Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's Behind the Chicken?

Julie and I hear this all the time. The idea that "free-piecing" is a synonym for "sloppy workmanship." Folks who don't know any better say they would never do free-piecing because they think it means you sew things any which way, instead of the "right" way.

I hasten to correct all my students that free-piecing does NOT mean sloppy workmanship. Sewing quarter-inch seams, pressing the pieces neatly, trimming threads, making the flimsy lie FLAT, are all the kind of rules that SHOULD be followed. It's the design rules that can be broken.

Here's proof: This is the back of the Chicken quilt. I haven't counted, but I'm guessing I've got between 1,000 and 2,000 pieces in it. There are 35 different fabrics.

 My students always ask, "Do I press toward the dark fabric?" My answer is, "You press to minimize, and distribute the bulk evenly. And if that means you press toward the light fabric sometimes, then that's what you do."

Here's a closer view. The letters are about 4" tall

Remember, this entire quilt was made without templates, without patterns and it was NOT paper-pieced.  I take one piece of fabric and sew it to another, and keep going. (Yes, I do know where I am going, what I want it to look like and how I am going to get there.)


Hilda said...

OMG, You do beautiful work. I'm afraid my piecing whether free style or following a pattern is nowhere near that accomplished. Your longarm quilter probably loves you! Fortunately I have a longarm and don't need to subject my quilts to close scrutiny. Long ago, I did get one of my finished needlepoints framed and when I went to pick it up, they had the back facing out!

Lori R. said...

Wonderful! I also like to be careful and neat every step of the way, whether traditional or not. I have been SCORNED! Called obsessive-compulsive!! Often I see art quilts that are badly finished and it really takes away from the overall effect. I believe in workmanship, too.

Brenda said...

I get the same kind of questions about my word quilts -- usually people assume my words are paper pieced. I've never counted how many pieces are in my quilts -- I know it's a lot, because they are heavy! how did you keep track, or did you count?

Quiltdivajulie said...

Oops - that reminds me - I still owe you those photos of the back of the brown quilt!

I've seen your piecing in person through your orphans. Even the orphans are perfectly pressed and ever so neat!

Anonymous said...

The screaming, wailing, and gnashing of teeth that you hear are the quilt purists and snobs just before their heads explode. Good for you.