Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wonky Crosses and why nothing I do is ever done on time

So I had bought a slew of green in anticipation of making that Irish Chain, but having gone a different direction with that, I now had a lovely selection of greens to play with.

Normally I would just tuck them into my stash and move on to other things, but I'm trying to use what I've got here and not stash too much, so I wanted to use them...  And if possible make something that would remind me of Ireland.  It's so green here, and we've done a couple of road trips where I watch the green fields fly by and we've gone walking through the avenues of lush green trees, and I've sat in the gorgeous parks and listened to the birds sing... It just feels like a green place.  None of my photos come close to doing it justice.

So green, for a reminder of our trip to the Emerald Isle... But I was stumped for what to do.  My first thought was a Scrappy Swoon (having seen one in blues that I adored), but I cut one strip of fabric, realised just how many hst's I was looking at, and quickly decided that that was not a plan that would suit me.  I looked in all the usual places where I normally find inspiration, but nothing was speaking to me.

So I had the brilliant idea to put the question to my guild mates at the Brisbane Modern Quilt Guild. They're all so creative and talented and know me, so why not go to the experts!  They gave me some great suggestions and I followed the trail of breadcrumbs they left me and I ended up at a blog I've followed for years, staring at a sea of pink wonky crosses. KABOOM. It hits me. This is exactly what I want, but in green.  I can picture it in green and I think it should have that feeling of fields and paddocks where there is every shade of green and no rhyme of reason to the layout, but still an element of structure where we've built fences or planted specific crops. It suits my improv temperament. It's completely freeform in contrast to my other wips (I like to have different types of projects going on at the same time so I can flit to whatever I'm in the mood for at the time).


Now, from my googling, I think this is normally a quilt that would be made from scrap, whereas I'm using yardage.  That meant I was working from a slightly different starting point. I worked on the theory that I just needed strips in varying widths and just sliced away as the mood took me.  I also kept up my googling to get some guidance on making the blocks, but all the other "wonky cross" blocks I could find used standard sized finished blocks, which was not what I was aiming for.  I wanted that totally mismatched vibe, but I couldn't find guidance on how to do that properly, so I just threw myself in, and figured it'd work out at the end.  I love the jigsaw part of improv, so I wasn't worried and just figured it'd be fine.

Cut to a month later of my sporadically pottering away at this (and that and the other) and I realised that this could be part of the Pantone Challenge! It's all shades of green! It's perfect for "greenery"!! But it was still just a tiny pile of blocks, and I hadn't even started to join them together. That's when i actually kicked into gear.  I cut my entire bundle of low volume into randomly sized squares/rectangles. I cut a squillon strips of the different greens, and I started power sewing.  Or at least what counts as power sewing for me. I made about 4 or 5 blocks in a day. Which is nothing, but I just don't know how to go faster. And I spend way to much time trying to line up the angles in the  crosses... I'm almost completely sure no-one looking is even going to bother checking, and I was far from successful, but I still did it anyway.

So the Challenge deadline comes and goes, and I'm still making crosses, and trying to jigsaw them together, and also realising what a fool I was to do them with no plan at all about size... Not to mention I keep readjusting how big I think this needs to be.  #ilikebigquiltsandicannotlie I think initially I was going for a throw... then single bed size... now it's around the size of a double (which for me is actually still on the small size).  But I'm so over making blocks that I'm calling it done.

I had my bestie over for the weekend, and we took it out to the cliffs of Howth and attempted to get a shot of it in the wild. We looked absolutely ridiculous, and it's not a great shot of the top, but it was a bit of fun.

In my head, I am almost certain that it still needs to be bigger, but I have given myself permission to call it a done top, and once I get back to Oz (and my stash) I will look at adding a plain low volume border (almost certainly with a second mismatched green second border... and possibly another low volume.. with scrappy green binding).

There is literally no specific size to any block.  If you do this, learn from my mistake and do some magic number maths before you start - you'll thank yourself in the long run. That said, I do love the mix of big blocks and itty bitty blocks that merge in this quilt, and I love, love, love that there are no 2 seams that actually meet (on purpose anyway) - no such thing as a perfect point with this baby. I also completely love the different greens - there's forest green, and lime green, and a muddy brown/olive green that is totally gross, but is just what I wanted for this top. I'm not sure that it's as "Irish Fields" as I wanted it to be - I think there's too much white over all that it's not *quite* how I envisioned it. But I do still love it, and it will definitely remind me of this trip.

And now I have a whole passel of green scraps that I get to play with... And I have already started work, because I know just what I want to do with them :-)

E xx