Well, it's done now, so I thought I'd sit down and explain how it came to be. This quilt was largely the result of my fascination with Andover's Textured Solids. I'm contemplating making a queen-sized quilt entirely out of the textured solids, but I wanted to sew with and quilt and wash the fabric before making that commitment.
I was lucky enough to receive a charm pack of the textured solids while at Quilt Market in Portland. The same day my friend Lynn waited in line and received a copy of Cherri House's new book Urban Views (I haven't read this book closely enough to review it properly, but I love what I've seen so far.)
I was really taken with the quilt "City Rain" and decided to something vaguely similar with my rainbow of textured solid charms.
Of course, once it was up on my design wall, I had to make life difficult for myself by deciding not to use a single color for the background and border, but a mix of neutrals. And, additionally, to not just have rainbow stripes, but to sash them. And not just sash them in a single color, but in the same mix of neutrals that surrounds them, so that it looks like the background is reaching into the main block from the various corners.
The sashings are of unequal width, which is why the rainbow bits look wabi sabi. I also made the borders of unequal widths. These were intentional choices, but I'm not sure they look intentional enough, i.e., I think I would have just pieced it all precisely and symmetrically if I had it to do over again. Oh well.
Since free motion quilting is my "growth area" and this quilt was all about experimentation and growth, I issued myself a design challenge to quilt each part of the background with a different design. I don't usually like any sort of swirly or rounded quilting, so I needed a bunch of geometric designs.
I started at the center with my current favorite: the squared stipple. It took a really long time to quilt so densely, so I decided that I would do the rest of the quilt (the border area) with BIGGER designs. This upper-left section is done with a larger squared stipple (bold choice, I know, but I figured it would get me moving the needle in bigger designs.)
The next section is done in chevrons. This is the same quilting design I used in the white version of The Arne Quilt. I learned it from Leah Day's website, it's a beginner design called Basic Chevron.
Next, there is a large section of a loosened up Square Shell design. I found this one and watched Leah Day's video on it at the retreat. It was in the "advanced" section of her website, but I found it easy enough (perhaps because of it's similarity to a squared stipple, especially when blown up as I did it).
My brain really gets a workout when doing a new quilting design, so I opted to end with things I already knew how to do. These two sections are a random zig zag and a horizontal stripe, both done with a free motion foot.
The last section (no photo) was done with a diagonal stripe.
I used the same thread throughout. It's a Sulky Blendable (100% cotton; 30wt). I think the color is 4024-Heather.
When it came time to bind my Rainbow Quilt of Experimentation, I realized I wanted to put some color around the edge. Actually, I realized I wanted to inject a lot of color and fun. So, I opted for a BIG binding made from three different fabrics.
At QuiltCon, I have been quite taken with Latifah's quilts (find her at The Quilt Engineer). One of the things I was really intrigued by was the monster bindings on some of them! I decided to try it out for myself. I straight-cut 6.5" strips of fabric and sewed them 3" in on the front of the quilt. I seriously had no idea if what I was doing would even work, so when I took that first corner, and it worked, I was so super happy.
Once the binding was sewn on (I machine sewed the front and hand-stitched the back) I decided to stitch the corners with big embroidery thread for extra interest.
And in the end, did I like sewing with the Textured Solids? Yes!
And do they wash up nicely? Yes! I've washed the quilt several times (all photos are post-washing) and am very pleased. So, hooray for that! Now I just need to find those textured solids stock somewhere!
The Rainbow Quilt of Experimentation, meanwhile, has become my snuggle blanket in the living room. :-)