Friday, December 28, 2007

A color story

Thank you to all those who sent me compliments on the ESW, both via the blog and privately.

Yesterday I finished the quilt my mother started. I had picked it up from the lady who quilted it on Saturday and finally found the time to trim the batting and backing and hem the edging. Here is a photo of the completed quilt on my father's bed. As you can see, it fits the bed perfectly as an accent. It is a twin sized quilt on a queen-sized bed, as a point of reference.This photo shows the quilt folded over to show the backing. It is a burgundy color with a dappled/marbled effect. This post is about the color of the backing. At the quilt store, I went through about a dozen colors. My first thought was that with all the colors in the quilt, almost any color would work. We , the quilt store owner and I, knew that the backing needed to be folded over to create the binding so the backing color was very important. We started with black and navy (both solid and these mottled/marbled fabrics). Both of them dulled the colors. We then moved on to browns - from taupe to a deep chocolate. Same effect. We tried greens - deep natural greens. Same problem. We tried other blues. No luck. We started to have more luck as we moved into purples/violets, teal, burgundy and rust. The secondary colors enhanced the colors in the quilt. The rust and the burgundy were the finalists and I felt the burgundy made the whole effect much richer than the rust did. So that won out. The entire experience was a great lesson in color theory and practice.
My original plan was to press out the seam allowance on the last set of blocks and then attach a binding as usual. However, when I went to press out the seam allowance, I found that in a large number of cases, the seam allowance was caught in the seams attaching the blocks to each other. Since they were hand-pieced around a paper template, it was easy to catch the allowance in the stitches. That plan, therefore, went out the window. I decided to leave the seam allowance folded down and fold over the backing to create a binding. I trimmed the batting to an inch and the backing to 1.5" beyond the quilt edge. Then I folded over the backing and doubled up the batting and hemmed the backing onto the squares overlapping by 1/16". I am pretty sure our eyes can't see that missing 1/16" on the last set of squares around the perimeter. But I leave that to you to judge from the closeup of the binding below.
I folded over the batting because it creates a nice rolled, corded edge. One thing that happens with batting, especially on the edge, is that it gets compressed over time. I'm hoping that this corded edge will stay plump and fluffy. This is a closeup of the quilting. The quilter did a great job of the quilting although it is a very simple meander to keep the focus on the colors and patterns.It is a relief to me to finish this because I've felt that it was something my mother entrusted to me to finish. I wanted to do justice to the work she put into it and initially I felt that meant finishing it by hand. Once I came to terms with the fact that she would have wanted it used, rather than sitting mouldering in my closet, it was a task that needed to be completed. I have never hired someone to sew something and finding the right person was a bit of a challenge. I was lucky in that I found two wonderful people. Kathie who owns the Quilt Basket, and Debbie Brown, the quilter, both took a personal interest in the quilt and gave me sound advice. I am very grateful to both of them for their assistance.


junie said...

Your quilt is wonderful. The backing really sets off the blocks of color. Congratulations on the finished work.

Reminds me of my Grandmother. She made all of her own blankets (quilts). Her materials were flour sacks and discarded clothing. She grew up in the 'old country' and these quilts weren't fancy. They were strictly utilitarian. All small squares like your quilt. Beautiful in their simplicity. As a child, it was fun to listen to her tell the stories of each square of material and fun to sleep under all that warm, family history.

Ann said...

It's lovely. I am sure your mother would be pleased.