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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Robin Quilt Construction

When I got home from England with my last Robin panel, I blocked it again to get it, not into a perfect square, but a fraction squarer. I also backed it and quilted the edge with running stitch.

I had stitched over the printed words on five of the blacks. Although the other four were reasonably clear, I stitched over those as well.

I could now assemble and consider all nine panels

In an attempt to apply the construction techniques I am slowly absorbing from a couple of years attending the Guild's B2B (once Back to Basics, now Basics to Beyond) group, I measured all the panels and graphed them up. There were large size variations in the original bird panels, so the edges were different sizes. Some I didn't want to trim too much, so the connecting sashing needed to compensate.
Part of my intention in using the striped batik fabric was to give me choice of colour in connecting the blocks. In fact it gave me too much choice. The stripes are, of course, not one solid colour, so there is no simple or obvious colour choice. It was not possible to get consistency across the joining rows.

In the end, my choices were somewhat arbitrary.

I joined the blocks firstly into columns.

I had alternated the direction of the stripes on the back of the blocks
I then joined the columns, both front and back, with full lengths of striped sashing with light wadding sandwiched between. I hand-quilted the sashing using six strands of stranded cotton in a single colour (blue) to provide a bit of consistency)

This took a bit of time and care, as I had no frame that would take the piece. I had to take care with tension and consistency through the wadding and two fabric layers.

Keeping straight was difficult - my eye kept following the pattern in the fabric.

This, after the Guild Exhibition for which it is being made, is to be my summer bed quilt, so the final size is tailored to my bed.

I carefully chose pink/red sections of the fabric to frame the whole piece, which left the largely blue/green sections for the backing. I ironed the wadding on to the strips and assembled them in pairs - then machine-stitched the first side on the wrong way round - with the red/orange on the back!

I tried it on the bed again, and decided to reverse all the edges -  mostly blue/greens on top.

This is the back.

At this point I had a dilemma. I only had enough fabric to put a drop edge on one side of the quilt. Either my summer quilt did not have a drop edge, or I ordered more fabric. It was already overwhelmingly bright. Maybe drop edging would be too much.
I pinned on the one side I had, consulted with a friend, and ordered more fabric.

Fortunately, Chrissy at Batik Fabrics Online had a new consignment, and, with her usual fabulous service, got it to me 36 hours after I had ordered it.

In that 36 hours I also obtained more wadding from Create in Stitch - and a reel of red top-stitching cotton to quilt down the stripes in the drops.

Manipulating the fabric, mitring the corners on both sides of the quilt and stitching through the layers gave me quite a few challenges - and a lot of unpicking. I admit to a few compromises that would not pass the test of quilting precision. The fabric is, after all, not geometric and I tell myself my methods are consistent with the fabric and the embroidery design.

I did, however, once I had added the fall on three sides, mark the top and bottom of the fall at 10cm intervals, top and bottom, before machine-stitching the layers together down the stripe. By now I knew that my eye was easily deceived into thinking the batik stripes were straight when they were far from it.

So here it is, finished. I have to go over it with great care to snip any stray threads, but otherwise it is ready to be packed away, ready for the SALA Exhibition in August.

I am planning on creating a book about its creation from the blog posts, to accompany it. For the moment, however, I can de-thread my apartment and turn my attention to smaller projects!

I am truly grateful to the encouragement of friends and family that have kept me going on this project which began as a single panel to do my bit for a Guild exhibition!


zetor said...

That is fantastic. Love your choice of colours.

Monica said...

Oh Jillian, it is SO good! I think you will be inspired every day with this on your bed. The fabric is lovely too, and I think you handled the stripes very well. Beautiful finish, great job!

Jillian said...

Thank you so much, Monica. I have been really conscious of my lack of skill and knowledge in quilting. I had to trust my instinct and generic knowledge - tempered by what I have learned from you over the years. It got me through and yes, it will keep me inspired (and looking on the bright side)!

margaret said...

I have so enjoyed following the creation of this beauty you must be thrilled with it and the batik fabric such a good choice I am sure it will be greatly admired when it goes on show you must share photos of it when it happens for those of us who cannot visit.

Jillian said...

Thank you Margaret. Yes, I'm chuffed! I will certainly post about the exhibition. It's quite a long time to wait!