Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Freshening Up

"Sunshine and Picnics",  February 2014

Back in November, the Latitude Quilters had their reveal for their "Escape" challenge, but I didn't post anything.  You may recall that in November I suffered a fractured tailbone, making any sort of art-related work out of the question.  With my family difficulties at the start of this year, I haven't been making art for a few months.

I've finally been able to get back into the studio and, pressed for time, I changed course.  My original idea for "Escape" was very cool, but would have taken more time than I felt appropriate; I didn't want to continue to keep my fellow members waiting for me to finish.  As a result, I decided to piece a small quilt reminiscent of one of my favorite summer "escape" activities: picnics.  Piecing seems to reflect best those days when picnics are a special treat, with a homemade cloth spread out on the lawn.  I love picnics on gentle summer days with puffy clouds, so yellow and white became the color palette.  Piecing also took me back to the beginning of my quilting days when I made baby quilts for everyone (except my own children -- sorry, kids!).  I'd forgotten how much I enjoy piecing.  

In my hope to get the quilt done quickly I didn't take as much care as I should have; I pieced one section backwards.  Rather than take the section apart and resew it, I chose to cover up the error and I'm so proud of myself!  Sometimes, it is the right decision to take something apart (or even to start over), but I'm glad I gave myself the opportunity to consider another alternative.  Now there's grass peeking up along the edge of the quilt, just like it might at a picnic.  (I have to wonder if I wasn't also influenced by the bit of green I've spied alongside mounds of melting snow.)  As it turns out, I think the quilt has a bit more charm now.

You'll note that the quilt has more quilting than my usual work does.  One of the challenges I gave myself this year was to decide how I liked quilting -- not as a medium, but as one of my art-making tools.  Not surprisingly, I figured I was done after I had quilted in the ditch then stitched a few diagonal lines through nine-patches.... but no, I really wasn't.  The open squares puckered a bit due to lack of quilting and the quilt looked a little forlorn.  After mulling it over a bit (what design to use? do I really want to take the time?), I decided I needed to do something.  I think the quilt looks better with the swirly, loopy quilting and the open squares don't look sloppy any longer.  I chose to try out Aurifil linen thread that Alex Veronelli sent to me when I volunteered to experiment with some threads.  I LOVE the line this thread makes.  It's the perfect thread to use if you have a motif that needs to stand out and "fill the space", so to speak.  I don't know if this is the right thread to use in the background as a filler; I'm inclined to think it's better on center stage.   The few colors I saw are lovely, too.

Now that this project is off my plate and my quilting mojo is somewhat back on track, I can work -- very quickly -- on some projects that have rather immediate deadlines.  Hopefully I'll have new work to show you SOON.  

If you peek through the grass, you can see that I pieced the half square triangles
in the wrong direction; they were supposed to go the other way
to mimic rays of sunshine, as on the top of the quilt.

Simple swirly, loopy motif for the empty squares, stitched with Aurifil linen thread.
(The diagonal lines and in-the-ditch quilting was also done with
 the same Aurifil linen thread; even the straight lines pop!)


Cindy Green said...

I love the fresh colors and would never have noticed your mistake - the grass was a perfect solution! So glad you are creating again, and keeping it fun. Beautiful!

Norma Schlager said...

Charming! I like the yellow color scheme, the quilting and the grass "fix". Well done!

Natalya Aikens said...


Kristin L said...

Charming is right. I also assumed you had planned the grass from the very beginning. :-)

Anonymous said...

Love this quilt Viv. It makes me happy and hopeful for sunshine and green grass. Hopefully soon.