Monday, June 30, 2008

Tempted to Machine Quilt

June Jamboree at Starry Night Hollow was not only fun, it was an inspiring place to be for anyone who loves fabric. I love fabric.


I love how the seasons change light and colors, reveal shades undetected. And with nature's changes my preferences change... sometimes in ways that surprise me. I have favorite colors, but looking through my fabric stash, I doubt you could guess which are my favorites. Most colors are well represented in my collection of fabrics, but citrus tones are the colors I have the fewest of.


I thought orange was a favorite color of someone I want to make a quilt for, but it turns out to be a little too much like pink, or something like that. Orange definitely qualifies as a color I don't gravitate toward, but I am loving the Fresh Squeezed collection from Moda Fabrics. It's sweet and tart, it's sharp and refreshing... it's an idyllic summer.


So with some complementary fabrics from my stash and a charm pack from Starry Night Hollow, I got busy designing and piecing. And I wasn't the only one enjoying the new color scheme... Alex, Geoff, William, Max and Maria offered layout suggestions and expressed appreciation for the Fresh Squeezed theme. It's extra fun to work on something that everyone likes.


I bought extra yardage to sash the charm pack squares, and more for the backing. It has to be finished before the end of summer. It's definitely a take me on a picnic kind of quilt.


Under blue skies, near shady trees. The colors of the quilt are so invigorating, so reflective of summer... maybe it could brighten a dark winter day, when one is beginning to think wistfully of lemonade and garden beds.


So, how soon before we can take it for a test run? How many days or months will it take me to hand-quilt this quilt and the special quilt I am trying to finish for Ruth? The truth is, my fingers and shoulders will give out before I can finish either quilt, especially if I push myself to finish both before the end of summer. Hand quilting is so slow, so hard. I am emotionally attached to the traditional ways, to the look of those dear stitches and even to the meditative leisure of sitting with a quilt on my lap, a needle between my thumb and fingers.

But I already have new quilt designs I am aching to try, and I really would like to make use of my fabulous fabric collection, so I have this irresistible urge to try machine quilting. Machine quilting has it's own challenges and limitations, and I'm not sure my machine is even up to the task.


I need to learn more about my machine, and more about machine quilting. I am hoping I can learn to do something pleasing enough to be worthwhile. Certainly it will be faster than pulling a thread and needle by hand, but I don't want to compromise the hard work and integrity of the quilt top just to finish faster.

I am simultaneously worked up about this issue and pleased... in truth, it is a blessing to have these kind of minor dilemmas to ponder.

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Thanks to Sara for the fun link. I cannot account for my results.

8 comments:

  1. VERY pretty quilt top.

    (I like orange. But that's a silly thing to say, because I really like all colors!)

    and it will be beautiful no matter how it's quilted.

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  2. No wonder everybody likes it -- it's wonderful! Everyone likes to be cheery and feel all summery and good, at least in my book. I've never taken the machine quilting plunge, though like you I feel it's the only way I'll ever get some (any?) of my projects completed. I can't seem to make myself read printed instructions on how to do it, but maybe you are more patient and reasonable than I. Can't wait to hear about how it goes (and I bet you'll turn it into a breeze)--

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  3. Oh - I love that quilt - the colors are wonderful together! Great job - I'd say machine quilt it, so you can get working on the other things you want to do this summer!

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  4. Natalie,

    I love your quilt!!! I love how you brought out the blues in it. Fresh squeezed is defenitley something that will remind you of spring when it's cold out. You take the best pictures! I'm sure you'll be able to master machine quilting them in no time!

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  5. oh my! that is stunning! you are an artist... it is breath taking.

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  6. What a beautiful quilt and a beautiful sky as well!!
    Maryxo

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  7. I love your citrus-y quilt - so summery and beautiful.
    There must be something in the air here in San Diego, as Lily and I are quilting like mad as well!
    And isn't the weather perfect? I had to laugh yesterday evening when we were listening to the forecast on the radio: "Tomorrow's weather? Same as today's."

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  8. I just love your quilt top, orange isn't a colour I think of using, but your colours are so fresh.

    Neat Blog,

    Gill

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