Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Just a little turmoil

I've written about the quilt I'm making to enter the SAQA "Turmoil" exhibit, and thanks to my husband being gone and not having to make meals or otherwise be sociable, I have finished sewing the top.  I think it looks pretty good; I'd give it a B in the category of for the first time you try something new.

Interestingly, the first time you try something new can fall anywhere on the quality spectrum.  I have looked back at some of the "number one"s in my longer series and thought they were embarrassingly crude (the technique hadn't yet been refined by practice) or embarrassingly simple (I hadn't yet figured out how to add complexity).  On the other hand, I have looked back at some "number one"s and realized that I hit a home run the first time out of the dugout, and much as I tried, I could never recapture the magic.

Here's one that I thought was great --

Crazed 1: Tricolor

I've made more than 20 in this series and while some have been pretty spectacular, I was never able to make another with this lovely character of different widths of the fine lines.  This quilt was sold out of the SAQA@20 traveling exhibit and I've always been sorry that it's gone.
But I digress.  I realized that the red turmoil quilt had become something I wasn't anticipating -- shapes made entirely out of pieced fine lines.  Arranging the shapes into a composition turned out to be easier said than done, especially since I did no advance planning and some of the shapes ended up sewed into larger expanses of background so they couldn't be shifted around without a lot of ripping and resewing.

But anyway, the top is done.  Now to decide how to quilt it.

I took some of my leftover bits and sewed a small quilt, just 6 x 8 inches, to donate to the SAQA Spotlight auction at their conference in April.  (If you're a SAQA member and want to make something small and non-threatening for a good cause, check out the Spotlight requirements here.)

(Actually I want this photo to be turned 90 degrees clockwise, but Blogger isn't letting me do that.  Tip your head to the left and see what you think.  And don't be distracted by those wider strips at the corner; the outer 3/4 inch will be hidden underneath a mat.)

Making the tiny quilt served three purposes: first, to use up the leftover bits; second, to donate to the good cause; and third, to test quilting approaches.  This particular quilting approach, in which I generally follow the lines of the piecing, worked just fine on a 6x8" piece, since I could easily turn it under the needle when the direction of the piecing changed.  But it would be impossibly tedious with a larger quilt, so I need a new approach.  I'll keep thinking.


  1. Someone will certainly be happy to buy this. Good luck figuring out how to quilt your large quilt. Yikes. Getting bulk under and around the needle often intimidates me from doing anything too complex.

  2. I'm really liking the bright colors of the little quilt. (That will come to no surprise to you.) I live the way you quilted the small piece; that is the way I quilted my newest piece. It IS a REAL pain switching directions all the time and took a VERY long time. I'm hoping to try it again on my new sit-down quilting machine. My hope is that the machine will make it easier. (That might just turn out to be wishful thinking.)