My most significant quilt from the later half of this year is Piñata Pizzazz:
The funny thing is that this wasn't slated to be finished any time soon at all. As in: not for a year or 2 or 3 (it was low on my "Kill the UFOs" list). I pieced the main part way back in 2008 and for some reason fell entirely out of love with it. So it sat for FIVE YEARS in a box with its border fabric, tucked far back in the Deep Storage of kits and UFOs.
My UFO list started at 49, and now I'm down to something like 21. Translated, that means all the easiest, most-loved, or closest to being finished projects have been done. So when I was making my October list of goals and needed 3 UFOs to get to the next stage, I found this one convenient to pull out since I could "just" add the border to get credit for a step forward.
Shortly after that post came the call for bed-size quilts.
And then the government shut itself down and froze our pay. For who-knew-how-long. And our savings account was already wiped out due to 18 months of insanity with pay issues.
So I wanted to drop all my other priorities and quilt something up for the relief drive. I wanted something cool but not something that my heart was particularly attached to. I chose this mostly-finished flimsy. The pattern is "Rachel's Joy" from Plum Creek Quilts and it's mostly done in Jinny Beyer fabrics.
I've been working on stepping my quilting up a few notches, so I used this as a growth piece. I quilt on a Sapphire 875Q, table-top machine. It handled this queen size quilt very well with the black Hobbs 80/20 batting. Which is good, since I have a king size coming up in January to start working on. . .
Anyway, to make the back I took the leftover pieces from the border strips and shopped my stash for coordinating fabrics.
Without any intention at all, the center square on the back matched the front's center square size exactly.
So when we pin-basted this quilt, I carefully stuck pins up through the corners as I taped the backing onto the floor, meticulously stuck them up through the batting layer, and then through the corners of the front's square when that was laid on top. It worked well!! (But if I ever need to do this again, I'll also put pins mid-way on each side.)
As we pin-basted the quilt, the central star shape started leaping out at me and made me think of those 4-armed piñatas. With the bold, happy colors, this gave the quilt its name and inspired the quilting theme. I wanted something with a Mexican flavor, something that let me be a little artful, but still open enough for a bed quilt to have nice draping.
I played with my acrylic overlay sheets to get a design I liked in the center, offset by the double lines and then a round of stylized roses that are a theme I've seen in several Mexican quilts.
I made plastic templates of a quadrant for the middle and the general outlines of the rosy triangles so I could blue-pen some guidelines down.
The arms have sparser quilting to let them stay poofier than the background fields.
When I looked at the top, I saw two "layers" of background fields, so I put in a double-outline track between those and used a different fill for each layer - a swirly-hook thing in the closer one, and a pinky's-width meander in the outer one. I think that worked quite well.
The border was super easy - just follow some lines of the print!
I used smoke Invisifil on the top, which is invisible on the darks and non-intrusive on the lightest values. I did wish I could have spent the money on some nice, thicker metallic silver thread for the piñata area - that would have been spectacular on this quilt! I had a great 50wt gray Aurifil sitting around, so I used that on the back. I had zero tension issues and not one single thread break.
For the binding, I tried out the faux-piping method. I'd bookmarked a tutorial for this a couple of years ago, but just now got to using it. It was perfect for this quilt and the situation. I did not have enough of any single fabric to make the whole binding, but I didn't want a patchwork binding since there's so much going on geometrically with this quilt. The outer edge needed unity all the way around. But I did have enough of two perfect coordinating colors if I used this method. And it's the best binding choice design-wise, I think! Couldn't be more perfect.
And before I was finished with the quilting, I had fallen completely head-over-heels in love with this quilt. Its bold colors, the quilting that turned out nicely (not always confident in myself!), the back that I love as much as the front. . . it's all there. And didn't want to give it away. And everyone else in the family loved it, too. And that's what I get for choosing something "meh" from my stash for a community service project. ;D But I'm glad I fell so much in love with it. It wouldn't feel the same to give away something I didn't really like.
And what goes around comes around. The other day, we took our German short-term exchange student to try out a sushi restaurant in the Springs. Scott had to come straight from work, so he was in his Air Force ABUs. When it came time to check out, the server informed us that a gentleman had already paid our bill. It made me cry. Seriously, right there in the restaurant - in front of everybody - I cried. Driving home, Sophie asked me what had happened. So I explained that sometimes here in the States somebody will do something to make strangers' lives better that day, and that once in a great while someone will pay for a military person's meal or drinks or movie ticket just to say "Thank You for your service." She observed that in this month here, she's been able to see the worst and the best of the U.S.: from 4 school and work-place shootings and the gov't insanity that almost kept them from seeing the national parks they had traveled here from Germany to see and had put our family in duress, to the great random kindness of strangers.
|She also got to see this random dude waving at folks |
in Manitou Springs on the 3rd day of the government shut-down.
So, it's all good. :) Go make someone's day a little brighter today in whatever way you can. It's the only thing that makes this world make sense right now.
And then go check out all the wonderful quilts folks are showcasing in Blogger's Quilt Festival! Amy's worked hard on this event, and it's organized nicely into categories.