Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Project Modern Challenge 4

Hash Marks

Because I've been moving around so much, I haven't had the chance to join a local branch of the Modern Quilt Guild, but once we are settled, I hope to find a group of like-minded/open minded quilters to meet up with. I'm mega super inspired by members of those guilds and I love seeing the results of challenges and swaps that they do.

Anyhoo, I'm starting to see more entries popping up over at Flickr and around the blogosphere, so without further ado, my entry for Project Modern: Challenge 4 - Find Your Voice: Hash Marks.

Hash Marks

It's an idea that has been percolating for some time. This is my [probably-over-long] description.

I took this challenge to be about starting with a blank slate and creating something about my life in this moment.  This quilt is called “Hash Marks.”  (They are also called “tally marks”: four vertical lines crossed by a fifth diagonal line signifying a count of 5.)  Each of the 300+ blocks (including the back) is one mark and together they are a representation of me counting the days while my husband finishes graduate school.  From a quilting perspective, I am currently experimenting more with solids and different methods of piecing.  I initially planned to use two colors: Kona Khaki for the background and Kona Pepper for the marks.  But I happened to have a little Kona Eggplant and I liked how it gave the palette a little pluck, so I threw it in and the layout evolved from there.  (Adding that third color allows also me to say that the colors represent the three states we have lived in these past two years!)  I wanted to develop a shortcut (which is very much my “quilting voice”) rather than piece each block individually.  So, I sewed strips together and used a 4.5” square ruler set at different angles to cut out the blocks and vary the marks. 

Because of our transient lifestyle, the logistical aspects of my quilting have also taken on an improvisational bent.  Quilting comically started with me trying to spray baste with the backing taped (with packing tape) to a textured wall.  It was touch-and-go but it actually worked!  At 68”x 68”, this is the largest quilt I’ve tried to quilt.  In order for my hands to be in a good position, I had to perch atop 4 folded quilts with my foot pedal raised on a plastic bin and the bulk of my quilt over my shoulder.  (My table is too high and my legs, too short!)  The basic design is an off-set, asymmetrical X (because it marks the spot) of straight-line quilting at various widths in cream, purple and dark blue thread.  I filled in the rest of the quilt with similar quilting.  Though my stitches are far from perfect (and my walking foot broke in the effort), I am really happy with result.  This quilt is all about working with what you have and adjusting to the ebb and flow of circumstance.   

That about says it all. I can't believe that I quilted a quilt that size on my machine! She didn't like it and I probably won't do it again, but I love having a finished project. (Currently quilting on a Juki - it's like buttah!)

Here's the back:

Hash Marks back

You can really see my crazy quilting! I think there is definitely a lesson to be learned here, for me, in thread choice and backing choice. I don't mind a whole lot that the quilting is so visible on the back, but since I'm definitely a beginner in that area and need a heckuvalot of practice, it may not have been the ideal decision. Live and learn!

The wavy navy is a print that I've had for 3 years or so. It's a tone on tone zig zag that went great with the angles in the quilt design. The rectangle patch is a piece from the Free Spirit line, Moondance. I was going to use the leftovers for the binding, but decided to keep the top/front to the three original solids.

Here's a close up of the quilting - you can almost see the different thread colors.

Hash Marks quilting detail

Thanks for the MQG for hosting this and all of the other challenges. I loved having more motivation to take this idea from paper to fabric and I can't wait to see the other entries!

Hash Marks

6 comments:

MariQuilts said...

It's beautiful....I love the back as well.

piecemealquilts said...

This is wonderful! I really like that your quilting is visible on the back - in fact, I like the back in general. I also like your choice to add just a touch of color with the Eggplant.

Jessica said...

wow, I really love the look of your quilt, and also the story behind it. It's funny because I did a quilt similar to this size a couple months ago with a similar echoing X pattern and it broke my walking foot as well. I still don't have one, but it works out for me :)

felicity said...

This is fabulous! I love what the pop of Eggplant brings to the design - great choice!

Leanne said...

Your quilt is wonderful, thanks for sharing your process!

Chris Daly said...

Love your quilt design! Thanks for stopping by my blog and entering my giveaway in September. I'm a quilter from SW Wisconsin.