I finally finished this quilt that I started in July at the Denyse Schmidt workshop I took in Portland at the PNCA. I am beyond thrilled with how it came out, mostly because it was a creatively inspiring exercise for me. Every step, from the colors I used to the quilting design and everything in between, had me pushing myself a little out of my comfort zone in the best possible way. And now, I have this quilt. And I love it.
The quilt is based on the Shoeman's Puzzle from Denyse's book Modern Quilts, Traditonal Inspiration. In the workshop, we began by making four blocks using the templates. From there, rulers were put to the side and all the cuts were done freehand. As my number of blocks grew, I decided to vary the scale of the middle triangle and added a slight curve to the smallest one. I sewed a good number of blocks over the two days of the workshop and was very happy with the way it was coming together, so I came home and finished over the next few months. It is small – 44" x 59" after washing. The blocks were originally 8" finished, so it was 48" x 64" before I laundered it.
The solids are Kona Snow and Kona Oyster. Blair (who took the workshop with me) consulted her Kona color card and gave me some options of other off-whites that would work with Snow. I'm not sure that I would have chosen Oyster – the difference between the two colors is very slight and I think I gravitate towards more contrast. But, the Oyster was a wonderful choice because it IS a subtle difference in comparison to the Snow. (Thank you, Blair.) The other two prints I used in the quilt are both from my stash. I think they are from the Joelle Hoverson's Cake Rock Beach collection. Maybe? Regardless, they were put into the mix when the improvisational cutting left me with blocks that were too small and because their backgrounds are very, very close in color to the Snow and Oyster. After using them each once, I intentionally sprinkled them a tiny bit throughout the quilt top. I love the depth they add, as well as the element of surprise.
The back was constructed with my leftover solids. A swath of Oyster divided from the Snow by a simple strip pieced from the two prints. The quilting is an interlocking figure-8-ish design that evolved as I started quilting. I did not mark any lines on the quilt, but instead used the center seam line as a base and then worked above and below it until the quilting was complete. I think this quilting has an allover quality that this quilt needed without being too fussy, but still interesting enough. For the batting, I went with Quilters Dream Cotton. This is quickly becoming my favorite batting to use as it is low loft and very light, but crinkles nicely when washed.
The binding is a dark grass green from my stash. I'm guessing it is a Free Spirit solid. And although my original intent was to bind it with something a little more neutral or something a little flashier, I do like how this blends with the small green lines in one of the prints. Plus, I like green so it's always a good choice in my book.
When I look at this, I see something that is very different from other quilts I have made in the past. I can see how this quilt has pushed me to let go and to grow creatively. It is a good visual reminder of what can happen with improvisation and experimentation. And because I took my time, picking it up and putting it down over the course of seven months, it ended up being much different than I had envisioned it would be when I started it in July. It ended up better.
Lesson learned? Let go, play, take my time.