Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sneaking a peek

As I think I've hinted, I have been struggling lately. It hasn't been so much the lack of quilting, but the lack of time to work on my own work. Finally, finally, the for-hire work is gone, and my time is my own. What a blessing!

Of course my first priority should be housekeeping, but I haven't been so good in that department this week. Instead, I took the time to piece together a quilt top that I began last year at Asilomar. This was my second class with Ruth McDowell. The woman is a genius!!!

She is an amazing teacher who specializes in piecing. We're not talking piecing quilt blocks, we're talking piecing pictorial quilts. Her work takes my breath away. The first time I saw it, I thought, "THAT is the kind of quilting I would love to be doing!" I had no idea what was involved. It is time intensive, but it is oh, so rewarding!!!

Last March I began a 6' x 4' piece, depicting white water rafting. It was inspired by a family excursion to the upper Kaweah - where the rapids were class 5. Two weeks earlier, they had been class 6, which means they cannot be navigated. The water was wild, no doubt about it.

Our guide assured us that "one of you will fall in," and the last thing I wanted to do that day was even put my foot in the raft. But we needed every body, and I was not allowed to back out.

I fell out twice, before we'd gone 20 yards. It was terrifying.

There is much more to the story, but I will spare you. Suffice it to say that I now have a bit of a fixation with reproducing rivers in fabric.

This is a close-up of the rafters that Ruth drafted for me. I struggled for HOURS, trying to make the people sew-able, but was unsuccessful. She suggested throwing people out of the boat, but I'd already done that. When I started to explain how important this and that detail were, she said, "Be quiet and let me think!!!" She sat and stared at what I'd sketched, then began drawing lines. ohmygosh!! The people began emerging, and my rafters looked like rafters!!

By the end of the week, I had this little section all sewn together. It is about 8" x 12", and I believe it has about 84 pieces. whew!!!

It wasn't until a few months ago that I noticed that I had sewn a piece wrong.

By then, it was deep into the quilt-top. arg. what to do?

Yesterday I picked out the wayward triangle. If you look at the first picture, you will see turquoise raft instead of water, under the rafter's arm. oops. Yesterday I fixed it.

Isn't this much better? It gives you a sense of how small that little raft is compared to the raging river. (By the way, I'm the one in red, getting ready for my first plunge.)

I also put a piece of lining behind the paddle blade, to eliminate the shadowing seen in the first picture. Much, much better.

I am booked for the rest of the weekend, but on Monday I plan to sew the final seam in the quilt. I will add the remaining paddles and handles, and then baste it for quilting. I can hardly wait! :)

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