March 13, 2013

"Regret"--the top is pieced

It's been a long time since I posted about this quilt, but I have slowly been making progress.  There were lots of decisions to be made before I cut into the fabric.  You can see the story of this quilt on "Regret" here.  That post shows a small maquette of the quilt; the maquette was about 28x23", while the actual quilt top is 72x60".  The basic design remained the same, but I tipped the figure on the left a bit, which I think is an improvement.  The design process was arduous; the simpler the design, and the smaller the range of colors, the more impact each decision has.  I won't go into the many days it took me to dye exactly the red I wanted, and then to replicate it on the 3 pieces of fabric I needed to cut all the shapes.  The black too, took some trials, as there are two different blacks that I commonly use.  With the fabric finally done this weekend, I could go back to the full-size pattern I'd made and start cutting.  I'm glad I did a lot of garment sewing in my teens and twenties, as it made sense to construct this quilt using many of those techniques, which I thankfully remembered.  Things like using a pattern, cutting notches to help match up seams, using a 5/8" seam (versus the 1/4" generally used in quilting), pressing open the seams, stay-stitching around the outer edge, much of which is on the bias.  Here's a photo of the pattern, which I cut into its component parts and laid out on the fabric:

A detail shot shows a little better how I marked the cutting lines.  The pencilled scribble is a trial of the quilting.  More about that once I get to the quilting stage.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had originally planned to do this design through applique, starting with one large piece of rusty/red fabric and hand-sewing the black shapes on top.  I did the maquette to try out piecing instead, and I decided I preferred the very straight lines and sharper corners that I could get with piecing.  I'd prefer not to have the piecing lines visible in the background, but they're not dominant, and I think once the piece is quilted, they will mostly disappear.

This quilt has been a long time in the making.  I am glad to have reached the point where it has actually come into being.  There is a lot more to do, but it should be easier from here.

There was a bit of magic, too, in the making.  I struggled with dyeing the fabric, and I struggled some when cutting out the pieces, making a couple of mistakes that necessitated re-cutting, and having to break down a couple of larger pieces into smaller parts.  This is par for the course for me.  Even when I think I'm being careful, I make mistakes.  I just accept it as part of the process for me.  But when I was piecing, everything went together on the first pass.  My trusty seam-ripper, always at hand, was not picked up once.  Because of the irregular shapes of the pieces, many of the edges were on the bias of the fabric, rather than straight of grain, which I thought would be problematic in the sewing.  But for this, I seem to have been careful enough, and it's all OK!

The pattern pieces, having done their job.


  1. It's going to be beautiful, Penny. The colors make me feel very sad. It's very powerful to look at it even on the blog.


  2. Congratulations on your progress! What a strong combination. Ah, the joy of retirement and all that time...


  3. Very nice, Penny! It is going to be a very strong piece.

  4. The colors are very amazing. I'll look forward to seeing this in person.