Quilters Lead Pieceful Lives.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Shimmering Spectrum

My neighbor commissioned me to make a wall hanging for his downtown Chicago office. He wanted something "colorful but not wild, and not 3D". I did some web surfing and found a dozen or so patterns for his review. He picked one called "Through the Lattice".  I have made over 140 quilts, and would you believe that this one and my previous one (Mandeville Kaleidoscope) are the only two that have used charm packs!?!?!?! What are the odds?

So, like the previous one, the basis of this quilt is a pack of pre-cut fabrics. But whereas Mandeville's were shades of all solids, this one features a really unique and fascinating set of fabs.

There are 7 rows of 9 columns each, a total of 63 blocks. Overall, they make a beautiful spectrum, going from dark on the left to light on the right. But wait! There's more!!!

If you zoom in and look closely, you will see that the 7 fabrics in each column are all the same pattern! That is, while the colors change, the pattern of the fabric is the same. Moving across, you can see that each row has the same hue; only the value changes as you go left to right. And the final, really amazing thing, is that each and every square has highlights of gold! That's where the "shimmer" comes from!!

So it was really a godsend that they all came pre-selected.....can you imagine trying to find and organize something like this on your own? (ALERT: that was a rhetorical question. It would obviously be extremely hard to do!). 

The actual block piecing process was also quite similar to the one used in Mandeville. In this one, I had to take each charm piece and cut it diagonally. For half the blocks I then sewed the pieces back together with a black strip in between. Then (gulp!), I cut that sewn set on the other diagonal, and re-sewed it together with a white strip. The other half of the blocks was done in the same way, but reversing when the black and white strips were used. So when arranged, the black strips go seamlessly (quilting humor!) from right to left, and the white ones do the same from left to right.

So with all these colors, how to quilt it? Initially I thought I would do stipling in the colored parts of the blocks with gold thread. This would highlight / reinforce the gold speckles throughout. But doing so would mean that the colored parts were sewed "down" and the diagonals would be "puffed up". I definitely did not want to add any emphasis to those diagonals. So, like many times before, I decided to use clear monofilament thread. I ditched along the diagonal seams. Strictly functional (and basically invisible) on the front. 

But it makes for a beautiful pattern on the back!

(That strip at the top is the hanging sleeve.)