It’s done! I’m so excited! Clark and Paul both asked me why I was so especially excited about this one, what makes it different from other quilts. Good question. I guess the main thing is that it’s hand quilted and the others I’ve done have been machine quilted. Once I got into the groove (a full year later) I really enjoyed the process of the quilting and I love how it looks. It is definitely a different look than machine quilting-stitches are larger and farther apart (though I don’t think they are too big)- and I like knowing I did every one. Also, I like the design I chose to quilt and the diamond panes that form the border. It also puffs up nicely. Around the center dresden plate are radiating lines, as well as an outline of the plate. The color blocks are tied with coordinating thread to keep them secure. (Apparently I cut a lot of the strings too close because I noticed several threads then came right off the back.)
This quilt started all because I wanted to make crazy scrap blocks with weird angles and pieces. In fall 2013 I delved into my fabrics and pulled out all the scraps of red and just began crazily sewing them together and rotary cutting straight edges.
It was a happy afternoon and quickly conceived of the idea of somehow putting them in a quilt and making red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple blocks.
After admiring my blocks and the scrappiness of them I decided they would be put into a field of white. Oh, and I named it “Scrappy Prism” because not only was it going to be rainbow in nature and made of scraps, but also the little angular pieces made me think of light fracturing through a prism when it shines a rainbow. In general I think a lot of modern quilts have too much white in them and am not crazy about that, but in this case it really seemed like white was was I needed as a background for my blocks. And then I decided on the center-the big Dresden plate and it really all came together. I’ve never made a Dresden plate before, but I really like them, and found it satisfying and easy to make. Plus, I adore seeing things arranged in a rainbow order and I loved piecing together the 24 wedges (3 pieces for each color, blending into each of the next colors.)
The Dresden plate is the only part that had colors purchased to add to it. The blocks were entirely scrap fabrics, which makes them very special to me. And yes, some of these scraps have turned up over and over again (and I have a new scrap quilt in the works with some of these same bits!). For me, as I think I said here once before, a scrap quilt is a memory quilt. I love to look at these blocks and pick out familiar things, such as a snowflake from the dress I made Tabby when she was a toddler, or a bit from the robot quilt I made Clark, or pieces from baby quilts, aprons, and other fabrics I fondly recall.
I went shopping for the beautiful white and chose a grey blue for the back, a cloudy sky color, if you will, with the front being the light and rainbow after a rain. Here I am I in January 2014 finishing appliqueing the Dresen plate and thus completing the quilt top.
Then I began the quilting. I did the lines in the center and then promptly felt I had bitten off more than I could chew and put it away for a year. Then you know the rest of the story-I pulled it out, buckled down, drew on those diamonds, found a quilting rhythm I was comfortable with, embraced my stitches, and got down to it. I found it a very enjoyable process, though I did feel like I a)ignored a lot of other things on the days I quilted and b)watched more daytime tv than I ever normally would. Here I am quilting away at the Spring Fling Stitch-a-Thon, photo credit Liz/Eleanor:
I knew the binding was going to be black with a white pindot practically from the get-go, and indeed it was the right choice. Sharp and graphic, nicely framing (but pretty narrow) the white fields.
I finished it late last night, woke up and had Clark take a photo for Instagram for me,
and then bit the bullet and put it in the washing machine. Of course I worried about it falling apart or other terrible things happening, but it definitely needed a good wash before I could do many photos. After a year being folded on the couch (i.e., cat bed), the past several days spread out repeatedly on the floor, and so on, it had accumulated lots of cat hairs, human hairs, random dust, not to mention a few spots where I hadn’t dabbed away my marking pen. Also, I believe it’s going to puff up beautifully. It’s in the dryer right right now with my dryer hedgehogs and hopefully fluffing up nice and bright and clean. (fingers crossed!)
*I can now report that it had a very successful wash and tumble dry and the quilting did puff very nicely.
The back of this quilt is the plainest one I’ve ever done, with no interesting details or appliques on it, instead it’s just a solid fabric with the quilting making its own pattern on it. I opted to also just stitch my initials and the year very simply in the lower corner.