect!
When I put them down to audition though, the plain blocks seemed too large and empty in the layout. It also intimidated me a bit to have to do something fabulous in them to make up for the emptiness.  I decided to frame them in to make the space a little smaller. This worked really nicely. So much so that I actually liked the quilt a little now-- it was still definitely going to my mom but it was pretty now. 
The setting and layout had made a HUGE difference for me. This was a great lesson and a home run for my quilting experience! Wow that really changed the whole quilt for me.
I decided to hand quilt this quilt because, at the time, I was sure my machine quilting skills were not good enough to fill those empty areas in a way I would be satisfied with. My mom really likes hand quilting and does beautiful work so I thought she'd like it done by hand too.
Here is a detail shots of the block with the quilting design:
I will let you know when and if I EVER get it done.  :-) LOL

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