Two finishes and a few debacles
I think I’m in a quilting slump, kinda like a batting slump in baseball.
I am working hard, but moving forward at glacial speed. I’m frustrated but not discouraged, and I still have my joy. This summer has allowed me the luxury of being at home, creating and sewing. I don’t think I’ve had this big of a chunk of time in years. So I’m happy just to be home, sewing and creating.
It’s been a Red Letter week, despite the challenges. I finished two pieces on Monday, both part of my black and white series. One has been shipped off to Florida. From there it will be united with other quilts and will travel to Brazil-my first international venue! I don’t know a lot about the venue, but this video of the 2013 show will give you an idea.
This opportunity came to me through SAQA Regional Rep Deda Moldonado. Deda represents Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean regions for SAQA. Deda selected me to participate in this exhibit. Exciting, no? I’ll show that piece once it returns from Brazil, later in the year. This piece is 30″ x 48″.
I also finished an 18″ 24″ piece depicting Illinois prairie grasses in the wind. I worked from photos I took last year when I visited my home state. I will enter it into the Concrete and Grasslands exhibit for SAQA. I will not know if I juried in until Oct 30th-I’ll be teaching in Houston when the notice comes! If accepted, it would be my first SAQA exhibition, a real honor. Fingers crossed!
Of course none of this was without drama. I chose to use a two-colored binding on my Brazil piece. I started by using the same black and white sateens I used in the main part of the quilt. It was all done and ready to send.
But something just didn’t sit right with me. The black binding on the black side wasn’t quite right-it needed an edge. Just for grins, I slapped down a snip of gray Radiance (silk/cotton). The piece came alive! I knew I had to change it.
Of course I didn’t have enough fabric for the binding. I called all over town and no one had any in stock. I eventually found it in Berkeley and had it mailed to me. I had to rip off that beautifully applied black and white binding, construct a new two-colored binding, and then apply it to the quilt. Painful, but worth it.
But the trouble was not over. That two-colored binding presented some challenges when it came time to figure out how to hang it. The Brazil venue will allow my piece to show both side-a rare opportunity. So my hanging system had to accommodate that challenge. I knew I could do tabs, but that felt a little “quilty” to me and this was definitely an art piece.
So I devised this clever system that was an unobtrusive as possible, yet allowed both sides to show. The real problem was the two-colored binding. I needed to have a two-colored hanging system too.
Here’s what I tried. I found this nylon sheer fabric to hold the quilt. I chose this fabric because it was the sheerest fabric I could find-way more sheer than silk organza for instance. I wanted the hanging system to be nearly invisible. Also, this fabric did not have any stretch. Netting and other sheers actually had a lot of stretch-who knew?
But it was AWFUL to sew on. If you think organza is annoying, this stuff is 10 times more annoying! It wiggled and was impossible to control-it was like trying to control air. I tried putting paper in my seams and all those other tricks, but at the end of the day, it was just simply annoying.
I made 1/4″ binding for each side of the nylon fabric. These would be attached directly to the quilt and sit atop the 1/4″ binding already on the quilt. Thus the hanging system would virtually disappear.
I hope it’s clear from the photo what I did. But once it was attached, the quilt did not hang well and the whole set-up looked a little jerry-rigged. I had to scrap the whole idea. And it only took me 8 hours to do this-ugh. Most of the work was hand stitching too.
In the end, I went with hanging tabs. The quilt hangs well and the tab matches the binding fabric on each side, making them as unobtrusive as possible. This too involved a lot of hand work and about 4 more hours.
I think I’ll just go on vacation! I’m going to see my son and his girlfriend in Chicago and can’t wait to see them. They live in the Streeterville area, just off of the Magnificent Mile, near all the galleries-yippee!
Betty Jo Tatum says
Thanks for sharing your trials and solutions. I have occasionally thought of making a two sided quilt. Did you see my blog some weeks back comparing quilter’s block to writer’s block? I just got over my creative slump. It goes along with being creative, I think.
Yes I did see that post Betty Jo! And unfortunately I think that this goes with the territory-I am confident this slump will pass.
Roxane Lessa says
I have a piece in the Brazil show too! I’m excited you have one in as well. Mine is about Brazil and belongs to my mom.
Very cool Roxane! I am excited to see the exhibit…virtually of course. I’d love to see your piece!
Congrats on your entry and the best to you on the next one!! It does appear you solved the hanging dilemma beautifully and, yes, some moments of “time-out” will be welcomed!!!! Enjoy………………
Thank you Doreen. I really do try to enjoy each part of the process. No matter what, the hanging system for a two-sided quilt is a hard problem to solve.
Rebecca Grace says
I think it’s important that you powered on through the failed attempts and stopped on a high note, with a “win.” Yes, you’re cranky after all of that fussing and ripping and redoing, but after your trip I’ll bet you come home bubbling over with new ideas and excited to start something new again. The Kiss of Death to creativity is when you walk away in the MIDDLE of a disaster, BEFORE you find a solution. It is SO hard to drag yourself back to a project when a mess and a seam ripper are waiting for you. Enjoy your visit to Chicago!
Oh geez Rebecca Grace, I agree with all of that! I’m enjoying Chicago immensely and I so needed a break.
Norma Schlager says
Thanks for sharing all your ups and downs. It looks like you found a perfect solution. I’ve never tried a two sided binding. It sounds a bit daunting.
You’re welcome Norma! The two-colored binding is not hard at all, just has a few extra steps.
Congrats on your entry, Jenny, and on finding a resolution to the binding/hanging sleeve issues! I enjoy reading about your creativity as you work through the issues.
Thank you Laura. I seem to have endless fodder for posts about resolving issues!
Oh… I forgot…how wonderful for you to be on vacation! Love of family, and inspiration from galleries, abounding! You will come home re-energized!
Oh I hope so! I do love Chicago.
Jenny, I have struggled with the concept of how to hang work so it can be seen on both sides. I find it very helpful to see the various ideas you tried. You also have me intrigued with the idea of a two sided binding. Any chance of a tutorial on that? I’m trying to picture how that would work with the traditional method of mitering the corners. My 3D perception is nil.
Thanks for entering both SAQA Regional exhibitions and SAQA All Members exhibitions.
You’re welcome Gwyned. I hope I jury into the all member exhibit. I will do a tutorial on 2-colored binding and render my thoughts on advantages/disadvantages of using it. Mitering is no problem btw. Thanks for asking!
Teresa Wong says
Sounds stressful, but we know you are a pro and you will get it all done, and done right! Enjoy your vacation time.
Ah my vacation was wonderful Teresa! Thank you for your note!
Janet McElroy says
Jenny you really do crack me up, you spend more time ”ribiting” than your actual quilting bless you, I am so glad you eventually got the solution to your black/white binding piece. What a learning curve for you that has been. SAQ are doing you proud and why not, you deserve it, your work is pretty amazing. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to October to see the BIG piece you have sent off.
It’s my own joke that the reason I exist is to provide humor for others! Thank you for your nice note Janet-I can’t wait for the reveal!