Monday, January 5, 2015

Learning Curve

Learning Curve is what I have named this quilt. The pattern is from the book Imagine Quilts, written by my lovely friend, Dana Bolyard {Old Red Barn Co.}. I feel like I am a pretty experienced curved piece sewist, so sewing curves is not my problem. Having already made a  Retro Flowers quilt, a clam shell quilt, a Single Girl quilt, a few drunkard path pillows, I kicked curve's butt a long time ago. 
I love the way this quilt turned out. The secondary patterns that are formed by the blocks and fabrics mixing together are so pleasing to my eye. It's only one of a few quilts where I have pieced the backing. I love the soft drape of the Robert Kaufman Double Cloth mixed with the chunks of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I pieced in an extra block and used it as the label to write down the important facts of the quilt. 
Dana's pattern is precise and well written. I made a little tweak by changing the block size. I really should be called the Lazy Quilter, but I think someone else has already claimed that name. Instead of using the templates from the book, which would yield a 10.5" finished block, I used a template that I already had. My block ended up 9" finished. I have used this template many times since getting it as part of a class at Sewing Summit a few years ago. It's a good one, but is not available any more.
So you might be wondering what my Learning Curve was in making this quilt. Most of my problems were in the free-motion quilting of this quilt. Here is what I learned:
1. Take your time and think about which way the seams should be pressed. I ended up with some really bulky seams because I did not plan ahead. This made going over some intersections with my free-motion foot a little more difficult.
2. When planning how to quilt the piece, think about the block itself. I think this quilt would have looked better with an all over pattern or a block based quilting pattern instead of the columns of vines that I did.
3. Tone it down on the thread color just a bit when using white as your background. Instead of blending and giving texture, I think the aqua thread is just a little too bold for this quilt. But, I love how it looks on the back of the quilt.
4. While free-motion quilting, check the back of the quilt often. I quilted two whole columns of vines and then noticed my tension was off. What took me 30 minutes to put in took 8 episodes of watching Breaking Bad (that's about 6 hours) to rip out. The Double Cloth is a little more delicate than quilting cottons and I did not want to risk pulling any threads or making any holes in that cloth.
5. Always take someone with you when trying to do a remote photo shoot of a large quilt, on a windy day. I nearly lost this one over the rail at the park, so I finished the photo shoot in our backyard.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Learning Curve
Fabrics used for the quilt top: All Denyse Schmidt fabric scraps [Katie Jump Rope, Flea Market Fancy, Shelburne Falls, Chicopee, Florence, and lots of DS Quilts fabric from Joann's in this quilt.} with Summer Home by Red Rooster for the yellow centers.
Backing: Pieced with Denyse Schmidt larger scraps and Robert Kaufman Double Cloth in Indigo.
Binding: Scrappy 
Batting: Warm and White Cotton 
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. White; Quilted with Perma Core 40 wt. Turquoise
Finished Size after Laundering: 68.5" x 86.5"

This is my 4th and final finish for the 2014 Finish Along.

Finish Along 2014
Also linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Up Friday.


Dana - Old Red Barn Co. said...

Everything about your quilt is sheer perfection. The fabrics, the block size, the quilting and the pieced backing. There aren't adequate words to describe my love for this quilt. Great, great job friend!

The Cozy Pumpkin said...

I think this is a perfect example of a quilter being too hard on themselves, because from here it looks fabulous! :) And that backing! So worth the extra time. Lovely finish!

Debbie said...

This is really lovely! Glad you are such a natural at curves. ;-)

Katy Cameron said...

Loving some of the lessons there!

Canadian Abroad said...

Glad you mentioned the secondary patterns as that is one of the things I love about this quilt. It truly is a beauty and looks so soft and cuddly too. Some quilts just seem to have that look more than others.

Dianne Neale said...

Di, I love all your quilts - there is a softness and gentleness to them. But I have the same problem with darker quilting threads that stand out too much!

Annabella said...

"Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections..." (not that there are any - the quilts is stunning!!)

Cindy said...

Oh wow. Woza wow. It feels great to create something so beautiful AND learn along the way. Congrats on a beautiful finish!

grapes and hearts said...

Great Quilt, Di! I never tried curved seams in a quilt so that is on top of my to-sew list. Can you recommend the curve-master-foot? Or do you use an ordinary 1/4 inch foot?