Friday, March 21, 2008

Your two cents

So, I'm making this quilt for my brother's wedding present. Actually, I've been working on this quilt off and on for about 6 or 7 years. I've decided to pull it out and finish it off once and for all.

I'm getting into the homestretch and I have a dilemma. It doesn't look quite like I want it to look. However, to make it look like I want it to look will require spending another 3 months, at least, tearing out seams and putting them back in.

WIll that effort be worth it? I'm kind of getting used to the metaphor that over time our priorities and methods change but we have to live with that accumulation of changes in the present self we are now. The same applies to marriage.

The same applies to this quilt. 6 years ago, I estimated a 1/4 inch seam allowance as I hand-pieced much less accurately than I estimate it now. Hence, old strips of color are much shorter than the strips of color I've recently done. This means that the tumblers don't line up like they're supposed to when the strips are stacked on top of each other. It disappoints me a little because I might have just as well used squares for the total lack of design effect.

This is what it's supposed to look like (via):

This is what it actually looks like:

What do you think? This is only the green portion of the quilt. It will be joined by the yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and blue strips that are already done and just need to be sewn to each other to form the big color strips.

This is a charm quilt, which means that every piece is a different fabric. It's been fun to work on and I like the metaphor of that, too.

Yesterday, I was in a quilt store that was super-design-y. I heard the owner boast to another customer that many of the women she knew who quilted came from an engineering background. That could not describe me less. I'm really organic and a little lazy. I value the act of piecing and love playing with color. Getting it right isn't super-important and usually that means the results are whimsical and rustic. I think this quilt could end up that way (someone else will actually quilt it with an all-over pattern) but I'm really struggling to predict it. It's the biggest quilt I've ever made so I'm a little nervous about how to commit my time since the wedding is in August and my other brother's is in January and I haven't even started their present yet.

Can anyone give me any guidance?


Liesl said...

I say, power through and don't rip a single seam! I, too, value the handmade aspect and think that the quilt will be far more beautiful for it's quirkiness than if it were precise. It's going to be lovely! And thanks for sending me to your blog. Can't wait to set the finished piece. Aren't you excited to be nearing the end?!?

Amy said...

This will (stopping to think of the perfect thing to say)......if I received this as a wedding present. My heart would have felt so much JOY !!!
This an amazing piece of art, you have done. And, I think you Love your Brother very much !!!

PrincessMax said...

Liesl, I am so excited! I keep laying it out on my own bed to see the colors together. Of course, now that the hand-piecing is done, I'm already thinking about the next one. I think I might be a little crazy but I'm thinking about hexagons.

Amy, thank you. I DO love him very much. It's pretty cool because I have three brothers worth that much love. I'm thinking ahead to pyramids for David's wedding. He doesn't even have a girlfriend right now!

Laney said...

this is a beautiful quilt and I love that there is a rainbow of color. Have you thought about adding a border with various sizes of these shapes, kinda wonky? I know you were wanting to kind of unify the differing sizes...if you decide to change nothing at all, it will be perfect just as it is. I would gladly recieve such a wonderful gift, and I am so happy for you that you have such close and loving relationships with your brothers. I discovered your blog through Jude, thanks for the invite.

Emily DeWan Photography said...

I wouldn't change a thing; I'm sure this quilt will turn out beautifully! I've always been so impressed with hand-made quilts.

futuregirl said...

Sometimes I like to do things and follow them through even when they aren't working out exactly right. You learn a lot that way. I think it could be really neat to take this quilt wherever it's going, even if it isn't what you were planning for in the beginning.

The only issue is whether your brother and his wife will appreciate the character of it.

Anonymous said...

I've only made one mini-quilt to completion but here is my 2 cents. Don't change anything. Sometimes art takes us in directions we don't expect! I think what you have started looks lovely. Plus, I keep remembering something Amy Karol (Angry Chicken) wrote in her Bend the Rules Sewing book. It was along the lines of don't fret about your mistakes - a few months later, you will look at it and not even notice them! Though in your case, it isn't really a mistake rather a difference than what you expected. What a great, thoughtful present!

Ali BG said...

Okay, miniscule quilt experience here (like 4 to my name), but I think that rustic whimsy is often almost more lovely than the ideal.

As for advice on unifying the quilt, I think the border could do a lot--what kind of border are you thinking about?

PrincessMax said...

Ali, I have a beautiful sky blue with pale yellow marigolds, which are wedding flowers in Indian culture. It's very muted and lovely. That's for the backing and if there's enough, I was going to use it for the border. I'm starting to think, though, if I can get a solid (or nearly solid) in either the blue or the yellow, that might be good since the top itself is so busy.

Thank you all for your assurance that I should give the horse the bit and see where this goes. I've already got new ideas for how to actually quilt it based on your comments. Lord help me, I think I'm going to do it myself.

Deb said...

Got your blog from Jude's. I concur with the rest. Don't rip out. My credentials? I've been making quilts for 28 years.

I think you said this is a wedding gift, right? Well, you know, marriages are not perfect. We start out thinking they will be, but then, things happen, yet if we're really committed, we hold them together anyway, and they become something even better.

I think that your quilt is a great metaphor for marriage. Lots of different pieces put together, expected to be one way, but turning out slightly different, becoming a beautiful and amazing whole.

I say, Go For It! And how great it would be if you do decide to quilt it yourself. What a special gift.

Ali BG said...

R-the backing sounds lovely, and I think you're right that a solid might work best for the border. Happy sewing!