Thursday, August 10, 2017

Raw Nerve

Lately I'd been wanting to make a landscape quilt using a different method from my usual one. From my shelf, I pulled one of Cathy Geier's books, titled Lovely Landscape Quilts. These are strip/string-pieced landscapes built on a foundation of fusible interfacing or muslin.

For my initial foray into this method, I decided to use one of Cathy's patterns, included in the book. 

The quilt top is designed in two sections, which suited me fine for ease of machine work. However, me being me (stubborn), it wasn't long until Cathy and I parted ways on the directions. I decided that instead of auditioning strips for the foreground (water and land), I would just wing it (uh-oh!), choosing and fusing strips as I went.

The result isn't horrible, but something tells me that if the strips had been auditioned first, I'd have made better choices. There's too much similarity in tone here.

Lesson learned. For the upper half (mountains and sky), the strips were auditioned first. See what a difference it made? No tonal problems here, or at least not many.

But then there was another departure from Cathy's advice. (Donk!) I decided, despite her warning about using raw-edged strips vs. seamed, to use raw-edged anyway. Because (I figured) being experienced with raw-edged applique, I'd simply add a layer of tear-away stabilizer and zigzag all the strip edges after fusing.

Holy guacamole. Talk about tedious!! 

Yeah, multiply this (above) by about a thousand, and you get the picture. I was SO happy to be done with that step. Not to mention, changing top thread and bobbins to match every strip, because the threads needed to blend. And the raw edges (along with my nerves) were fraying faster than I could stitch them down. Lots of trimming was required afterward. Cathy knew what she was talking about.

Thread colors chosen for the different strips. Yikes!
Next came the sailboat in the pattern. I was happy with my piecing, but couldn't figure out why the sails ended up too big for the mast (you can't tell here, because I chopped off the mast top in the photo). Problem? THIRD departure from the recommended method---I used Cathy's sailboat pattern but fused the raw edges...which means I didn't allow for the 1/4" turn-under on the sails. DUH.

Anyway, it doesn't look too out-of-proportion, and I'll just add more mast with a white zigzag stitch at the top. Gotta do what'cha gotta do.

Next up...the little tulle pieces for the boat reflection on the water. I haven't figured out yet how to get around using the glue powder that is called for in that step (I have none and hadn't planned on buying any), but no doubt will come up with something (that'll probably take me 10 times as long). 

And next time, hopefully, the finished quilt, bordered and bound.

Have a great weekend!



  1. I know this wasn't your intent, but this makes me feel SO much better about my efforts that currently seem to be one step forward, accompanied by two back (and sometimes more than that!!).

    1. I'm actually glad it made you feel better--that makes ME feel better! LOL I think it's great to learn from not just our own but others' mistakes, and I wish more quilters would share their ups AND downs in the creative process.

  2. It is very hard to move out of your comfort zone to try a new method but I think you did a great job even with yor departure from some of her directions. I often stray from directions!!

    1. Thanks, Rhonda. I think it's something to do with being told what to do and how to do it--even when it would benefit me! LOL Too much of that during childhood, maybe!

  3. You, like me learn by doing - making mistakes and the fun is figuring out how to fix it. Yes, we could follow people's directions but what fun is That! Lol! What a dramatic difference between the first and second. Prints would work but it's really hard to find prints that blend.

    In a class with David Taylor once he told us to throw all the fabrics we think might work in a big pile. Then take out the ones that don't play well with the rest. Good advice.most of his work has to blend and prints do work, they just have to get along with their co workers 😀

    1. Carol, I most definitely need more practice blending prints, at least with this method, and that David Taylor idea sounds great! It's so much easier to get away with different prints in a free-form landscape, where you just used dibs and dabs of different ones, especially on a forest floor. And it's good to know I'm not the only bullheaded landscape quilter when it comes to directions. (All my teenage rebellion was saved up for adulthood. Just ask my husband! LOL)

  4. I've been trying a new raw edge method - I use Fabric Modge Podge on the back as explained by Lara-Buccella in her book Crafted Applique. Think I like it. It's fun to play sometimes. I learned something from this post.

    1. Angie, oh wow, something else I can make a mess with! LOL No, seriously, I will look into that, it sounds intriguing. You've definitely got me curious. I am making myself play more these days, too. It truly is the best way to learn, and of course learning is what makes all this so much fun!


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