Archive for the ‘methodology’ Category

Facing irregular shaped quilts

Friday, June 15th, 2007

I have made quite a few irregular shaped pieces in the years since around 1992-3, many of which can be found in the gallery pages of my website, www.alisonschwabe.com
In the past couple of days, on the Quiltart list there have been questions about doing this, and various answers given, and since I sent the original questioner this jpg, I thought I should post my version for anyone else who is interested in trying irregular shapes but intimidated by the finishing.
There are lots of ways any shape can be finished, and even look ‘unfinished’ if that goes with the integrity of the work, but irregular shapes can be tricky if you are looking for a really neat ‘properly finished’ edge, as many who are currently entering pieces in the experimental areas of quilt shows are feeling they need to achieve. (the Quilt Police loom large here) If the outline of the quilt is not too convoluted a binding will probably work OK. But if you have lots of pointy bits this one really works well. Granted a bagged back is popular, and probably perfect for small things, but I have noticed that bag-backed large quilts are often just that – ‘baggy’. This method always works for me, and despite the several diagrams is not at all difficult; if you can face an armhole or neckline of a garment, you can do this easily. Note point #8 – faced pointy bits do tend to curl a little allowing the facing to roll forward and be seen from the front, even other less shaped areas will tend to do this too. Even if you use some of the same fabric as used on the front, this looks sloppy and incompetent. So use the instructions in point #7 around the whole, and #8 where you get to a tricky point shape. Then complete by sewing the edge of the facing down.
I teach workshops taking this all further, including how to get some seriously non-straight shaping along the top edge. Some steps need to be taken in the pre-quilting construction stages to ensure these hang easily and conventionally, also that they fold for transportation, if these things are an issue with your work. To me it sometimes feels disappointing to see exciting shapes along the sides and bottom of a quilt hanging from a straight edge along the top. I think that if that person had known how, he/she might have chosen to make the top shaped, too. .. or maybe not, of course.

Anatomy of a Commission – Day 6

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

Today and yesterday I really pushed to get the last piecing done, with a self imposed deadline of this afternoon.

The final size is to be approx 2ft x 3 ft, so this is about 3’4″ x 2’6″, as it will ddraw up in the quilting

Over the next few days I will be communicating with the client, who can if she wishes at this stage propose any minor change; and then within the next few days then it will be layered and basted. While those processes going on, and while I do things like have some overdue (about 30 years overdue!) beauty treatments, a medical appointment and lunch with the girls, I will be mulling over the thread to use in the machine quilting I plan to do, metallic gold? metallic bronze? neon pink or orange? a change of neons from top to bottom? a change of metallics from top to bottom?… or something else I haven’t thought about yet…

And then there’s the matter of to bind or face, but during the fabric and scrap auditioning phase, I found a couple of great binding potential bits, both long enough although from other projects: so, a firm believer in the ability of the mind to quietly work on this over time, I will get them out and pin up beside the quilt to look at as I decide the other things.

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New Work in Progress

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007


Currently my quiltmaking continues exploration of the ground between traditional quiltmaking and my interest in lace and leather. Readers who have been following this leather thing since I began samplising over a year ago will have also seen various old lace samples I have put up at intervals over the period of the blog, and some intriguing pieces of handmade lace from various sources but especially my trip to Paraguay about a year back. Lace has two aspects – the textile stuff and the holes between the bits of thread, and I realise I have been very interested in the ‘holes’ bit for years – I have a lovely pair of silver earings, very modern with holes punched out, and a more recent gold pair of round-ish organic shapes, slightly concave, with holes of various sizes randomly punched out: all these things plus the challenges of a piece of leather set me off on a track where I recognise leather can look lacey. Laciness lightens up a solid shape….and lighter solid shapes can appear to float.

So now these roughly triangular shapes have been glued down, I will be doing a lot of hand sewing behind the scenes today, and may even get to the quilting stage. It is about 1m square, so not too overwhelming.

I haven’t yet decided whether it is to be hand quilting or machine, but I am already planning the next quilt in this series. I want to make it very big with lots of little pieces on it … mad or brave… but it’s there and has to be done.

My client J has accepted my suggestions of colours, (blogged a few weeks back) selected the design and paid her deposit, so that will also be under way very soon.

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