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40.5 Ladders and Bubbles metamorphosis

January 31, 2017

As the new year starts, I have found myself gravitated towards a project that I originally conceived of in 2011. A simple paper piecing project with alternating blocks. Hung in strips. 

While the picture below might be the quilt in the middle of its cocoon form, it had very different origins.

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The idea for this quilt started with a sheet I picked up at goodwill, and some scraps of some leftover blue jeans. I had a soft yellow sheet that would have made a good contrast with the thick heavy denim.

I wanted to make a quilt that combined the two types of fabrics. 

I started out seeing a picture or two of denim quilts online that were of a stained glass window type. Ones with wildly varying shades of denim, ones with denim squares and rectangles, surrounded by lots of black fabrics.

A comment I read somewhere in 2011 was that two layers of denim were hard to sew together because the seams were too thick.

In preparation for this quilt, I searched for darker denim, and even scored some light pink denim from somewhere. 

While this project was originally designed with denim in mind, I had a lot of fun in Electric Quilt trying to figure this quilt out. I have 42 different electric quilts in this project file. Most are variations of blues with black sashing/ stained glass, and light pink. The bottom picture below shows the original pretty pale yellow bedsheet.

More and more I thought against using the yellow bedsheet, as the texture would be different in the bedsheet area than the rest of the quilt. I also started to hear about quilts made with sheets.

sampledenimprojectseq7

I noticed that I started gravitating towards two distinct versions of the quilt – the slanted ladder, and the alternating blocks that used vertical ladders.

I created one of the vertical ladder blocks. It looked good, but the block edges looked thick. And maybe this quilt was going to be heavy and hot. 

I even was able to purchase some non-jean denim of the darker blue type. I could use the dark blue denim as a consistent background fabric for many different values of blue jeans.

One of the designs started to emerge more and more in my electric quilt that seemed to suggest instead of a steady fabric, more of an “I Spy” quilt with lots of different fabrics that could even be showcased in the middle of the block.

So now maybe this quilt would use denim as a background fabric, with non denim fabrics in a more prominent way. But many many of the designs I liked still had a denim on denim seam in between the blocks. It would be hard to get around that without adding sashing. Which in the quilt I liked the most, would ruin the graphical effect.

During one of the sales of an online fabric company, I found some beautiful “denim like / denim colored” fabric on a nice sale, and I purchased enough of this fabric for a consistent background. 

Between the avoidance of the denin on denim seams, and my new denim colored consistent background, I started thinking about replacing all the denim in my quilt for all cotton fabrics. Playing on one idea for the quilt, stringing it together.

I then drew up this quilt in EQ7.

denim-quilt-of-many-colors-bulbs

 This quilt sort of has none of the elements that I started with except for the dark outlines that mimic a stained glass window. No bedsheet, no denim, pink or otherwise. No dark blue consistent background denim either.

So maybe this is the same quilt, maybe it is not? 

It was so different from my original name of my quilt when I started taking pictures of it again, I didn’t even remember what I called it on my files.

For the last few weekends, I have been working on one row at a time.
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My fabrics I actually chose a year ago just prior to the retreat I attended in February 2016, and it was sorta the last project I worked on there as the last day thing to jump start the next project. 

I have since been trading out fabric for better row color match or better quality of fabrics. 

Some of the pictures are even up on my new design wall.

This was before the design wall was hanging up.

Some in progress pictures of each row. Here’s how I start on the ladder pieces. Washable Elmer glue. I also pre-fold the paper before using. 

And the bulbs being glued down below.

The bulbs are large octogon pieces with black on the sides. I had forgotten the order to sew in when I first picked this block back up after a year off. So of course I forgot to sew the sides first. I mean, why look at the order on the back?

I am glad I work in batches. So I didn’t have to seam rip all those seams for all the colored rows.

Actually the paper is still on the backs of these blocks, so when I show them on my design wall, know they are pinned to it.

Above I am previewing the green.

I am pretty sure that I had knocked over the design wall before putting the green row on.

Anyway, now I am putting together these cuties in a tub to with me to the retreat next week to finish up and sew together into a top. Several more rows to go.

I am beginning to think that I may never make a full denim quilt. I did get rid of several fabrics in the last year I hadn’t made any move to use. I believe that the pink denim was removed from my stash.

So I want to thank you for listening to a story of a quilt that either never was, or has changed so much in the interim that is no longer recognized by the owner as exactly the same quilt as it started to become. Metamorphosis in action! 

3 comments

  1. Yeah Darla … love the quilt pictures you are posting … isn’t it nice to have a design wall. Mine is temporary but I am hoping to make a more permanent design wall in the sewing storage area. Looking forward to MARCH ALONG …
    .


  2. I love this design! I’m really drawn to this kind of stained-glass look.


  3. it is a lovely design. I think that designs evolve and change as part of the creative process. I think our subconscious chugs away whilst we are working on other things and so when we come back to it our ideas have shifted. I have made denim quilt and have a heap of fabric left over that I hope to one day make another but for the moment its just sitting there. I love the stained glass effect .



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