Quilting Project In Progress

I am not an experienced or diligent quilter, rather, I’m a total dilettante with some basic art & design training background.

This fall I decided I wanted to make a fabric art/quilted wall hanging for over my fireplace because I couldn’t find one I wanted. It had to be attractive, but relatively easy. After lots of looking at designs, I chose the below one, from an excellent book, Color: The Quilter’s Guide, by Christine Barnes.

Original Quilt Design

I decided to do it on a much smaller, wall-hanging scale, and had help analyzing the design and selecting the fabrics. Still, I screwed up – but I’m going to share that with y’all, so you can learn from a newbie’s design mistakes.

I liked the asymmetrical setting, the broken wall, on the original design. I liked the way it popped and combined strip quilting with crazy quilting. I didn’t care so much for the plain brown setting fabric, nor for the blue/brown combination. I also like pattern – even subtle pattern that reads as solid from a distance – so I was determined to add my own spin on the design.

We figured we needed a range of dark fabrics for the crazy quilt blocks, light & bright fabrics for the intervening strips, and a near-solid for the backing.

That’s what I did – but my end result was far too *busy* – colorful, heavily patterned, and middle-value. Below are pictures of the finished crazy quilt strips (I cheated and used a technique called “crazy 9-patch”) and the fabric I had selected for the strips & backing. It just plain doesn’t work together.

Crazy 9 Patch Strips
Strip & Backing Fabric

The burgundy/brown/gold scheme of the crazy 9-patch squares looks like a totally different quilt from the green and orange backing fabric.

What I need to do from here, I think, is shop. Isn’t that the answer to everything? Each individual set works well on its own, just not together. The crazy 9-patch strips would work fine with more neutral, earth-toned solid, light-valued strip fabric setting them off. And the green/orange fabrics would be very pretty as setting and strip separators for calmer, sunny, neutral quilt blocks.

What did work well was the amazing antique Singer Featherweight on long-term, permanent loan to me from my wonderful mother. After all these decades – it was probably made before WWII – it still ticks along like clockwork and made stitching up the first section of this project a breeze.

Singer Featherweight

5 Responses to “Quilting Project In Progress”

  1. Vince Says:

    The mere fact that you are able to make a quilt is, to me, amazing. That’s a lot of work to make one, period.

  2. Random Michelle Says:

    I love the machine. My mom just got the one I gave her restored to a treadle.

    I think the thing about crazy quilts is they are so busy patternwise, they need solid colors or very subdued colors, to keep the whole thing from, being overwhelming.

    And I have to say that is a very ambitious quilt for a first attempt!

  3. Bill Says:

    Does the Singer have a tag on it that says where it was made? Singer had a big factory in the town where I was born, Auburn, NY. I think it was a primary manufacturing facility around the time that was made.

  4. WendyB_09 Says:

    Looks a lot like my grandmother’s machine I learned to sew on many years ago. I’m sure it still works, although it hasn’t been used in years. The cabinet is a fine furniture piece and sits in the living room at my parents’ house at the moment.

  5. Quilting Board Says: