15 April 2012

The evolution of a stripe

Let's be honest shall we. Much of the stuff we post on the web looks nice. It looks finished and clean and neat. In real life most of the stuff that goes on is pretty messy. Today I am going to treat you to the trail and error that comes with making a stripe.

It would be very easy for me to post this project as a lovely finished design. It wasn't. My oh my was this project messy!!!

I have known for a while that I wanted to make a chevron striped quilt in blue and white. I used this tutorial for this pillow. Easy enough I thought. Blowing it up several times bigger shouldn't be too hard....

The top piece was simple. It turned out well. The iron and I bonded over many hours of pressing seams. Yep, it was fiddly but not a lot went wrong- except the chevrons are more wonky stripes now, but that is a minor point!

I figured a quilt needed batting. Off I go to the nearest shop and have a choice between high end beautifully soft batting or the cheap, off the bolt batting. I am a student, I haven't much money, I go for the cheap. Yep, that was a mistake.

In my head, I wanted this quilt to be drapey (is that a word?). You know the sort of quilt you throw in the car on a camping trip or lie on on a sunny afternoon. Keeping me warm was not its main objective.

The cheap and cheerful batting achieved precisely the opposite effect..puff, and lots of it. Yes, there are occasions when puff is good, I have a place in my heart for puff, that place is reserved for snow and deepest darkest December. Drapey was exactly what it wasn't.

At this point my thought process went like this: "this isn't what I wanted it like." "but, I could live with this, I'm not a perfectionist." "Go with it Abi, roll with it." "Ok, the darn thing isn't even lying flat now oh and that's just gathered in the wrong place." "Yes, but it's handmade, it has charm. "Ok, charm has gone, it looks like I attacked it with a sewing machine."

So, after an internal battle I sat down, accompnied by the voice of Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter, and I unpicked, I unpicked six rows of sewing. They were long rows I can tell you.

Whilst I unpicked I thought- I had a lot of time for thinking- "Why am I unpicking this?" I came to the conclusion that it was because it was pretty and funky and colourful. The top piece that was. What did I want to save? The pattern. Therefore why did I need the batting?

In the middle of the night it came to me- like the best things do- I could just leave out a filling.

So that is what I did, to stiffen it and make it less like two pieces of material stuck together I covered the back sheet in iron on interfacing. I still can't decide whether I like this, but it worked.

I then saved time and sewed right sides together, left a whole and turned it the right way round- voila pretty finished edges.

This was by no means an easy quilt. This was a whole lot of trial and error. But, you know what, at the end of the day it is a quilt for me, and if I'm happy...

The thing I am trying to get at is that Art cannot happen without mistakes. We need the mess to create and mistakes have to happen (however annoying they are when they do!)

P.S A quick-unpick is a misnomer. It isn't quick.

*The wordless picture this week was taken at a manor house where we could dress up in Tudor clothes. I think this is pretty priceless myself!*


Lynn said...

If we didn't make mistakes we wouldn't make anything. I pretty impressed with your determination - in my younger days my drawers were stuffed with many abandoned project because I had fallen out with it. I think the finished result is pretty impressive - chevrons are hard!

Sian said...

Amen to that! You are absolutely right. And I'm impressed with your stickability too - like Lynn it took me years to learn how to stick at something. Good for you!

Beverly said...

I'm prone to think my frustration level wouldn't have allowed me to get to the cool result that you did, Abi. And how did I miss this post? @@ silly me asking you to share a pick of the quilt when you've already done a post about it. Anyhoo I think it's fab!