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 a chambray weight cross weave called Limestone from Cloud 9's Cirrus collection of yarn-dyed solids. All these fabrics are GOTS certified organic cotton.