Prairie Afternoon is the title of my entry into the 2015 Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF). It was one wild ride to make this quilt! Everything went wrong, until it didn’t. I like the final product and I’m shocked that it all turned out.
My inspiration was drawn from photos I had taken when I visited my home state of Illinois a few years ago. I love the fields and grasses and how the wind puts them in motion.
I am happy with the completed piece. But it was not easy to get there! Come with me on the journey:
Left side-no stiffener, right side is stiffened
I knew this would be a heavily stitched piece and would be prone to getting wonky, so I did some research beforehand to figure out what I could do to control that. I will not hoop-hate that, I will not put heavy stabilizers in either as that affects the drape. I thought I would try Terial Magic-a unique product that I know some embroiderers use in place of hooping.
You may not be able to tell here, but the left side is going wonky because it had no Terial Magic. The right side was treated and lies perfectly flat. Problem solved….
except I forgot to treat my piece before I quilted it! Let us pause for a forehead slap.
More problems followed. As I was stitching, of course I stuck myself and bled on the quilt before I realized it.
Double mess: “Make-up” stain and wrinkles even after first blocking
Also, every time I washed one of my white quilts, I ended up with this make up type stain on it. I FINALLY figured out it was my washing machine-there was a line of icky gunk at the water line! I tried cleaning and cleaning and cleaning it but there were still little floaty bits coming up in the water. Thankfully it began to leak on the floor and I received Budgetary Approval to get a new machine-another problem solved! And see those massive wrinkles? Ugh.
If you read my blog regularly, you may notice that some photos are from previous posts. I needed to do that to be able to tell the story of this quilt.
Since I forgot to use the Terial Magic, of course had a seriously lumpy quilt. It was VERY wonky. I have figured out a method of “custom blocking” that controls that problem. By pinning frequently along the lines in the problem areas, I can block that mess into shape. This one was a huge challenge though. I ended up custom blocking multiple times.
And some areas still needed additional blocking, so in those areas I “micro blocked” by taking my pattern weights and plopping them in the problem area.
I also had an issue with some of my bobbin thread showing on top. Even though my tension was good, in those areas where I stitched over an already heavily-stitched area, I was going to have some threads pop up. I carefully dotted them with a Sharpie and they went away!
And of course sometimes I just changed my mind on the placement of a grass and ended up with this kind of a mess to take out.
So finally I got to this stage:
I lost a bunch of photos somehow and this is the only one I have of this stage. But it’s looking good!
And the back.
And I still had 2 days until I had to submit! I was feeling good. But when I began to fill out the form, I realized that my piece was too small to fit into “Innovative”, its proper category. ACK!
I know this is so weird, but I happened to have this piece that was originally something like 56″ x 36″ laying around! I have lots of line ends in this type of quilting and on this piece, I used tiny stitches to secure the end of each line. I subsequently decided I wanted to bury each thread in the batting instead. That is how this piece came to be laying around-the ends weren’t buried.
I could make this piece work IF I put my pictorial piece upon a larger “extra” piece to create borders and make it bigger. Then I could lay the pictorial piece atop that with the black side as the front-brilliant, huh? I had 2 days to make it work. The binding on the pictorial piece had to be removed so that the hand stitching on the binding would now face the white side.
And I also needed to bind the new “back”, do the sleeve, label, write up the submittal and do my own photography. I scooted in just in time and ultimately was accepted. The only thing I don’t like is that the grasses now go left instead of right. Does that bother any of you? Do you lefties out there jump for joy when you see a “left-sided” piece?
It will be on display this week at PIQF and I’ll be there to see it. What a ride. I’ll be linking up to Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday-check out this week’s links.