Friday, March 12, 2021

Zing Quilt

Zing, 41" X 46"

Can I just say that designing this quilt was w-a-y outside my comfort zone? It was, by far, the most challenging design project I've ever made. And that's saying a lot because I started hand-piecing my first quilt in 1976!

I certainly respect Maria Shell for her design sense and ability to create a beautiful creation. If you aren't familiar with her style, check out her blog: TalesofaStitcher. She's also a great instructor.

She asked each student to choose four favorite things, and use them as inspiration to create four interpretive designs to express them. This design method is very much outside my comfort zone. I spent countless hours stewing over fabrics - 30 different colored solids of mostly Painter's Palette solids;  units to piece (Maria calls them "bits"); and a few sketches (I don't sketch as much as she does); only to piece, arrange parts... and decide they weren't right. For me, creating a design means heaps of trial and error, with the error part in the form of un-sewing, and re-sewing. That definitely happened frequently! I cut into a large quantity of solid fabrics and have the scraps to show for it. 

All this began in a Zoom virtual workshop on Thursday evening, January 28, and subsequently occured on the following Sunday, Thursday, and Sunday, for a total of four three-hour workshops. 

In previous posts I've written about my process, and the angst I experience through it, so I won't repeat myself. 

After the top was finished, I pieced a backing from as many discarded chucks of pieced fabrics as possible. I'm frugal like that. 

Then, I pieced together the last two bits of Quilter's Dream Puff I own (I have since restocked with two king-sized batts from the local Sew Together shop that's now stocking Quilter's Dream batts) to make the quilt sandwich. I really like the loft of Puff, which is a 100 percent polyester batting. Puff makes quilting stand out.

Zing has lots of quilting! I had the crazy idea to custom quilt it. 

Using 50-weight Aurifil thread colors to coordinate with fabric colors (lots of thread color changes), it's walking foot quilted with my Bernina 770QE set at 3.20 stitch length, and free motion quilted. 

Quilting, from the back.

I used my favorite facing tutorial on WeAllSew to machine-sew a faced edge. 

Then I hand-stitched it into place. I really like the corner treatment with this facing method.

For me, a quilt isn't completely finished until it's been photographed from a branch of the Bismarck palm in our front yard. Hubs recently cut off the lower branches though (as a palm grows, lower limbs die and must be removed), so am now using a step ladder to get to the branch to hang the quilt!

Each quadrant represents an inspiration. Upper left: Iowa wind farm; upper right: my ukulele; lower left: our Bismarck palm; and lower right: a favorite song, "I'll Fly Away."

I'm really glad I had the opportunity to take this "Asymmetrical Symmetry" workshop because I learned a great deal about myself and my design process. For me, designing according to inspiration is difficult because I tend to be too literal. Also, I don't have the patience for sketching, and more sketching. I need to see components - their shapes and colors - alongside other components to determine if they look good, or not. I feel comfortable trusting my instincts and decisions about design, but it takes a lot of self-speak to work through it:
Let me try this.

Ugh, that doesn't look good.

But, maybe this will.

✂ Unsew - Cut - Resew 

Now how does that look?

Hmm. Maybe better. But what if I move this bit over here, and that bit over there?

That looks a little better, but those colors don't look good beside each other.

✂ Unsew - Cut - Resew

...and so on. You get the picture. Lots of starts and stutter-stops that make designing a long, and sometimes tiring process. But, because I like patterned improv so much, I know another such quilt is in my future.



Teresa said...

I do love this quilt and admire your persistence in getting it just right. I have a quilt I want to try that binding method on. I have been puzzled on how to bind it and this seems perfect. I have yoyo's all around the outer border and felt a regular binding just would not look right. Now I have to get it quilted so I can try out the binding :)

Grammy said...

The Zing quilt has a southwestern look. I like that!

Deb said...

It is gorgeous. I wish you could bottle some of your talent and patience (it is family joke that I am very impatient) and send it to me. Congratulations on such wonderful work.

Quilting Babcia said...

Your palm tree has found its perfect quilt! All the triangles and the colors are perfectly blended with the palm fronds. I think your backing is a quilt in itself and I'm calling it Up the Down Staircase in my own mind. I quite love how your quilting is featured so wonderfully on the back. Great use for some of the scrappy leftovers from the front.

Chris K. said...

I love this quilt. I have some solid flannel scraps I've been saving; maybe this is what they want to be.

piecefulwendy said...

Yes! All finished, and it looks great! So glad you stuck with it. This quilt will hold fond memories for you, I think!

Diane said...

Happy for you it is finished. I like the back!

Mary said...

Good for you! I think the back still looks great, too 🙂

The Joyful Quilter said...

What a riot of color, Linda! SEW interesting to know that there's actually four sources of inspiration represented in you quilt. Your combination of walking foot and free motion quilting turned out great. Especially with the use of the Puff to make the stitching really POP!!

Nancy said...

Yes! Hung on the Bismark means done. It's a wonderful quilt and contains stories upon stories for you, so lots of meaning in it. The back looks great, too. The struggles paid off beautifully!

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Such a meaningful finish in so many ways. All the personal connections in each quadrant. The willingness to challenge yourself with design and color. The opportunity to let your quilting skills shine in all the custom quilting. And of course the photo with the Bismarck Palm. Well done Linda.

Heidi said...

This is beautiful!!

Sterntaler said...

Oh my gosh, that process is so me....thanks for putting it in words! Your quilt turned out beautifully.

Allison said...

I really like your quilt. The inspiration behind it doesn't affect my like/don't button! To me it's kinda like looking at modern art - I don't know what it's supposed to be or represent (my first question about most things is, 'what's it for?) The sort of design process you went through would drive me mad but I'm glad you persevered because the resulting quilt is wonderful!

FlourishingPalms said...

Thanks for saying so, Heidi! I would reply to you in person, but you have set your Google profile to "no-reply commenter."

FlourishingPalms said...

I'm smiling. Makes me glad to know I'm not alone in the designing and creating process. Thank you for your compliment! (I'd reply to you directly, but your Google profile is set to "no-reply commenter.")

Cindy said...

LOVE your quilt!!!! As a huge fan of Maria Shell and her style, you nailed it!!!! Very impressed with your go at improv!!! And I am quite intrigued by your facing method...hope you'll show us more. Again, beautiful quilt!!!!

FlourishingPalms said...

Hello Cindy! I really appreciate your enthusiastic comment about Zing. I would reply to you in person, but your Google profile is set to "no-reply commenter." (If you need help in changing your settings, please let me know!) Seems that Maria has quite a fan club. :-) I'm glad you think I "nailed it." It was definitely "work" for me, and now that it's finished, I'm feeling more love toward it. Please know that the facing method isn't my own. I found it on the Bernina site. It was created by Hayley Grzych.

Debbie said...

I really think your finish is lovely, and that every quadrant is 'inspired' really makes it personal and special.

OPQuilt said...

I loved reading this post, as you talked a lot about your process, and how you tackled your design issues; lovely to read the inspirations behind your quadrants, as then it all fell into place! Another Maria quilt that's been Linda-fied! Bravo for you.


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