Friday, February 21, 2014

Straight and Narrow - Finished!

 Hello!  This quilt has been quite some time in the making, and almost as long in the wait to do a blog post. 

I started this quilt way back in May, when I went to a quilt show on Mother's Day weekend.  There was a vendor there, Kallisti Quilts, with the most gorgeous Japanese fabrics.  I fell in love with the taupes and thought they would be the perfect choice for a quilt for my husband.  He had been using our daughter's wonderful I Spy quilt that my aunt and her friend made, but it was time for him to have his own.  The understated palette and blend of texture and subtle patterns made these fabrics perfect for a masculine quilt that didn't rely on golf clubs and fishing lures to be "masculine".  
  The first two pictures are the set of fat quarters that I chose to make the quilt.  Michelle Dunn, owner of Kallisti Quilts had grouped the taupes into colour families, and there are wonderful hints of purple, rust, blue, and brown in these ones.  They are beautiful to the touch as well as the eye, with much of the pattern woven in, in different textures and threads.  They are beautiful to work with and I loved every block.

The pattern is Whisper, by Blue Underground Studio, and is one of the patterns she stocks.  She had some gorgeous samples made with this pattern and I loved the gentle undulation of the accent strips and the shape of the blocks echoing the accent strips.  Handily, each pair of fat quarters resulted in four finished blocks, so it was easy to keep track of putting it all together. 
 The third photo is of laying out the quilt on my design "wall" (which is actually my basement floor).  I stand up on a chair and look down.  I am trying to figure out which vertical wall I can commandeer for design purposes.  All the walls in our open plan bungalow are being used for windows and doors and bookcases.  I'm sure something will occur to me eventually, and I keep an eye on the quilty blogs for good ideas for constructing a sturdy temporary wall that can assemble in a blink, collapse on command (and not a moment sooner), store in a shoebox, and hold at least two projects (ideally three).  If you see any links to a tutorial for this type of design wall, please share!
 By now you are wondering - you bought the FQs in May, there are only 45 blocks, why is there snow in the finished picture???  Well, I already said this was a quilt for my husband but I didn't say that I wanted it to be a surprise for his December birthday.  This entire project was done in stealth, no mean feat given that my sewing area is in the common family room and my husband spends very little time gallivanting around.  (This is not a complaint, just an observation.)  I had to rely on early mornings before work, Thursday evenings when he was out at choir practice and the Saturday mornings I could beg off taking the girls to swimming lessons.  I figured May-to-December would be enough time, and it was, barely.  I got it put together in time to quilt it on Remembrance Day (the day I get off that my husband doesn't).  My mother arrived at an opportune time on November 10th to help me baste it and that meant I could do the quilting on November 11th.  I just did an all-over meander because that's the only one I know so far and I felt it would be a nice subtle textural effect that wouldn't compete with the overall subtle shifts in colour and texture.  I didn't want an additional pattern that would say "look at me!".   What we didn't get a picture of was the quilt back - more Japanese fabrics chosen with Michelle's help.  There is a beautiful koi fish pattern, and a hemp seed.  The binding is a subtle plaid, also from Kallisti.  She was so helpful, really, really helpful. 

Well, the stealth paid off and he had no idea what I was up to.  To the point that when he opened it on his birthday, he said, "Oh, this is nice."  Fortunately, his hubby radar triggered a red alert to an imminent explosion and he took a closer look.  He said, "Did you make this????"  I said, "Yes!  Of course!" and he took another look and really started to appreciate it.  He explained that he thought I bought it because he had never seen me working on it or any evidence of it around.  So he looked in more detail at it and really started to like all the different plaids and textures and inlaid strips.  This is one of my favourite projects so far and no matter how much I see the fabric, I love it more each time.  I decided to call it Straight and Narrow. 

So that's the quilt - it took a while to find a good day to get a picture of it.  The backyard has too much snow to hang it on the clothesline, so I had to wait for a day when my husband was heading out to go cross country skiing and I could ask him for a quick favour just before he went.  "Just a quick picture of your quilt." ... "No, not there, I was thinking on the fence." ... "Well, I was thinking more drapey." ... "I was thinking a little more drapey and flowy." ... "No, it doesn't matter if it falls in the snow." ... "That's fantastic!  Now can I have a closeup?" 

Thanks for stopping by!