My children would be the first to say my grasp of popular music is non existent so I was immediately out of my depth when I found out the Modern Group of the UK’s Quilters Guild was setting a challenge to produce a quilt based on a track (or two) of contemporary music. Now when I say contemporary I don’t mean in the hear and now but over the last 30 years or so. As an aside it amuses me no end that my teenagers are listening and dancing to the same music I was nearly 40 years ago and much to their irritation I never hesitate to tell them so!! Anyway back to the challenge, it’s linked to music from Manchester which was the UK’s cotton city and is the theme of the display area the Modern Quilt Group have been given at next year’s Festival of Quilts.
I always enjoy these challenges, subject matter aside, as they are for minis so very doable and you have a lot of freedom regarding design, technique and fabric. This year’s challenge quilts were on display at the South West Quilt Show in Bristol last weekend. The theme was black and white and one other (colour). My two quilts are blogged here and here.
So my choices were to produce a 24″ square quilt interpreting either Oasis’ Cloudburst or the song Swoon by the Chemical Brothers. You choose the band name or the song title.
Well for a start although I had heard of the band Oasis everything else was a completely closed book to me. But the song Cloudburst offered lots of creative opportunities so I decided to focus on raindrops. My original plan was to make improv curved raindrops and I made a couple but they didn’t lie very flat and they didn’t inspire me.
The curves were very tight and they were quite tricky to construct.
So still wanting to do raindrops I decided on using the ‘six minute circle technique’. This is a great technique for sewing pieced curves using freezer paper. There are some great tutorials on this if you google it. Mind you 6 minutes is a very optimistic time….. I used the technique for this quilt.
And these blocks…
Having multiple layers made it a bit more tricky but I was inspired by Hillary at Entropy Always Wins one of the most innovative quilters out there who has been using multi layered shapes to great effect. In fact they didn’t take long to make and insert them using the same technique into the background fabric.
And then the quilting, oh the quilting, what a complete pain. I had doubled up the wadding so that the quilting would give it texture and to make the raindrops stand out almost like trupunto. I did tight spirals to reduce the volume of the background and give the impression of movement. But the constant thread breakages and skipped stitches….. I tried everything, changing from my favourite 70/80 top stitch needle to 90, then even down to 60. Needless to say that needle didn’t last long! I cleaned the bobbin area countless times, rethreaded over and over again, re wound bobbins etc etc. But we limped there….but my faithful friend is going in for a long overdue service…
In keeping with the stark design I decided to face the quilt and not bind it. This was a first for me or perhaps I should say it would have been a first because I completely forgot when I cut the quilt to size that I would need it to be larger than the finished size to allow for the seam. Having been very gently chided, quite correctly, for the fact that one of the quilts I’d submitted was over an inch too small against the required size I was paranoid about getting it right…. so cut precisely to 24″ and then when I came to do the facing I realised that it wouldn’t work. But there’s always next time. But to give the effect of facing I used the same fabric as the background as a binding.
But one first for me I did succeed with doing was blocking this quilt. The too small quilt irritated me because it didn’t lie flat. I wouldn’t bother blocking a bed quilt as the odd wavy edge isn’t so noticeable but with a wall hanging if it doesn’t hang true then wavy edges are very noticeable and as this raindrops quilt would/could be shown at the UK’s premiere quilt show I’m really trying hard to live up to that standard. So after doing a quick colour fast check with the background material which is a woven cotton but unbranded fabric I bravely put the quilt in the bath…..
…and then pinned it out. Did it work, I’m glad you asked, yes it did. I am very pleasantly pleased with how flat it is although I’ve noticed since the binding has gone on it is a bit more out of shape. Something else to think about finessing but this one is done and will be off shortly. Someone told me you should bind with 4 exactly sized strips rather than one continuous strip. Perhaps.
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