Thursday, October 8, 2015

Valerie Has Questions... I Have Answers

The internet can be a wonderful place. I met three of my best friends over the internet, from all over the country and the world.  It's also where I meet quilters I have inspired. This is the most wondrous.

One of them is Valerie from Purple Boots and Pigtails. She wrote me a letter about a year ago saying I had reawakened her love of quilting. You can read it here. Someday I gotta meet this girl.  Valerie is the quilter I made the Kona solid word JUNGLE for.


On yesterday's post, Valerie asked a few questions and they made me think. Although I showed you how I designed the quilt, I didn't show you how I made it.  So here are Valerie's questions.

 "...are you planning to have a straight edge for binding or leave all those delicious diamonds as they are?"
 I'm planning on having a straight edge. I plan to cut it outside the vertical rows of small diamonds.

"Which leads me to ... if you square it off, will you cut it before or after Chris works her magic?"
I'll cut it off after Chris quilts it. I find that it helps to not make a decision to trim a quilt before it's quilted. Chris often makes magic happen where I didn't see it earlier, so I don't rush. I can always trim a quilt down, I can't add.

"This top will be super stretchy with all those bias cuts, so I wonder if trimming after might be helpful?"
Absolutely. In fact Valerie's most recent post talked about a quilt with mitered corners that got stretched out.  My quilt is made with a few hundred diamonds and each piece has two bias edges. I don't want it to stretch, so I haven't showed it off to anybody because I don't want to stretch those edges. Right now the quilt is folded up so it can't stretch. I won't be holding it up until it's quilted.

"I like the back, it reinforces that my eye is drawn first to all the littlest diamonds that act like stripes. Those are the colours in your backing fabric."
It's funny, but that's what good design does. It makes you see connections. The colors of my tiny diamonds are actually all colors - yellow, orange, red, hot pink, purple, blue, green and teal.

"Glad you steered away from the predictable creams, yellows and golds...much too matchy matchy."
 Me too. As I've said before, the quilt usually tells you what it wants, and if you're smart, you'll listen. This quilt did not want yellow or anything tiny.

 "Lastly, did you have a 60° diamond ruler or did you cut with a straight ruler?"

 I used this ruler, which is the one you used to make your Gravity quilt. I used blue tape to outline the 4" diamonds and the 2" diamonds. I ordered a 4" diamond template from another company online, and it never arrived until after the quilt was finished, so I cut all my pieces - one by one - with this template. It was a royal pain in the patootie. For the small four patch diamonds, I sewed together a pair of 2-1/2" strips and then used the template to cut pairs which I then sewed together.

I only had a yard of this fabric, and couldn't get as many perfect diamonds as I needed, so for a couple of them, I pieced them together, matching the pattern.

You all watched as I designed the quilt on the wall, putting something up, stepping back (with my glasses OFF so the fine details wouldn't distract me, but so I could still see the masses of color. I tried to avoid "blobs" of  dark areas and "holes" of too many light ones. I tried to distribute the colors and not make things too repetitious. I inverted some of the fussy cut blocks so they all wouldn't point in the same direction.

I literally cut one piece, put it up on the wall, stepped back, decided if it was OK or not, and then cut another. When the fabrics I had pulled looked too dark, I went through my stash to find something better. Piece by piece the quilt grew. I didn't get too bogged down with details, and tried to keep it fresh and vibrant. It didn't need to be perfect, and yet I think it is.

I am really, really happy with it, and am looking forward to making my next quilt, and hope I can keep it as loosey-goosey as this one.

And Pat, I find if I know I'm making a quilt to give away, I don't get attached to it.

Valerie, thanks for the questions. I enjoyed answering them. Anybody else?


Nancy J said...

This is the most amazing and superbly stunning quilt,would you make another? Lovely to read your answers. and one more query? How large is your design wall, is it portable, fixed? did you make it yourself? This is next on my list, of must haves!!!

Jackie said...

You must have a fantastic fabric stash, I'm wondering when you purchase fabric is it for a specific project or just because and if not for a project how much do you purchase randomly.

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

I appreciate your sharing this Q&A post.

Quiltdivajulie said...

While Lynne may tell you that she does not have a particularly huge stash, I can tell you from seeing it in person that the impact of her stash IS huge . . . because of her own skill sets and artistic abilities, her fabric choices are excellent (textures, scale, values, elements, etc.). It is THE MOST FUN to watch her shop for fabric . . .

Millie said...

oh geez, Julie, wait until you see the post I am writing about my stash now... just a few more days...

Valerie Levy said...

Thank you do much for all these fabulous answers! It's interesting to know all about how the gears and spockets turn to get to the finish line....each of us has such a unique perspective propelling us toward a similar goal. It's fun to get behind the scenes sometimes, afterall, your sewing room is too far for a Saturday afternoon pop in! One of these days...