I’ve written previously about this whole cloth quilt that I am obsessed with. Just to review, this is my inspiration:
This quilt was made between 1830 and 1850, probably in the area of Marsielle, France, by an unknown maker. I saw it in person at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska while attending the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Conference. I swooned upon seeing this quilt. It. Is. Stunning.
As I studied this quilt, I knew I MUST make a quilt inspired by this beauty. I studied it and what attracted me the most are two things: the fluffy border and its loose, imperfect, romping motifs. First, I had to figure out that border.
I will not detail the entire tedious process but there was waaaaay more to it than would meet the eye. I have worked for 5 days just trying to get a decent mock-up that will approximate the final border. Drafting this was no walk in the park. You have to have the right gear:
I could not have done this without the right tools. I had not yet used Sue Heinz’s Circleliner. I heard about it on her recent Quilt Show episode. Just reason #345 why you need The Quilt Show. It is an excellent tool, very well designed and will make circles up to 24 1/2″. The green template was perfect for the scallops.
It was not easy to draft this:
This was only my 10th draft. I had to get the size and spacing right and that took some experimenting and math. But this was the look I wanted, so it was worth it.
Scallops were a challenge: they had to be just the right size to fill the space and it was tricky figuring out the corners and how to keep them from running over each other. It’s a really good thing that I like math! Here are just a few of the iterations:
You can see my progress, as some of the scallops are a bit wonky with spongy edges, while some have crisp, perfect edges. I used Pellon Bi-Stretch Lite (a fusible) to stabilize the dupioni and eliminate the shredding. I use this with all shredding fabrics.
After 5 days of messing with the scallops, this was the mock-up I got. Bleh. I did forget to put the Bi-Stretch Lite in which would have made for a much smoother edge. Also, it’s not quilted yet and I haven’t steamed it, both of which would contribute to a significantly better edge. I did remove the batting from the seam:
That little pile of puff on top is the cut-off batting.
But still, it did not look like I was going to achieve the crisp edge that I wanted. Keep in mind that entire scalloped edge would need to be completed before quilting the quilt! And, then I still had to figure out how I was going to join up the edge of the scallop facing with the backing of the quilt. I had worked up a plan for that, but it hadn’t yet nailed it down. Five days of near constant work with many roadblocks and detours and all I got was this sloppy edge. Sigh. Now what? Time for a Plan B.
The original quilt had what appeared to be a buttonhole-stitched edge and I see why! It is beyond rocket science to be able to trapunto the top and get crisp, fluffy edges before quilting the center and then figuring out how to join it all together. So I tried the buttonhole stitch thing:
I have not had time to develop this, but it looks like this is the only way to go, just as the original maker had. I tried Aurifil 12 wt in this sample and it covers well, but I think I want to use silk thread and it will have to be a pretty hefty thread. It will only be a zillion dollars for the thread,no biggie! I wonder how long it will take to hand stitch a buttonhole edge around the perimeter of a 60″-ish by 70″-ish scalloped quilt. Geez let’s just make this harder!
I feel like I could continue to pursue the faced-scallop thing, but after 5 days of all-day work, I think I’ve got to hang it up. You don’t always win and sometimes you just have to go with Plan B. I intend to get really good at the buttonhole stitch – I’ll have lots of time to practice on this quilt! Stay tuned. I’m linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday!