Wowee Zowee! I love this new Adding Layers book by Kathy Doughty. I get pretty excited about books in general - books are happiness - but this one was the first in a long time that sent me running immediately to my sewing machine. MUST. QUILT.
I want to sew every single quilt in the book, but of course, "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start..."
But why oh why, in what brutal universe, did I decide to do THAT? "Vintage Spin" - numero uno - is a marathon. And I don't run marathons. I sew. Seated in a chair.
I sew the first block (panting) and THEN read that I've only got 29 more to go. Say whaaaaa?
Now, it's not really that bad. It will be worth it. (Mantra. Repeat.) But it does remind me that I like sewing garments because each step is different. This quilt is a serious head trip - it's taking all of my energy and resolve to stay focused and not run like an ostrich in the direction of a shiny object. So far, I've got 12 blocks in the bank.
But seriously, this quilt is stretching my brain in good ways. I didn't pick all of the fabrics ahead of time - the color scheme started with a tiny bundle of similar fabrics that I liked, but I still had to come up with 22 additional fabrics.
Just like the fabric selection for each block, the decision to use the Essex Linen Denim and Essex Linen Indigo evolved. At first I wanted to incorporate several different colors of Essex Linen, but as I worked, I decided to establish a "neutral ground" using just the two colors. The difference between Denim and Indigo is almost imperceptible, yet using one color or another completely transforms the paired printed fabric - bringing out colors tones, subduing others. A chosen print fabric can look completely different against Denim versus Indigo. Almost immediately one or the other will have more resonance when laid against the print.
I suppose designing a quilt by process echoes the way I live my life. (Or is it just my ADD?) I'm a highly driven individual and motivated by accomplishment, but I'm not a planner. The path of my life curves like a river on a map, defying gridlines and scale. During business school orientation in 2006 how could I ever have imagined that I would get my MBA, randomly teach myself how to sew, and then open a fabric shop? Never in a bazillion years.
(Back to the point, ADD girl...) Adding Layers is definitely geared towards the experienced quilter - at times I have found myself searching for more information about a particular technique. The assembly of the Vintage Spin block is like a Dresden Plate. Having never attempted this particular circular assembly, I couldn't get my circle to lay flat after constructing the first block. (Callie runs to Google.) I didn't find much good advice on the Interweb, but I did discover that being extra precise with my seam allowances made everything better on the second try. Michael - the human quilt-knowledge sponge - said that "someone somewhere" recommended waiting to press all your seams until the end, once the entire block is assembled. This makes perfect sense. In retrospect, I did press each seam as it was sewn on my first block. Only out of sheer laziness on the blocks that followed did I wait to press the circular assembly seams until the block was finished. I still press the seam when completing the first step: assembling each wedge pair of print fabric and Essex fabric.
(Whew. Writing about the patchwork process is like trying to describe how to dance the tango.)
So, here we are. Block 11. Not even halfway through the marathon, but the quilt has started to take on a life of its own. It's evolving. The fabrics I'm picking now, I would have never picked at the beginning. (Kind of like picking a husband - but that's a WHOLE other blog post, ladies and gents.)
"Quilters never quit, and quitters never quilt."