Oh golly, ogee top’s done!

Although this quilt top technically belongs in my next UFO entry, given that this is a current project that  just reached a milestone today I figured I’d give it a post all its own. This is the top I made as a participant in Lesly’s Ogee Quiltalong. If you’d like to read some insights I had during the design process, click here.

Do I love it? No. Do I hate it? Well, maybe hate is too strong a word. What I hated was making it!

Before I started this project I knew that sewing the small curved seams wouldn’t be quick, easy, or fun; but I plugged away and they all got done. What put me over the edge was that the squares composed of the curved pieces almost never finished to full size, let alone square. My fault, I know. (If I’d have sewn the curves more slowly and carefully, maybe they’d have been more accurate; but I wouldn’t bet money on it. )

As a result, stitching the pieced blocks to the unpieced blocks tested both my ability to stretch the squares and the physics of near-invisble seam allowances. I don’t think there are a dozen straight seams with a 1/4″ seam allowance on both blocks. With all the stretching and fudging along the seam allowances this will be the prefect lap quilt as it’ll never have to hang straight 🙂 

To pay tribute to the source of some of the fabrics and the design inspiration of the others, and in recognition of the fudging I did in the construction, I’ve decided to call the quilt Asian Fudge. Originally I thought to call this “Asia threw up on my quilt”, borrowing from a friend who would say that Christmas threw up on lawns that had a surplus of tacky holiday decorations. That’s sort of the feeling I get when looking at this quilt top.

My main regret is that for all the effort I put into this quilt I’m not fond of it, and as a result it’s likely to stay a quilt top unless and until I need a quick gift. Hopefully my next project will be something I’m more proud of. Don’t yet know what that’ll be. I’m taking an Art Quilt class with Elaine Quehl for 6 sessions over 6 months. And in an attempt to be even more artistic and original in my quiltmaking, I’ll soon be starting a drawing and painting class through our city’s recreation department.  Of course, I’ve got tons of quilt patterns and the fabrics to go with them,  so who knows what I’ll do next.


Happy to be back

It’s been more than a month since my last blog post, and that’s because it’s been more than a month since I’ve been in my sewing room. Finally, this weekend I was able to devote some time to quilting. Ogee time!

Thus far, I had cut the 20 fabrics into squares and drunkard path-type pieces and decided on the layout of the fabrics. I thought it would be 1-2-3-sew, but no such luck. This is the layout I had decided on, where no two, similar colours were close enough to each other that they risked blending.

I did a little tweaking because I thought the bottom half had no movement. In the end, the top half was rearranged too, because I couldn’t simply exchange one or two squares in the bottom half. Once I was happy with the layout I spaced the squares and started putting up the curved pieces (below). It quickly became apparent that the new layout wouldn’t be the final layout. Notice how the colours blend too much in the circled areas?

Back to the drawing board. The version shown below, left, is very close to the final version, because I couldn’t help but tweak it after the bottom row (not visible) became to heavy and busy with black prints. And as I found the first time I tried to shift the weight of the prints, I couldn’t just play with the bottom row or two because some of the heavy or busy pieces had to be moved up.

So I thought I’d share some observations, even though I haven’t finished sewing the top.

1. Too much busyness is a barrier to a harmonious quilt, even if there is contrast and coordination. While this is probably true of all quilts, I think the rounded edges make this even more relevant. There’s no place for the eye to rest when all the fabrics are busy. Perhaps value plays a role too, but I’m not convinced that having too many mediums is really the proble here. The red circle on the black and white picture above, right, shows the red and blue ogees are almost identical in value, yet they are very distinct in the colour version on the left.

2. The flow of the quilt seems to go from left to right and right to left along the diagonals, bouncing almost like a pinball machine. At least it does in real life. I found that having ogees of similar colour lined up vertically or horizontally impedes the flow of the piece; or maybe that’s only true with the fabrics I’m using.

3. This is one of the few quilts I’ve worked on that I think looks better in person than in photographs. And I haven’t yet figured out why.