Thursday, August 11, 2011
Bottled Rainbows - Completely Complete
Phew! Bottled Rainbows is complete! First off, a big thank you to Rachel for designing this fun quilt and giving us all an excuse to use up some of those precious scraps we've all been hoarding. I'm so grateful for this quilt design as it has always made me happy to work on it and has been a peaceful and joyful endeavor for me, one block at a time.
For those who don't know about this quilt, it is made in a ticker tape style. Which basically means that it is comprised of raw edge applique. In particular, my quilt was done with a zig zag stitch around the perimeter of each piece. I've never made a bed sized quilt before that uses raw edge applique on this level. But I decided to dive in.
I love that I was able to use even the smallest scrap of precious fabrics and only had a few blocks where I needed to cut into my "stash" and not just pull from my scraps. Everything about this quilt was scrappy for me...the white background fabric, the batting, the fabric and even the thread. In fact, I got myself in a little bit of trouble with that...after a crazy attempt to use up the last of a lot of bobbins, I must have grabbed one that I had been avoiding. Why was I avoiding it? Well because while it looked like white thread, it was in reality WATER SOLUBLE thread. Yep. Doh! Thankfully I only did part of one block with that...which in some ways I was happy to learn actually is water soluble. I just didn't mean to learn it after I had finished my quilt and was giving it a trial test wash.
But a little more zig zag stitching had those pieces back on the quilt and looking fine! In retrospect, I think that I should have used a larger zig zag stitch (wider) for this method because I had certain fabrics that apparently were more prone to fraying which came loose in spots after one wash....I knew I hadn't used the water soluble thread there because the whole line of stitching was still there. So those took a little more work too. I think it was good to do the trial wash and check how the fabrics were doing. From now on I think that it should definitely have a gentle or hand wash. My current sewing machine does who knows what in the "gentle" cycle, so I would opt to hand wash.
This quilt was also done with a quilt as you go method...meaning that I quilted the fabric to the batting for each individual block as it was made. I enjoyed that and would definitely do that method again, but I did learn a bit. The biggest concern that I've heard people express when looking at this method is what do the seams look like when you put two blocks together. Is it too bumpy? Will it really work? Well...I don't think it was TOO bumpy. A little bit for sure. And yes, it really does work. Very well in fact. But here's the one caveat. Having sewn together the seams and pressed them open for a flatter look, I was left with a 1/2" of colored fabric at each seam from the back of the batting. Does that make sense? Normally all of your fabric is on one side of the batting...but with this method you get just a bit on the back side as well due to the seams. This may or may not be an issue depending on all the fabrics involved. But I was a little dismayed to discover that despite the fact that I chose a medium colored aqua fabric for the backing, you could still easily see these fabrics through the backing. In the end, all turned out well because of how I quilted the whole quilt (a 1/4" on either side of every seam) and it drew attention away from the fact that you could see the fabrics from the front through to the back.
I did add a border to the quilt as Rachel suggested to make it just large enough for a bed. Some of you may notice that my border looks a bit familiar. ;) I told you this whole thing was scrappy! I ended up piecing together a whole bunch of left over pieces from my current zig zag quilt (remember I have extra extra because I cut up a whole slew of fabrics the wrong way!). I took a leap out of my comfort zone and chose to do the border a la Seurat and his famous pointillism painting . He used contrasting colors just around the very edge of the painting to draw out the main color of the painting. (Oh yeah...pulling out the art history from high school!)
There's no doubt that it would have been safer to use a solid border, no border or even a scrappy border that imitates the color of the block that it is near. But I need to push myself! And with that I can learn. I have a love/not love relationship with the border...but in the end I'm really proud that I chose to do it that way and it was pretty tricky with all of those angled pieces and mitered corners. (Seriously, why do I always make a project more difficult?!) I have moments that I adore and others that I'm not as cray about. But that's what taking a risk often means.
I gave this to one of my nieces the other day because as soon as I got back to South Bend and spent more time with her, I realized that she was the one that this quilt belonged to. She is joyful, happy, and full of life. Very much like this quilt. She loves everything about it that I could possibly ask for...noticing all the details and immediately declared that her room needed to be redecorated to match and that her mother should buy her a matching outfit. lol. Now what's not to love in that reaction?