|Line tracing from the photograph|
|Photo of Ichiban Eggplant flower in my garden|
|"Changing ... Leaves some things behind"|
SG Hilsenbeck, 2008
Fourth, but actually done several years ago, it was important to already understand how Ruth's freezer paper method works and to have some experience putting pieces together. I made this little quilt by carefully following the instructions in Ruth's book.
First Days of Class: The first days of class focused on taking the image and turning it into something you can actually sew. Ruth did an absolutely amazing job of reviewing an image from each of 17 students and making suggestions for how to 'de-construct' the image into sewable sections.
|Students in class|
The following pictures show Ruth's general suggestions for breaking up my image (left), my careful full size drawing, with all the sections and pieces meticulously labeled, and the final tracing on freezer paper (sections and pieces traced on shiny side) with major sections outlined in hi-liter on the paper side.
|Full-size drawing on tracing paper|
|Freezer Paper showing sections on|
This process was quite demanding -- requiring careful thought about how to things will be sewn together, thought about where colors will go, and great attention to detail. What a luxury to have an entire day, or more, to really concentrate on this. This would be hard for me to do at home, squeezing a little time here and there from in between other demands.
Next steps: With the full size drawing in hand, it was time to turn to fabric. What fun auditioning little bits to see how they would look. Experienced members of the class seemed to able to pick fabrics and immediately iron onto the freezer paper templates and pin up on the wall (Note: a design wall, with a full-size copy of the drawing on which to pin-up each piece (make visual designs visually...) is a must!). I opted to waste a little fabric by pinning up snippets, to see how they would look, and then go for ironing and actual cutting out, once I was generally happy with the choices. Ruth also suggests pinning up nearly everything before sewing, so you can really see how it will look, and make changes before you go down a path you will regret.
|Starting to audition fabrics.|
|Starting to pin-up prepared pieces|
|Beginning to audition possible outer border fabric.|
|Close-up, showing prepared pieces pinned in place.|
Finishing the Top: I'm quite a slow, methodical piecer. In fact, I'm pretty slow on all the parts of the process. On the other hand, I savor each step, and generally only work on small to moderate-sized things that I can finish in my lifetime. I have actually made one large king-size quilt, but it was too much like sewing a circus tent, and I do not plan to repeat the experience. But I digress. Considering my snail-like pace, I made amazing progress on assembly of the top during the last two days of the class.
|About half of major sections sewed, before packing up.|
|Back, showing seams|
|Front, showing finished top (18x24.5")|
@SG Hilsenbeck, 2012
After an hour or so for several evenings, and all day last Saturday, the top is entirely put together. Amazingly, I did not lose any of the little pieces (ziplock bags are wonderful), I did not sew anything in backwards or upside down (color coded tic-marks, like being rich or thin, you cannot have too many), AND miracle of miracles, it lies flat.
Plans for quilting and finishing: I haven't decided exactly what to do yet, so this will have to wait until next time. When I step back, I'm quite happy with much of how the image looks and less thrilled with other parts. Rather than micro-analyzing or perhaps trying to tweek, I view this as a learning experience. Quilting will be the next part of the experiment. Thinking of this as the small experiment that it is takes some of the decisional anxiety out of the equation. I feel freer to try things out and then I know can to do better next time.