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I have finally finished the "William Morris" quilt I started playing with sometime early last year.  Wow, that long ago huh?  It has been a bit of a rocky path but I think the end result is something rather lovely, even if I didn't plan it to look this way in the start.  That's what I love about quilting, it really is an art form in the way the colours and shapes have to speak to you and have room to have a life of their own.  You can impose some sort of structure or idea but they will have their own way in the end...This is a good example of this.

The quilt started as a layer cake of Moda William Morris prints.  I liked the idea of having a small amount of a wide range of fabrics to give variety but it turned out to be a bit of a curse.  First of all I am a perfectionist when it comes to cutting and while layer cake squares are meant to be 10" square it turned out that there was quite a bit of variation (we are talking 2/8 or 3/8 of an inch here) in size it meant I had to do quite a bit of easing in the seams to make things square up as much as possible.  On top of that it took me a while to get my head around what were the light fabrics and which were the darks.  Initially I was too inexperienced and handled things a bit gauchly resulting in the great unpicking of 2010 and a pile of large triangles sitting forlornly in my "to do" box.  I had made the triangles too large and tried to be too "matchy" with my lights and darks which resulted in too little variation all round.

When I came back to it a couple of months ago I started from scratch, pressing and then cutting each triangle in half so I got 4 triangles from each square instead of 2.  I then set about pairing lights and darks more randomly which meant what was light in one pairing might be a dark in another so I got into the zone with this and accepted that was what the fabric called for.  I had in mind a pinwheel block with light and dark contrast as I wanted some movement in the overall design.  This is technically what I made but the interesting thing was when I arranged the blocks on my design board the pattern which jumped out was more broken dishes than pinwheel.  Something about the darks being more forceful maybe?  Anyway, I went with it and the final quilting follows the diagonal lines rather than emphasising the straight ones.

The biggest hurdle was the border.  I had initially sewn all of the blocks together to form the quilt top with the intention of putting a border or double border around the outside but when I auditioned fabrics for the border it really killed the movement and flow of the eye around the blocks.  Weird.  No matter what colour or pattern I tried the result was a failure.  Apart from cream, which sort of worked but only as a narrow border and that just looked odd on such a bold quilt.  Until I placed it one row in and making the outside rows of blocks the outer border.  Which meant unpicking the outside blocks...*sigh*.  Looking at the result though I think it was really worth it.

The back of the quilt is unusually plain for me, actually made from a single bed sheet it is a perfect match for the darkest blue in the front.  I thought about piecing a back which has sort of become my signature but I think it would have been overwhelming as the front is so detailed.  Similarly for the binding - I picked the most neutral of the Morris tones (the creams) and made a binding from strips of that.  Once again I had auditioned blues and initially even considered a repeat of the cream border as binding but that somehow restricted the flow again and so I rejected it.

So now it is done.  Finished in a way I had no vision of to begin with, which is kind of odd but nice.  Ready to gift to my father for his birthday. :)

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That is just stunning! I love impromptu/grow crafts the vest.

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