I’ll start by
saying shouting from the lofty heights of Gotham City’s skyline… “I’m loving making this quilt!” Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me tell you why in a more civilised fashion.
I began this quilt with the vaguest of plans. As I mentioned in the previous post, I really wanted to embrace my scraps and keep my eye from wandering to the neatly folded piles of yardage. I can say that after nine completed blocks, I’ve only “made” a scrap once, and that’s because the orange was too orange to leave out! I’ve behaved myself and so has my machine, who’s “eaten” greens, blues and yellows ravenously. Dare I say I’m running out of scraps?
It’s the colours you see; bright, saturated, types that fly off the design wall, capes-a-flapping, begging to be sewn into a block. Like I said, I’ve completed nine so far, each inspired by a Marvel or DC comic book character. When I started this quilt I thought I’d sew and sew until the block looked and felt done. I’ve since revised that now, and each of the blocks are being made with specific dimensions in mind. I felt that if I wanted to arrange them in a comic book style then there would have to be some sort of math to help me do that. So, one particularly slow day in work last week saw me ruler in hand, planning the layout. With these sizes decided upon, I sew a block until it’s a little larger and will trim it back when the time comes to add the sashing. The numbers don’t stop me from getting my improv A-game on though. Sometimes I sew strips, other times mini log cabin units. I stack and slice and dice so much I half imagine speech bubbles filled with ‘POW’ and ‘ZAP’ radiating from my rotary cutter.
Each block has been great fun to make, though I particularly enjoyed the two above. The topmost features the American flag, a nod to the identity of its namesake, whilst the bottom is the biggest block I’ve ever made. It’s 27″ long! When I made the Incredible Hulk block I was planning on sharing all the names. Now, I think it might be fun to do a little competition once all the blocks are finished and see if people can guess who inspired them. Four more to go…
Remember a few weeks back when I talked about the strike of inspiration that came from a Marvel comic? Well, yesterday scraps were flying through the attic as I grabbed and sewed improv-style. Even the dog wasn’t safe from the cascade of confetti that fell from the cutting mat. I thought I’d start with The Incredible Hulk, thinking I get the most bang-for-my-buck in terms of scrap usage. I mean, have you seen the size of that angry doctor?
To say I went at this without any sort of plan would be a lie. I had the vaguest idea what I wanted to achieve, that was, take random scraps and sew them all together, without care or worry about size or straight seams. I really wanted to let myself go, lucky-dipping into the scrap box to choose the next piece. I forbade myself from using anything from stash. If a scrap was too big, I sliced it in half; if it was too small, I added it to something else. This liberating style of piecing is something I used when making the dinosaur quit, only this time there was no solid sashing, just blocks of uninterrupted colour. Finished block size? Didn’t have a clue! I just added and trimmed until it “felt” right.
I tried to vary the piecing, sometimes sewing strips together, other times making small 4-patch blocks and adding a border to one or all the sides. There were no rules, which made the process all the more enjoyable. After a few more additions today, I think the first block is done. But who knows? A week down the line might see this Hulk block double in size. I’m still leaning towards the idea of setting these blocks in a neutral background, perhaps a grey or black linen mix, something that will really set off the bright colours of Marvel.
In my last stashing post I likened myself to a quilting Spider-man, whose superpowers include fabric buying to the extreme, precision pressing and the ability to wrestle a beastly quilt through the minimal throat space of a domestic sewing machine. Alright, I admit these aren’t at all on par with flying, invisibility and telekinesis, yet for a while I couldn’t get superheros off my mind. It wasn’t their powers that tugged at the creative consciousness, but their colours. All those bright reds, blues and greens, much like the colours found in my overflowing scrap bins. As I looked closer I saw Superman red, Batman black, and a deeply-buried purple scrap that could have been torn from The Hulk’s shorts. With my brain currently in improv mode, I envisaged taking these scraps and making blocks, randomly sized and shaped, and setting them into a rich grey linen. Just like that, the superhero quilt was born. What could be more fun than taking a Kona colour card and matching it to Marvel? I am itching to get started!
I love how inspiration strikes! In recent weeks I’ve been inspired by, amongst other things, a leek, a red cabbage, wallpaper and a picture of geological strata, all wanting to be turned into quilts. With my quilt bee commitments, as well as the other quilts on my to-do list, my future’s looking very busy. Watch this space.