Deadlines and Decisions-Poppies Revisited
I have a very simple motto-“just go forward”. It means that instead of fixing less-than-perfect work, I’ll “go forward” and fix that on the next piece. I don’t think I learn a lot from ripping out work.
My Poppies quilt really challenged that motto. I was up against a seemingly impossible deadline. At several points I had to decide whether to even try to make the deadline. At one point the entire quilt came into question. I did “just go forward” and it worked out well. I know that is not always the case so I was happy to take my free pass.
I’m going to take you chronologically through the last week before the deadline entry date for last year’s Pacific International Quilt Festival. Look at this quilt-this is how far I was a week before deadline-a week! It was a rumpled, incomplete mess. I did have a firm design plan so that gave me a bit of confidence. I know my photos are not the best.
So, should I go for it? It truly seemed impossible to make the deadline. But at this point I had nothing to lose so I went for it.
Five days before deadline and this is what I have. I have put in most of my flowers and the bones of the foliage. But it looks awful at this point because I haven’t connected the flowers and the foliage. The flowers are just floating around up there. Is this even going to work?
I needed to add a few more flowers and buds but I wasn’t sure where. This is my high-tech way of auditioning placement. The construction paper I used is antique, left over from when my boys were young!
The amount of thread I went through was ridiculous. This quilt is all thread; no paint, no fabric except the background.
Finally, I’ve completed the quilting! I always wash my quilts, and then block them before binding. I know many of you wonder why anyone would block two (or three or four!) times. THIS is why.
My quilt is hopelessly misshapen. The edges have 2 inches of excess fabric on the sides compared to the middle-2 inches! If I had bound it at this point, I would have bound in my problem. I had to pin it inch-by-inch to try to control that ripple.
I really did not think I could block out this much ripple. Do you see why the problem happened? I heavily quilted some areas and lightly quilted others. I knew better. That is a recipe for the disaster you see here. The heavily quilted areas acted as gathering stitches.
I may have controlled the edges but you can see there is still a lot of wonky in the center-all that excess flutter had to land somewhere. So I steamed those areas and patted them down. Then I put a big square ruler over them to try to control that excess fabric.
I blocked it again and it’s better, but you can see that there are still some issues to be resolved. It is one day before submittal is due! I don’t even know how I blocked again, faced and photographed this quilt in time for entry.
I chose to face this quilt rather than bind it. I thought it would better control the flutter and I also preferred the aesthetics of a clean edge to a binding.
Somehow I got the quilt faced, sleeved and photographed in time for the deadline. It was ultimately juried in to the show and hung last Oct at PIQF.
This was a real challenge at every turn. It is rare that I have a quilt that I design and construct without some major issue. Did you think you were the only one that went through stuff like this?
I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off-the-Wall Friday.
Sandy Curran says
I thought of you when I worked and worked and worked on quilting my latest quilt. I thought of your beautiful quilting, your regular stitches and perfect tension as I struggled with ragged quilting, short and long stitches and messy tension. I tried. I really tried. But, I just don’t know how you do it. I pictured a quilt judge looking at this sad piece that I have worked on for 6 months and I know they’ll say nice composition, interesting color, work on consistent quilting. And I do. I do work on it, but I still mess up, after years of trying. Jenny…..I’m JEALOUS!
Oh Sandy, it’s just practice-REALLY! Rob Appell has a great phrase: “I’m just a beginning quilter with a lot of experience”. True. I wish I had the eye to create 2′ high Jack Nickolson’s! Diane Gaudynski had a rough period due to significant allergies. She had to stay in her house for a long time. So she quilted. She is the best sit-down machine quilter I have ever seen.
And quilt judges have a different view than galleries and exhibits. Your work is so artful! Quilt judges just have a different eye and they’re supposed to. I think your work would look so at home in a gallery setting or in an exhibit or one of the SAQA exhibits.
Wish you were here! We could sit down and look at some of the foundational stuff: batting, needles, thread, machine, ergonomics. All that stuff really stacks up and makes a difference. I hope to meet you sometime at a show or something. We could join the same Mutual Admiration Society!
Roxane Lessa says
Wow! well done!!
Thank you Roxane-newly crowned Miss Bernina Ambassador!!
Thank you for sharing your struggles; it does help to realize I am not alone. I’ll have to confess to not having blocked a piece yet…may have to add that to my bag of tricks.
Well lucky you that you haven’t needed to block yet!! Maybe you know to quilt evenly (hear the sound of a good forehead smack?). You only need to block if…..your quilt is wonky. Thank you for the comment Claire!
Betty Jo Tatum says
Great job! I love how you explained so well the importance of blocking. I have rescued more than one wonky quilt, and even a wonky garment, with strategic blocking. Love the quilt.
Thank you Betty Jo. It is amazing how much you can correct with blocking. Now, blocking a garment-that’s new to me!
Joanna, maybe you just haven’t quilted so unevenly before! You’re no coward-your work is glorious.
I’m overwhelmed you persevered with the power blocking of this piece. The result is glorious. I’ve blocked some ruffly pieces but never anything like yours. Oh, maybe it’s because I’ve never done such close, intense quilting as you did, coward that I am.
Thank you Joanna! You’re no coward-your work is glorious! I think each style has its own “issues” and my style creates ruffles.
Carol Mcdowel. says
First I love the quilt. Amazing work – simple yet effective design. I am so in your corner with the make it and fix it method. I think that’s the fun of this art quilting thing is to get yourself in trouble and then figuring how to get out of it. Moving forward – I like that ;-)
Im surprised at the washing of the quilts first before blocking. But I guess my quilts aren’t really washable so I don’t relate to washing. I don’t know a lot about blocking and need to learn. Do you wet the quilt first? (Thus the washing, right!)
Carol-thank you! Yes, I do wash-I put it in the regular old washing machine on gentle, then tumble dry for a wee bit just to dry it out a little. Then I block. I’ve written several posts on blocking so if you used the search bar on my site you would find them. There are lots of You Tubes and other blogger’s posts on the subject. But if you don’t need to block, don’t!!
Heather P says
Poppies are my favorite flowers! I love the way this turned out!
Thank you Heather. Poppies are just full of energy and personality! It was a fun quilt to do (except the deadline part).
Norma Schlager says
It is stunning and worth all the aggravation. Kudos on getting juried in.
Thank you Norma. I really was shocked that I finished in time. It’s always a kick to see your work hang in a show so I was excited.
Ann Grundler says
Hi Jenny, I wondered how you got your quilts so flat. This is especially difficult for me with my Asian Inspiration quilts as they cannot be quilted evenly. I learned from Linda Schmidt to use wool batting, steam it well after it is stretched, pins every inch, and then let it dry for three days. Still it has its limits. Sometimes I do some extra quilting. Ann
Yes Ann, we do what we have to do to get them to hang well. Sometimes I practically beat it into submission!