Thursday, September 24, 2015

'Set Free!'




One of the joys of sewing without a set pattern to follow is being open to surprise changes along the way. From the beginning I planned separate my rows of Flying Geese blocks with long strips of the white dots on navy fabric as shown directly above. After all, this would enable all seams to be pressed away from the white, plus there would be no need to aim for perfection of lining up block corners. I also really liked this print, from the same Moody Blues fabric collection - and I had enough of it on hand as I had originally thought of making myself a skirt with it. In fact, I was so sure about this idea that I confidently went ahead and cut six very long two inch wide strips of this fabric.

I carefully laid my rows of geese blocks on our bed (my design space), ready work on arrangement and to place the dotted navy strips between them. I stepped back and stood somewhat mesmerised. Those geese just wanted to mingle and chat together and fly free. There was something very fluid and happy about them, just as they were!

After a few minutes I tried spacing the rows with the dark strips as planned and although there was a sense of beauty and order in this, something even greater had been lost, as if the birds and butterflies were now trapped between two unyielding railway tracks.

I asked others in our family for their opinions - we were all of the same mind. I just had to set those geese/birds/butterflies free! They wanted to sing and fly and talk together, making a beautiful freedom song. So that is what I did. I put the long dark fabric binds away and set them free!






The quilting is another area where change of plans is occurring too. My husband really liked the quilt top prior to final pressing, when the long rows were billowy and distinct. Attempting to capture this I have machine quilted in the ditch along the joins of these long rows. 

I assured my husband more quilting was necessary to adequately secure the quilt, especially as the the batting is 100% organic cotton with no scrim. My original desire to hand quilt would have a place, but I'm using fine traditional waxed quilting thread to keep the impact minimal. I have also reduced the number of planned hand quilted lines to help keep those birds and butterflies free! I am about half way through quilting a single line up the centre of each 8" wide geese block and have also made a start on hand quilting in the ditch horizontal lines between each block.



There is now a wonderful balance of structure and freedom, something I think we need in life too. It seems appropriate to name this quilt 'Set Free!'


Fabric Notes: All the printed fabrics shown above are from Geninne's Moody Blues collection for Cloud 9 Fabrics (some of which are available from Spotlight in Australia and NZ etc). The white is chambray weight cross weave called Limestone from Cloud 9's Cirrus collection of yarn-dyed solids. All these fabrics are GOTS certified organic cotton.

22 comments:

Kim said...

So glad you set those flying geese free, Karen. Your quilt has spread it's wings in the most glorious way. It is gorgeous!

Susan said...

I think you made the right choice. And adding some hand quilting is a lovely touch. I often ask my family for their opinions too, non quilters can sometimes be surprisingly insightful with their design ideas.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

You are so right Susan, some more than others. Our 13 year old has a real eye for design and colour - nearly always spot on. Always affirming when my husband agrees too.

Allison said...

This quilt really does have a sense of freedom, the fabrics and colouring are fresh and beautiful in their simplicity.

diane b said...

Although the technical side of quilting leaves me totally confused, I can see the beauty in what you do. Set Free is a very appropriate name.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Amazing transformation. I love the freedom.

Happy creating ~ FlowerLady

DeborahGun said...

I love the story of this quilt! I often ask my family their opinion too - it makes it all more fun!

the momma said...

You definitely made the right call ~ this is beautiful!! My projects often take on minds of their own - almost always causing me to do more work ;-) I wonder what those long 2" strips will become.....
I'm curious, for the horizontal in-the-ditch quilting, why hand stitch rather than machine?

Preeti said...

Set Free is definitely how these butterflies and birds look in this quilt setting! My son has a natural talent for art and color and I almost always brainstorm ideas with him about my crafty projects. Although, I have to remind him to look past the florals and the girly prints and just focus on the color/value ;)

Maryse said...

It was a smart move to set the birds and butterflies free ... I too, prefer the flying geese units without the sashing. It's going to be a beautiful quilt!!

Fun60 said...

Good choice Karen to allow your geese the freedom to go where they please.

Lynette said...

I love this quilt story, Karen. :) Each one of the designs looks terrific, but, yes - the features of the fabric make a fuller story that chooses the adaptation you chose. I always love your projects.

Anita Johnson said...

I marvel at your creativity!

geanina said...

Really beautiful work! :)

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Good choice and a nice analysis of why it works better without the strips. Geese like to fly freely even if in formation.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Good question Tracy. Mostly I chose to hand quilt the horizontal rows as it gives a more subtle effect, both on the front and back. Also I’m quite enjoying the gentle pace of the hand quilting. With hand quilting it's easier to straddle the thick joins and not-so-perfect corners in places. I feel like I’m adding more love to this quilt this way too.

Lisa Gordon said...

You are truly amazing, Karen.
This is gorgeous!

hydeeannsews said...

those free birds are really lovely! and your open, free approach to letting your quilt evolve is wonderful, too. what amazing points you got! very impressive, karen.

Jeanne said...

Love how this turned out! just gorgeous!

Rachaeldaisy said...

What a wonderful quilt! I love the cool crispness of the blues and white and it's so good that you let the geese be free,

Liz said...

What a gorgeous quilt, Karen! I have to agree with the idea of allowing them to fly freely!

Rod said...

I marvel at your work and wish I could have one of your wonderful quilts. What a talented and blessed family you are!

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