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Class Quilt Anguish

As I’ve documented, I’ve been going around and around with the class quilt for Stitched in Color’s Handstitched Class.  I think I’ve FINALLY settled on a plan, so enjoy a meander through my design process–with pictures!

The teacher’s version of the class quilt is called Modern Medallion and features lots of colors and prints (including one main large print at the center of the medallion), as well as a round densely embroidered with perle cotton (thicker and glossier than embroidery floss).  The main motifs are dogwood blossoms.  This quilt is lovely, as are many of her students’ variations.

I started off gung-ho about it, central medallion and all, though I decided to do a greyscale version.  I picked fabrics.  I couldn’t decide on a white center for the medallion or not, so I made two.  I hated both of them.  I thought I figured out a new motif for the central medallion, but it didn’t work, so I decided on a circle with a featured print, but I had no suitable print so I ordered a few and hoped for the best.

Boring Print in Circle HP

See how the print in the middle doesn’t grab you at all?  Also, I decided fairly early on to replace the fragile embroidery of the class quilt with English Paper Piecing (surprise), since if I ever finish this quilt, it’ll get heavy use as my couch blanket.  I love the corner 2″ Drunkard’s Path blocks (I made my own pieces for these, but they came together so well that I ordered more for the future since cutting them out precisely is no fun)–this was my first curved piecing of any kind, but the “jewels” (which I also drew, printed, and cut my own pattern for) centered in each row just don’t have enough contrast.  I also don’t love that splatter star low-volume fabric for this quilt.  The fabrics on the top are part of my ebay haul.  I thought I might need more variety, since I decided to embrace prints.

One of the prints that I ordered did have a motif that fit in the opening, but it was on a black background, so I used a blanket stitch to add some definition to the fact that it’s reverse applique:

Flower Medallion HPBetter, but it didn’t thrill me, and there still wasn’t enough contrast or interest in the EPP row.  Also, the circle is very slightly off-center, which might bother me over time.  Short story: I didn’t keep it as the center, but I also didn’t rip it apart.  I think I might make a pillow out of it, since I need practice installing an invisible zipper anyway.

Because I was iffy about the prints, I also ordered papers for two full 12″ EPP  blocks, Carpenter’s Wheel and Chrysanthemum Octagon.  I’d been choosing fabrics based on a flowery theme, so I thought the flower in the middle might pull it all together, but I also really, really like the lines of the Carpenter’s Wheel (look at it greyscale!).  Drumroll:

Chrysanthemum HPI decided on the chrysanthemum.  Sorry for the terrible photo; it’s very much a shot I took in haste to illustrate my process.

The light and dark grey petals didn’t work–too much contrast for it to read as a flower.  The black and dark grey worked much better (the photo doesn’t show the colors accurately).  The grey leaf in the corner works well as a lighter grey, but I still don’t like the starry-speckle white fabric.  I also HATE that fabric on the central octagon.  I don’t hate the fabric in general, but it doesn’t work at all with these other fabrics or for the feel of this quilt.

After much basting and testing and tracing new paper pieces and cutting and basting and sorrow, which I will spare you (and I didn’t take pictures of any more of it), I got to:

Chrysanthemum Medallion HPAgain, the colors aren’t true, though that white round is WHITE.  I’m happy with it.  I don’t super-love it and you might notice that the central octagon is now nice pieces, but it’s okay.  I’m sure it will grow on me and it’ll match the EPP round.

I’m very excited to have finally made a decision (and gotten everything basted and even a little sewn together), and I think the fabric choices for the rest of the quilt are becoming much more obvious for me.  Also, these points are the sharpest I’ve ever EPPed, so I’m learning in this block, too, besides all of the color (well, value, since it’s all black/white/grey) theory I’m soaking up by trial and error.

I’m going to call this quilt “Midnight Garden” and will update tags on the previous posts when I have time.