Monday, March 23, 2020

Prayer Flags Wall Hanging

Here is the story of a wall hanging with a slow start and a fast finish.

Last May, I finished the top of this quilt:
and had lots of left over blocks. At some point I thought I had enough to do a second quilt, but it wasn't quite that many. I don't remember deciding to make that many extra, but in any case, it made easier to pull colours that I wanted for the rainbow ombre effect.

But then I had all these extra blocks:
Some were pieced in pairs (left) and some in fours (right). I rejected the idea to make the same pattern, so I knew I would have to take these apart at some point.

In October, I sat down and did it. Separated all the units from each other
and then trimmed them all to a uniform size. They were supposed to be 5" squares, but I knew a lot of them were small. Not wanting to work to make things fit, I trimmed them all to 4.75".

Then they sat in the box for a while.

I mentioned in my post about the family crafting retreat in February (remember when you could travel and meet in groups??) that I brought the blocks and laid out two different designs:

I gave up on the idea of making a full-sized quilt because there weren't enough blocks to make a top and I wasn't interested in figuring out what to add to make it big enough. So I thought I could use these for a couple smaller pieces. They are a good size for baby blankets, actually, but I don't know of many who want a black quilt for their baby. So wall hangings it was!

At the retreat, I sewed together the top of the first design (no pictures). I had had an idea of where I might be able to use this wall hanging so I was motivated to get it done. Less than a week after getting home, I had made a back from more of these black scraps by piecing 7x14" rectangles into squares and piecing them together. (Same thing I did for the big quilt.)
Once the back was ready, I could layer it with some scrap batting and baste it.

But all my safety pins were in the quilt I basted at the retreat. Like all of them.

So I pinned it with straight pins!
It was a small quilt and I was going to be stitching it right away in a simple design so it worked out. I quilted wavy vertical lines in black thread. First I did lines between the pins. Then I could take the pins out and do the lines where the pins were.

Then I kept adding lines evenly across the quilt until I thought it was enough. Then I loaded some rainbow thread (same thread I used for the elephant quilt I finished recently) and made some rainbow lines.
I was worried about how it was going to look, so I only sewed about six lines across the quilt. I decided it could use more, so I sewed another six lines spread out over the quilt. I did that a few more times, and every time I added another set of lines I worried it would be too much! But in the end, I think I stopped before it was.

I don't even really remember this, but apparently at the time it was a big enough deal to take a picture. This is what we call winning at bobbin chicken:
See that half inch tail of thread? That's all that was left after the seam was done. Perfect!

I bound the quilt in more of the black fabric and added a hanging sleeve on the back.
Looks like I need to add some pockets on the bottom and put in a dowel to keep the edge straight!

Here's a close up of the quilting while it is hanging:
I do really like the pops of colour.

And here it is hanging in the room I was thinking of:
I had been revamping our prayer room at church. It was four walls of painted cinder blocks and nothing else. The shelves only held books and a lot of tarnished and wax-covered brass candle holders. So I cleaned all the candle holders, made some storage on the left (behind the bit of curtain you can see), and lined the one wall with fabric (behind the shelves) to warm up the room.

Then I filled the shelves with more inspirational pieces, including a cross specially made for this room by a friend at church, and a couple of (fake) plants which make a big difference too. (They must look good because I've had more than one person ask me how they're going to survive in a room with no light!)

And I knew it needed some quilts on the walls to soften the space.

I worried this quilt was too "black" and dark for a prayer room, but my sister and cousin at the retreat reassured me that it would work.

After it was up, a friend said that all the coloured bits arranged like they were reminded her of the Tibetan prayer flags that are hung on a line and blow in the wind. And that's where the wall hanging got its name.

Project Summary: Prayer Flags Wall Hanging
Started: February 14, 2020
Finished: February 22, 2020 (or so)
Size: 34"x38"
Made from parts leftover from another quilt.
Cotton batting.
Quilted with wavy vertical lines done with a walking foot on my domestic machine.
Binding is hand stitched.
Last week I submitted this quilt to the Holland Tulip Festival quilt show, rushing to mail my application at the last minute. Only to be informed that the show had been cancelled. Of course. She is keeping the applications for next year, so no rushing in 2021--I am a year early!

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