|The original idea|
After deciding what size I wanted the quilt to be (50" x 60"), I worked out the location of the epicentre. I then marked out the quilt and epicentre on my design wall. I pulled the fabrics I wanted to use and then then crazy pieced panels.
|Crazy pieced panels|
I started cutting up the panels and sticking them on my design wall. At some point between sewing the crazy panels together and then cutting them back up again, I realised that the pieces needed to be kind of wedge shaped, whereby the end closest to the epicentre should be narrower than the other end of the wedge. I played around with it focussing on how it looked, with absolutely no consideration for how I was going to join it all together. In the following pictures, all the coloured pieces are pinned to the design wall [aka cot flannel sheet hung from wall with coat hangers], I haven't started sewing them together yet.
So then I sat in front of it for quite a while thinking, hmmm, now what do I do? I sewed them together in sections, by first adding white scraps to the top and bottom of each shard/wedge, and/or the sides of the wedge. I would then trim to straighten the edges for sewing together. When I removed a piece from the wall I put pins in my design wall/sheet so I could return them to the right place. I went through a cycle of joining sections then pinning them back up on the wall, and moving onto another section, until I had large chunks pieced that could be joined together into a large circle. Here is an example of a section sewn together.
|Some sections pieced together|
At some point I realised that joining all of these in the centre needed to be thought through. I tried to do an improv curve when I'd joined part of the explosion together. I knew I was on the right track but it didn't really cut the mustard. I made sure I had lots of seam allowance in the centre, which looked like a big fat mess for a while.
I googled "circle shape in quilt" and ended up at Craftsy watching Sarah Fielke show me how to create perfect applique circles with ease. So I appliqued a circle on my epicentre. I machine stitched around the edge of the circle (as opposed to needle-turn applique - is that what it's called?), mama doesn't hand-sew. The centre of the explosion is where my inexperience let me down, and is definitely the one area that I would do differently if I did something similar again.
|After - much better but an area to work on in the future|
The negative space isn't all white with the odd shard of colour - that would have been much easier but for some reason mama decided to include some rays of Moda Bella Ivory. My thinking was that it was a subtle way to extend the explosion, which I think it does (you'll just have to believe me, because you can't really tell from the photos). In the photo below you can see the spacing of the rays. I used the stitch and flip technique to turn the long rectangles into long triangles.
From here it was a matter of trying to square up the explosion and then piece the background into panels which could then be sewn together. That one sentence sounds easy but in reality it took me longer than I thought it would, mostly because of the rays set on an angle.
I originally quilted it with a variegated thread, the thread was perfect from a palette perspective (orange, pink, purple) but it was far from perfect from a quilting perspective - the coloured thread highlighted the wonky/crazy shaped pieces but in a bad way, it didn't enhance the piecing - it contradicted it and made the crazy piecing seem all wrong. So I unpicked it, it took quite a few hours to unpick then re-quilt (basically at the end of the day on Sunday, I was at the same point I was at the start of the day but quilted with a different coloured thread). It was definitely worth it.
When I quilted it again, I started at the edge of the applique circle, with off-white thread (Wonderfil Konfetti 50wt - colour KT101).
Here is what I learnt:
- I want to do a dresden plate, or similar design with wedges joined in a central circle, so that I know the "proper" way to do it!
- I need more practice with Y seams (seeing as this is the first time I've ever done one)
- I need to remember to square up, it happens as part of the process when you make a quilt with rows of equal length, but is easily omitted when making a quilt like this.
- Sometimes its better if you don't know how much you don't know, otherwise you might not try things.
- I don't like the look of coloured thread quilted on white/light background.
- I really need to get my camera serviced because that black spot on all my photos is driving me crazy.
- Did you just go back and check each photo for the black spot? I crop it out sometimes.
Thanks for reading!
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