Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quilting Like a Sailor

I've got a new project. 

When I was a kid, I had a book of Western art history. I used to pour over the pages looking at the various painting from the 15th century to modern art, and it fascinated me. My mother asked me my favorite piece, and I always said it was Broadway Boogie Woogie by Piet Mondrian, pictured below.

I'm very sure I wouldn't claim it as my favorite painting now (not that I could name a favorite right this second), but it's always held a special place in my heart. 
It is however, made of squares! And what's better for quilting? So I decided I wanted to recreate it in quilt form.

The debate in my mind then becomes, should I try and recreate this exactly with fabric instead of paint, or use the template of the painting and use quilting methods to make it art in a quilt form?

When it's phrased like that, it should be obvious that I am aiming for the latter. HOWEVER, this  project so far has been an exercise in frustration! The first quilt was easy! Someone else figured out the yardage, the pattern, how to cut, how much to do, but in this project I'm on my own, which has lead to a lot of swearing on my part. I'm building a template matching the original proportions in illustrator, and using that and a grid to figure out how to put it together but it's been frustration and long process.

I had originally thought to make the squares into 9-patches of solid color, unlike the one below. I figured that would add to the quilt like quality.

The scale of the project makes that difficult. The nine patch above would have a finished size of 3x3. The squares in my quilt would be 1x1, and I just can't wrap my mind around that. It's sort of hard to see, but the squares on the nine-patch are made up of three strips sewn together. It's my compromise between a pure copy and a quilted touch.

Sewing together all the strips (at 1.5 inch width when all three pieces are sew together), and making the illustrator guide have been really time consuming.

Each of the strips took a day.

I've also been focusing a lot more on matching the seams, as it's a really geometric design, and the iron has seen a lot more use.

Here is two more days of work, mostly due to my own miscalculations, and a computer crash. I've sworn more in genuine frustration doing this project than any other time in my life!  The rest of the row I'm working on should go pretty quickly, as there are larger white spaces, and I pre-cut 1 inch finished size squares.

A lot of quilters name their quilts, so the tentative title for this one is BBW, which unfortunately is also an acronym women sometimes put in dating ads meaning Big Beautiful Woman. I'll keep thinking about it.

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