Friday, April 1, 2016

My Cheshire Quilt

A few months ago, in an attempt to reduce the Stash and use up terribly out-dated fabric, I pulled together a selection of purples with a larger piece of contrasting aqua.  As I was not overly concerned with size, anything from wallhanging to queen-size was fair game, I waited for the fabric speak to me, tell me what era or style to go with.  Eventually an idea took shape to do a Gee's Bend inspired quilt by combining wonky squares and stripes until I simply ran out of fabric.  To that end, I pieced together this...

I cut 12" squares of the purple, skewed the edges and bordered each one with the light background.  They were then skewed and sewn together.  At this point I had run out of the light background which was fine because I intended to continue with some sort of border treatment.  Overall it was okay, but because I had used a rotary cutter, it lacked the true Gee's Bend look; not nearly "homemade" enough.  The project stalled and was put away.

Inspiration struck one night at 3am.  My eyelids popped open as my mind traveled down a completely new path.  The following morning I pulled a few more fabrics from the Stash and was on my way!

After rewatching "Alice in Wonderland" to make sure I had the right look, I spent the day creating a Cheshire Quilt.  My new design was more free-form than traditional piecework.  The aqua fabric represents the tree trunk and branch on which sits the disappearing Cheshire Cat.  I shaped the edges of the tree with a scissors to give it a more organic feel while the opposing brown border was trimmed with a rotary cutter.

Next, I quilted large free-motion spirals over the center of the quilt, and long curving lines on the aqua tree to indicate bark.  The quilt measures roughly 60" square (I'm calling it a topper) and wasn't too much to shove under my Singer.  I am proud to say that the spirals are made up of literally one continuous line, with a stop and starting point, which never crosses over itself.  I love free-motion!

After the quilting was finished, I appliqued down the other design elements.  The arrows are a lime green Moda fusion fabric, cut out by hand and top-stitched down. I didn't fuss with fusible or Heat 'n Bond either.  The edges of each applique are simply turned under a quarter inch.  I didn't feel the need to get too fancy with hand-stitching. 

The smile and tail were then added.   Also, I opted to skip traditional binding on the edges of the quilt.  Both the top and bottom layer are turned under a quarter inch in sewed together. 

A close-up of the tail gives you an idea of how old some of these fabrics are.  Many were from my mother's Stash which she is slowly unloading on me, one 1980s calico at a time.  She has a habit of pinning the sales receipt to each yard of fabric (after she washes and irons it) to keep record of when, where and how much she paid for it.  This way she gets a little extra high at the end of a project when she can, with confidence, tell you that this twin bed quilt cost exactly $35.47.  So today I can, with confidence, tell you that all the fabrics in this quilt were purchased between 1992 and 2001.  I did not, however, calculate the cost as I still have some of this purple left over.  What am I supposed to do with it now?!

I feel strongly that when inspiration strikes, you should run with it, even if it takes you in a questionable direction.  I wouldn't say that "Alice in Wonderland" is really a favorite movie of ours, but something about these purple fabrics just said "Cheshire" to me.  I pieced together fabric where I needed to, used what I had on hand and just had fun with it.  This topper isn't meant to be heirloom quality sewing.  I didn't fuss over corners or points or perfect quilting. Sometimes you need to break the rules, flex your imagination and save the fussing for those Christening dresses.

1 comment:

  1. Good job it is beautiful just absolutely beautiful


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