Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Taste the Rainbow

I could be posting a few Christmas photos right about now, but I really wanted to squeeze in this one entry about quilting before the end of the year.  Unfortunately 2015 was not a terribly productive quilty year for me, but I at least managed to finish up this project that had been banished to the "UFO" (unfinished object) pile for what seemed like forever.

I have had quite the love/hate relationship with this quilt.  I had so much fabric left over from Angie's 40th birthday quilt, even after making two sets of quilted tote bags with the remnants.  I just could not look at it or let it take up space in my stash any more, so one day I ironed and chopped it all up into 2.5" strips are decided to make it into a simple picnic blanket.  Really, what else can you do with realistic prints of fruits and vegetables?

Although there were times that I truly hated looking at this fabric, I did love designing an original block that would work with precut strips, and I also loved using my quilting software to bring an idea to life.

It's a large (13 inch) block that is intended to be rotated for visual interest, and the sashing is built into the block design so it is super simple to assemble.

I managed to make all these partial blocks way back in 2013 when I broke my leg and figured out how to sew with my left foot while having a giant purple cast on my right.  They waited in a drawer for quite some time before eventually making it into full blocks, and then waited even longer to be joined together into a quilt top. And then even loooooonger before finally being sandwiched and quilted.  A fun design has its limits when made with ugly fabric.  I resolved to finish it this year - not because I really wanted it, but just so I could call it done.

I used yard and yards of Kona Chocolate brown for the backing, because if this thing actually does ever get used, it's going to be on the dirty ground.  To make it less structured on the back I randomly threw in a few snippets of fabrics that said "picnic" to me - watermelon, berries, even some potato chips.  The quilting design is one I recently saw a friend use on a mini she made, simple straight lines  echoing out from an x in the center.

I always thought I'd use the same brown for the binding, but (1) there wasn't enough left over, (2) I didn't want to buy more since there was no way I was investing any more money into a quilt I wasn't crazy about, and (3) it was actually too much of a contrast and looked entirely out of place on the front of the quilt.  I wound up using the same off-white Kona Bone as the background fabric, and it looks alright.  I tried out a glue basting technique this time before machine stitching the binding on, which worked pretty well, especially for accurate mitered corners.

In small amounts, most of the fabrics aren't terrible, but it's a lot to take in all together.

I do especially love how it looks like a rainbow when it's all rolled up and you can't quite tell you're looking at green beans, squash, grapes, and various other fruits unless you look more closely.

So stick a fork in it, it's D.O.N.E.  By far the longest "WIP" (work in progress) I've ever had, more than 2 years in the making.  After all that, it better get used!  With these crazy December days in the 70's we've had around Christmas, I'm about ready to pack up a picnic basket and head outside.

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