Saturday, September 3, 2016

Pickle Quilt

 

My dyepot simmers as I type this. I am boiling up a reeking vat of early-season goldenrod, hoping to achieve this color, or as close as I can get to it. Seriously, this color. I am helpless before it.

It occured to me awhile ago that while I have a metric ton of finished patchwork quilts, all lovely, in every possible size, with both wool batting and cotton batting, piled up all around the place, I didn't really have one that I wanted living on the bed. The every-night quilt wasn't among my quilts. The every-night quilt has to be a quilt that is not only delectable for sleeping under (wool batting, please, in all seasons. I am right about this.) and big enough for Doc and me to share (he totally steals the covers) but it also has to look just right, too, because I walk past the door all day long and I can see the bed, and I want it to look smashing. I like to look in there as I go by, and think, "Ah, dang. That looks great." It also has to be interesting for me to sew, and also finishable, if you know what I mean. If the pattern is too ambitious, I will probably make seven blocks and then abandon it.

So I turned to my quilt guru (and possibly yours, too) Denyse Schmidt, and in her beautiful and inspiring book "Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspirations" I found this design, called "Shoeman's Puzzle." I know, triangles. But I loved the graphic slam-dunk of the two contrasting colors, and the dizzying way the pattern moves around as you look at it--the triangles together, sewn into squares, making larger circles--I loved it. I decided to use Kona Cotton, and after being temporarily paralyzed into indecision by the glut of color choices, picked out two: "Pickle" (not quite green, or yellow, or chartreuse either, exactly...) and "Limestone" (a greenish taupe). This color, pickle, is The Color. I went in looking for something a lot more subdued and ordinary, but Pickle wanted to be the one, and I was ready to accept Pickle into my daily and nightly life. Pickle, come on home to me, darling. I'm hoping that the cauldron of weeds stinking up my kitchen right now will yield a color close to Pickle. Goals.

I made about half of the individual blocks by hand, slow-crafting while watching television and all that, and it was fine, but then I realized that what I wanted was not a project, but a blanket. I already have enough big projects lurking in my work baskets and also in my imagination to keep me going indefinitely, and this didn't need to be one of them, so I finished the rest on the machine, and then started quilting it by hand.

I quilt by hand because dragging a queen-size quilt through the ordinary-sized arm hole in my sewing machine is excruciatingly frustrating, and it is probably how I have ruined several fancy sewing machines. [RIP, Bernina]. Also, I think hand-quilting looks fantastic. I am not, however, committed to spending the rest of my days painstakingly executing 12-stitches to the inch [sorry, Grandma, you did try...] I love the look and, frankly, the speed of utility quilting; big, clumsy, uneven stitches on done in #8 (or sometimes #5) perle cotton, with a big needle, right on the worktable, which is by now completely scratched and beat from hand quilting (tip: if you want to preserve the surface of your table, put your cutting mat down between the table and the quilt, and then go ahead and go to town. It's too late for me, but you can still save yourself.) I used a ceramic marking pen like this one to mark the top, tracing around cups and plates from the kitchen cupboard, and then just put The Monkees on repeat and started stitching. It took me about a week, what with also knitting and, you know, making dinner and stuff. I think I could've done it all in a day if I'd had a whole day, which I hardly ever do. Anyway, there wasn't any rush, other than the fact that every time I walked past the table, where it was draped and in-progress, I'd just kind of clutch my pearls and go all dreamy-eyed, breathily whispering Oh, Pickle. How I adore thee.

It was so pretty there, and I loved it already, even before it was finished. How great is it when that happens?

29 comments:

  1. Absolutely great quilt in colour (have to remember this) and in design. Love how it looks on your bed and I'm happy for you it worked out so well.
    Groetjes
    Annemieke

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  2. Absolutely great quilt in colour (have to remember this) and in design. Love how it looks on your bed and I'm happy for you it worked out so well.
    Groetjes
    Annemieke

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  3. Totally great colour! That hand quilting is amazing! I've never tried it because I think it would take forever and I'd make a mess of it. But damn it looks great - especially with fluffy wool!

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  4. Great quilt, love the colour and yay to your handquilting. It looks wonderful, you will love it when you have finished.

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  5. Looks SO great! Pickle is a wonderful color. I also love the color wasabi:)

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  6. Wow, those triangles are not for the faint of heart, to get all those points so perfectly pointy! What is your objective with the dyed results of the "reeking vat of goldenrod?" Love that description.

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  7. I sent you e-mails on Aug 29 and Sep 3 about an antique rocker.

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  8. Beautiful! I prefer hand quilting too for the same reason you have. And I also like the unevenness of bigger stitches.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  9. So not a quilter, except for the occasional sort of teensy bit of an attraction, not enough to move me yet, but enough that I appreciate the work and art of it, at least... but have to say, I do really like that quilt!!! It is simple and elegant and FUN all at once, so Bravo to you for your beautiful aw dang looks amazing quilt! :-)

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  10. I finished a quilt this week and I am right with you on the hand quilting, it does not take long and the quilts I have ruined shoving them through the machine are unmentionable. I think your quilt is divine an do pop over an see mine sometime this week. Probably post on Friday - I say the same things as you - funny! Jo x

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  11. Absolutely amazing! I love how you have written this post too.

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  12. A really refreshing quilt. I love circular quilting patterns and it works so well here. I know the pattern as Block Island Puzzle, but any which way you call it, it's still a beauty!

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  13. Dear Kristen, I am beginning to wonder how on earth you do manage to finish so many beautiful projects! I am beginning to realize I may have been a summertime lazy bones.

    Your pickle quilt is fabulous! The simple, yet vibrant, colorway, the graphic triangle shapes, the scale of the design and your brilliant stitching have all come together to create a beauty, destined to be an heirloom.

    If I ever, ever get around to my first quilting project and actually manage to complete it, I will want to post a particular blog to thank all those folks who inspired me. Just like the Oscars or the Tonys. You will be named! xo

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  14. This is beautiful and so 'moderne'! I adore the circular quilting and cannot even imagine how you go about doing this, it looks tricky. (Off to google circular hand quilting)

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  15. I, too, am besotted by that indescribable color! Just found some kitten heel suede pumps at Sole Society online in that color and they are lovely albeit probably not long for this world. Seems like most people kind of go "ewww" but I just love it. Quilt is gorgeous!

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  16. Beautiful quilt...altogether interesting.

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  17. I love this - everything about it. My hand quilting is not perfect either, but I think things made by hand shouldn't be. Thanks for your inspiration, I now have another quilt added to my 'one day' list.

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  18. When I first saw your quilt I ran to my bookshelf and yanked my DS book off the shelf. How did I miss that beautiful quilt? I really like your circle quilting with this block. Kona is my favorite solid, and pickle is a beaut.

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  19. That is a seriously amazing quilt! Everything about it, colors, the pattern, the circles! Wow! I can see why you were in love with it before it was even finished.

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  20. This quilt is so beautiful! Wish it was on my bed ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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  21. It's BEAUTIFUL!! I bought this book recently and this pattern is on my list for this winter stitching,,, thanks for sharing/inspiring me to get it done, now to pick a color LOL.

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  22. What a great post. I love this. I love pickle. I'm inspired!

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  23. Hand quilt the entire thing in a day?? Girl! You must be lightning fast!!
    The quilt is lovely and I agree the color is perfect!! I had to laugh when you said you'd get tired after 7 blocks. I love ambitious blocks - when I get started... then halfway through, I wonder what the heck was I thinking??
    Wishing you many smiles as you pass your bedroom door ~ Tracy

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  24. Heck, your writing style just floors me every time I read your blog - your handiwork is so sublime. I just love stopping by to take a peek into your prolific crafty life X

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  25. It is a very beautiful quilt, love it.

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  26. I'm not a "quilt person" but this one is a BEAUTY!

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  27. love your quilt and it looks fantastic on your bed!!! Congratulations!! ;

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  28. love your quilt and it looks fantastic on your bed!!! Congratulations!! ;

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