Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Quilt Gestation: Why It Takes So Frickin' Long to Quilt One Lousy Quilt

Challenge fabrics
Welcome.  As promised weeks ago, today we finally discuss the gestational cycle of the quilt top.

The question, "Why does it take so frickin' long to quilt one lousy quilt?" is one that has been asked for millennia.  Here we present some possible answers:

A)  The quilter is a perfectionist.
B)  The quilt top design is unusual, requiring an unusual design for the actual quilting itself.
C)  The quilter is sloooooow.
D)  The quilter is continually distracted by other projects.
E)  The quilter is a beginner and has very little clue what she is doing.
F)  All of the above.

Let's follow the gestational cycle of one particular quilt.



This quilt was born of necessity.  A quilting challenge was issued, the gauntlet was laid down, and the challenge was accepted.  The seed of an idea was planted--several seeds, in fact, most of which never germinated.

Finally one seed began its tenuous journey towards life.  Were there moments of stress and regret as the quilt top grew?  Of course.

Did a high wind blow many of the pieces off the design wall one day?  Of course.

But in the long term, the quilter was happy to have accepted the challenge.

Notice, it is a "modern" quilt.  Not only was it made recently, it bears no resemblance to traditional quilts of yore.  Or your.

No pattern was followed;  no pattern was written;  it is one of a kind.  One might call it an "art" quilt.  Or one might call it a disaster.

Whatever you call it, once any quilt top has reached its full growth, it frequently goes into a state of suspended animation.

Quilt tops are larvae which do not always metamorphose into actual finished quilts.  They can gestate for months, even years, in cocoon-like project bags in closet or garage, before they are ready to emerge and begin their journey to full adulthood.


This quilt top, however, skips the cocoon stage, due to the urgency of a deadline for a quilt show.

The top migrates a short distance to batting and backing, is pinned into a quilt sandwich, and then… we wait.

Many hours are spent staring at the quilt trying to figure out how to quilt it.  Ideas are considered, tossed aside, then reconsidered.

At last the stitching begins.

And continues.  On and on.  For many moons.

First comes straight line quilting with the walking foot.

Then we see a bit of free motion with the free motion foot.


Then comes ripping out the free motion bit because it looks dreadful.

Then, more free motion.

Is it overly busy?  Perhaps.  Are we ripping any more stitches out?  Not on your life!

The back


The binding is sewn on just in time to find out the appearance at the quilt show has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.




Never mind!  It's a UFO that has become an FO!






More of the back
Thanks to Joey and Deb, it is hung at a local shop with the other two challenge quilts, for several weeks.  (Gee, it looks so small next to the others!  After all that work!)

Now it's hanging in another show at the Faulkner Gallery in the downtown Santa Barbara public library.  The FO has a journey of its own….

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