Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crossed Canoes Congratulations

Detail of the back.
Last time I mentioned the Crossed Canoes quilt, it was the end of May and I had just finished all the quilting. What a happy day that was! But it was a classic example of a job seeming so huge, but becoming quite nothing if I just worked on it steadily.

If you look closely, there are some jogs in the quilting, but that happened less and less with practice and getting beyond the centre area. Doing the second half of the quilting where I was just running between two previous lines of sewing was a lot easier, plus I wasn't stopping to remove pins. In any case, the quilting gives the general effect that I wanted (concentric circles; ripples, if you will) and that's the main point.

In order to do the next step of binding, I had to trim the edges of the quilt even. This turned out to be easier than I anticipated. Since the border seams were running pretty straight (I checked them with a laser level!), I just lined up my 6" ruler with the edge of the border and cut all the way around the quilt.

I didn't have as much excess as I thought in some areas, but I had 6 inches so I guess that's all that counts.

Next I had to make yards and yards of binding. Ready-to-use bindings are never in very good colours so I always make mine from fabric I buy to match. (Or you can use a border fabric if you want it to disappear. I probably would have done that in this case if I had had enough.)

I use a method where you cut a square on the diagonal and then sew the pieces back together. Then you mark lines however wide you want your binding strips to be. Then you sew the pieces together again to make a tube. Then you cut and cut and cut on the line, which is now a spiral. You don't have to start with a very big square, and it seems like you cut forever!
I bought the binding fabric long after any of the other fabrics in the quilt. (There's some rule floating around "out there" that border and binding fabrics have to be one of the fabrics that you used in the main part of the quilt or it looks like you ran out and "tacked it on." I say "RUBBISH." I seldom buy borders and never buy binding until the quilt is together so I can see what it looks like and what it needs. Each to their own, though.)

In this case, by the time I got this top quilted, batiks had become all the rage. I'm not normally a fan of mixing batiks and prints, (it's hard to do well) but I went with it. It was the best fabric choice I had and I liked having some blues out in the border.

Some of the greens really do not match the green border (or backing), but other shades in the fabric are spot on. So I can live with that.

Ready for some full views?

Here is the quilt on a bed so you can see how it will lie:
It is a square quilt (about 85" square, I think). Here is the back:
You may recall that I used two different pieces of fabric because the quilt shop said they didn't have or weren't getting more of the green. (They were wrong; I saw more there the next month.) But I found some of the same fabric in tan and I went for it. I'm very glad because I really like the checkerboard back.

Final step in making a quilt (these days) is the label. Some people hand- or machine-embroider elaborate labels. I've done one with the alphabet tool on my machine, but didn't want to do that this time. I wanted simple.

So I went to the fabric store and bought a fabric marker. I wrote out what I wanted to say on a piece of paper with the marker. I could then lay a piece of white cotton over the paper and trace the letters. This was a very good way of making sure everything was centred. After each line, I could shift the paper a little left or right as needed. Easy peasy. I then bordered the white cotton with some leftover fabric from the back and sewed it to the back. (Unbelievably, I gave the quilt away without taking a picture of the final label!!)

Here is a full view:
Hindsight is 20/20, I know, but I definitely would lay this quilt out differently if I had a chance. As it is, the dark and light canoes make zig zag lines across the quilt. Every other row of canoes should be turned so that the dark canoes make large "circles" and then the light canoes would make interlocking circles. That way your eye would have a way to travel around the quilt. I'm happy with the balance and overall look of the colours in the quilt, but I find the light/dark movement jarring. Live and learn! (Or should I say, "Quilt and learn"?)

And not to leave you wondering who got the quilt,
I gave it to Troy's son Isaac to celebrate his gradation from high school.
I think he looks like he likes it, no?

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