Sunday, 4 August 2013

Show quilt

After the weeks of procrastinating pondering and the thousands of ideas and possibilities I  ended up with just a single entry for the local show - the lap quilt. It was only just finished in time but it got done and was submitted by the deadline.

So what did I enter? Do you remember the original concepts from this post? I ended up going for one of the simplest designs, the one I was calling "Marble Run" at the time.
"Marble Run"
My concept design for the quilt
(Drawn using Inkscape)
The design was heavily influenced by a similar quilt by Cynthia of Ahhh...Quilting that I had seen during a Pinterest session.
Inspiration - "Zigzag Ball Maze Quilt"
by Cynthia of Ahhh...Quilting
I wanted to stick with solids for the front of this quilt and use more negative space to keep the overall look simple with clear lines and bold colours. The green, grey and orange fabrics from my stash worked really well with the design.

The green bars were simple, just slash a strip of each shade and stitch them together with the grey, but the circles were another matter. Who would have thought that circles could be so tricky!

Have you ever watched someone intensely playing a computer or arcade game and laughed as they moved their whole body in an attempt to get their on-screen character or vehicle to move how they want them to, avoid an obstacle or jump just that little bit higher? I'm sure I was doing just the same in front of my sewing machine attaching the circles. I ended up sort of appliqueing the circles to the quilt top using an invisible (clear) top thread and for the most part I think they turned out OK, only one of them really puckered but I was able to unstitch it (thanks for the help Jack) and redo without too much drama.

Selected backing fabric.
Once the circles were attached the quilt front was essentially done. The next step was to decide what to do with the back. I originally had ideas of a pieced back with stars or more circles or something, but in the end I opted for a single piece. I think that a single piece gives more freedom in quilting options for the front.  I selected a dark green fabric with tiny darker green polka dots for the quilt back that I think it ties nicely with the greens on the front.

The next big decision was how to quilt it. I wanted to try my hand at free motion quilting (FMQ) so initially I was going to pebble or meander the entire grey background but after trying it on a coaster sized scrap I realised that it would take me more time than I had available and there was a huge chance that it would just end up looking messy. So in the end the majority of the quilt is done with simple straight line quilting (or as straight as I can sew anyway) - diagonal at about 1.5 inch spacing across the background, and closer lines along the length of the green bars.

Da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man"
Although the colour and layout of the quilt was pretty striking, I wanted something that would add a bit of depth or interest or quirkiness - something that made it more than just a few lines and circles...enter Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man!  Vitruvian Man is much too detailed for my beginner FMQ skills to replicate, but he definitely inspired the embellishment of the quilt.

Each of the orange circles was quilted with silver thread and contains a figure in a star pose. Each figure is on a different angle to give the impression of tumbling down a marble run. Although the figures were inspired by Vitruvian man, they ended up more like wonky clip art silhouettes rolling down a hill in those silly zorb ball things!

Attaching the binding and a label were the final things to do before the quilt was ready to be submitted. Both were pretty simple - the label was just a rectangle of white fabric hand stitched to the back of the quilt with clothes labeling pen for the text and the binding was machine attached. I used a bright orange polka dot material from the same fabric line as the backing for the binding and the machine binding method explained so well by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts.

And thus the quilt was finished! With all the little men tumbling down the quilt I decided to rename it "Marble Man".
"Marble Man"
All that was left was to actually work up the courage to submit it for the show.

Stay tuned for submission and the results....

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