Friday, 29 June 2012

Boxcar Suzie

Thinking Inside the Box?

This is my current project, I call her, (yes her ) Boxcar Suzie.  I came up with the name in a fit of inspiration... or insanity if you prefer... one day while listening to a conversation going on between my fellow guild ladies about naming their quilts and patterns. 
It never really occurred to me to name my quilts but I saw the logic behind it, it's similar to having raised your own cat from kittenhood (or dog.. I have cats lol), you simply can't spend that much time nurturing something without developing some sort of attachment, of course anything we are attached to gets a name right? Right.  
I ended up with some convoluted logic in the naming of the quilt, as it is pieced together in squares I was thinking squares .. squares within squares... stacked... boxes... boxes in boxes.. boxes making roads.. tracks... boxes making tracks, railroads, unwanted and hidden fabric.. train jumpers, hobos, Boxcar Willie.. Boxcar Suzie! I still don't quite get how my mind ended up at that conclusion but it works.
I did design this quilt pattern myself, I wanted simple, yet unique and I could have done simple sashing strips for each of the lines but I wanted it to have that pieced together look and feel, the picture doesn't quite capture the seam lines other than where the different shades join but each strip is pieced, it adds a kind of illusionary quality to the overall quilt I think. I found the fabric hidden in the "donation" piles at the guild, passed over many times by other people who missed the potential all three of these patterns had together, it was the fabric which inspired the design.

Bottom Border
I wanted to show what the border pattern looked like at the bottom and top of the quilt, there are 2 strips of border there as opposed to the single strip on either side.  I was very surprised at the effect having that extra strip created, it added depth and dimension to the center squares and seemed to make the quilt complete.  I am sure that it is a matter of perception but many of my guild ladies told me not to extend a square quilt with extra border on either end because it will look unbalanced. I nearly heeded their advice, I am sure glad the rebel in me broke out, forcing me to put the extra strips on ;).  Admittedly I have to add that I am not a huge fan of square quilts, personal preference, ---> why put a square on a rectangle?! It doesn't look right! Hah! Oh the irony of it all.....

Sea Oats

Anyway, moving along... I am pretty sure I've mentioned that I am learning how to Free Motion Quilt from Leah Day's blog.
The center square is a pattern called sea oats created by Leah Day that really inspired me, it's perfect for a center square and very natural, which I love. If you would like to look at the other patterns she's created follow the link under the picture.

I am sure you noticed that there are 2 different colors of thread, that is a purposeful accident. I didn't find the articles and blogs about how much thread FMQ'ing can use up until AFTER I ran out of thread, not that it was a bad thing that I did! I found the articles and blogs about using thread colors that matched your fabric too closely after nearly making myself blind trying to quilt the light pink fabric with a light pink thread which was of course, a near perfect match.  The only pink threads I have left in my stash are glaringly gaudy, burn your irises out fucshia's, hot pinks and purple pinks. In the right place those threads will be beautiful however the pinks in this fabric are very muted and delicate definitely not the place for a vibrant color. I dug out every box, sewing kit, junk container I had in order to find something that would work. I could have bought more thread to match certainly, I really didn't want to when I have so many spools that need to be used up, not to mention I really did not want to go blind by continuing with that pink color!

I finally found a beautiful peachy orange that was muted enough, I was a little shy about using it since it was so much different from the pink, surprisingly it worked really well.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that if I was going to change thread colors mid-quilting that I should change again and add a third color so the colors are even through the quilt. 3 boxes were quilted with the pink, 3 will get quilted with the peach and I will quilt the remaining with a 3rd color.  To pull it all together and too keep it from being unbalanced, I thought I would add some of the peach thread to the center square, my stitch ripper was ready just in case I hated the result....
I really do like the effect (yay!), having that peach color made the center square pop, I can't wait to see what it will look like with the 3rd color.

Sea Oats inspired quilting design, done in peach thread
Here is a close up of the pattern I am using to quilt with, I kept with the sea oats and added my own flair and dramatics. Leaves, spirals and little flower buds all weave their way through each set of boxes. I decided to quilt each strip individually, I am still not sure why, it seemed to make sense at the time. I am positive that I've made another leap of faith, trusted my convoluted logic again and made a relatively simple project that much more difficult just because that's how I roll.

Yes.. I am positive about that.

I am hoping to be done quilting within the next few days, I am about half way done with a total time of 12 hours logged in just quilting on my machine. I tell you though there is no place I would rather be. 

Passion in Creation.

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