Friday, September 28, 2012

Oh Frabjous Day! From UFO to Modern Quilt!


You know how you buy a stylish dress or shirt; stop wearing it when it's out of style; can't bear to throw it away because you loved it and/or it cost a lot of money and/or you are a hoarder; and then, 20 years later, you open your closet, take a look at it, and realize - oh frabjous day! -  that's it's totally in style again? (Whether it still fits is a different matter.)

That's kind of the story with this quilt. It was one of my first scrap quilts - before I had a lot of scraps. Those I did have were mostly solids. I started quilting with Eleanor Burns' Amish Quilt in a Day, a book which offers the classic Amish look of black set against multiple colors. I substituted purple for the black. So after I'd made maybe a half-dozen quilts, most involving tremendous amounts of purple, I decided to do something with the scraps. This concoction was the result.

Between about 1995, which is my estimate of about when I constructed the top, and last week, when I finally sandwiched and started quilting it, it sat in the dark on my UFO shelf. Every couple of years I would pull it out and contemplate. I liked the way it looked like a doorway, with light seeping in around the edges, surrounded by inexplicable triangles. I disliked all those solid fabrics, some remarkably ugly. The wonkiness bugged me. It contains every beginner mistake in the world: some selvages included(?!); and the fabric isn't all good quality. The uneven triangular partial log cabin blocks set on point along the outer edge are an inexplicable act of chutzpah. The measurements are about 37" (at the widest points) x 72".  What kind of a quilt is that?

When I pulled it out a couple of months ago, I was struck by how "modern" it looks.  With the modern quilt movement, wonkiness is in, so are solids, and improvisational piecing with no matched points. This quilt fits the bill. Hooray, I'm suddenly modern!

Last week, I pressed it, added backing and batting, and then did  a stitch in the ditch with invisible thread throughout. I'm not liking the pillowy effect, and thinking of maybe going over the whole thing with a closely-spaced diagonal machine quilting....or big stitch sashiko-style diagonal quilting....or what? Suggestions welcomed!

I don't know if I could make something this improvised again -  not without a LOT of planning!

UPDATE 2/2013: I decided on a quilting design and finished quilting this piece here.

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