SNOW WONKY (say it with a Scottish accent)
So here it is, our charity quilt to be exhibited at The Modern Quilt Guild's showcase event Quiltcon, made in aid of Alzheimers Scotland.
This year, Quiltcon is in The Music City, Nashville, Tennessee. As a few of us like honky tonk bars and margaritas we are going this year, yeehaaa.
We were keen to have an entry exhibited since we are travelling over 3500 miles plus the colour pallet was particularly appealing this year. It evoked our very own Scottish heather clad hills, hey, maybe we should have followed that idea up!?
So how did this quilt come about? After deciding to go for it we had a call for ideas on what kind of quilt did we want to make. After some debate and some powerpoint work by the vocal one who took the lead because there was no way she could get a quilt into Quiltcon herself (erm me!) we shortlisted these as:
- A simple small repeat block were the colour placement made the pattern,
- A sampler of small piecing blocks
- A bigger image constructed from small pieces
It all started as a scrawl. To be fair we did try to overcomplicate the scrawl adding all kinds of ideas from a vortex to who knows what...
Some of the guild visited the Festival of Quilts and we made a (sewing)beeline for the wonderful Simply Solids (now closed) who did a great job helping us match the colourway with this gorgeous bundle.
We scheduled our first sewing day, and it is a truth not denied that some of the team were nervous not having a pattern or anything other than a sketch to aim for. A secondary worry was small piecing. I was keen we all stretched ourselves and got something out of the process and hope we all had fun - even if I was treated like a victorian gangmaster 😇 I'm not the best at telling people what to do - honest!
We organised ourselves into colour squads - purples, pinks, greens, blues each borrowing strips from the previous team which would create an overlapping colourwash - kind of... maybe. It was very much a let's see what happens.
I'd calculated the need for 660 3" blocks, if we were to piece the whole top - this was not the original idea! We were going to piece the colour then have vast swathes of neutral space. As we built the blocks up it became obvious that 0.5m each of the colour was not going to be enough to do the colour across the top. So we changed direction to a radiation of colour from the corner.
After sewing day number 1 it felt like we had over committed. Great progress but so many more blocks were needed. At this point we rationed out the Kona "Snow" and many great people wonkied that snow up a storm! There were fabric drops around the region and wonky crosses came back, so many wonky snow on snow - hundreds.
After the 2nd sewing day we got a lot pieced but the real challenge was bringing the last colour band in. The recurring challenge of not having a real plan was never having enough fabric! Half a metre of the pale blue just wasn't enough to stretch along the outline of the bloom (or planetary transact, or ovary, or explosion!). A couple of more short sessions saw these gaps disappear as if the quilt was growing unaided into the spaces.
Finally, the lovely @mybearpaw Jo Avery let us finish the top in her studio - we needed the space! People dropped in throughout the day to fill the small gaps we had left and bring it all together into one very large flimsy! It was at this point we realised, erm, it wasn't wide enough - luckily we had all those snow blocks. So we added a couple of columns to the right landing at 720 blocks!
At this point in Snow Wonky's recorded history I am redacting how badly I put the top together (picture above)!
Suffice to say, it turns out if you have 719 blocks at about 3.5" (unfinished) and 1 block at 4.5" unfinished pieced into the centre of the quilt it doesn't work so well. There will be natural variation in seams, cutting, piecing when 24 people have contributed blocks. This gives you a challenge.
But when one of your members is totally awesome and patient (if you didn't hear the swearing there wasn't any swearing right?) you do end up with an amazing finish. Thanks to @the_orriginal Kelly she brought order to the chaos, smoothed the wavy wonky wonder and quilted it into submission!
So now Snow Wonky has landed in Austin, Texas to hang with the other wonderful Quiltcon Charity quilts. We can't wait to be reunited on the 21st February.
Made with love.....
- 720 3" blocks
- c72"x90" in size - though I forgot to measure it!
- 3.2kg in weight
- 10 Kona colours (0.5m each)
- Candy Green
- Noble Purple
- Blush Pink
- A shed load of Kona "Snow"
- c194,000 quilting stitches
- 24 people involved