It all started out innocently enough. One day back in February, I was "playing" in my sewing room and came across a sample of a dimensional bow tie block that a quilting acquaintance had shown me how to do about a year ago. I decided to try it. It turned out to be simple. The third of three seams was a bit fiddly......
.............but I soon mastered it.
So I made a few more.............
And then a few more..........
An idea was forming....It was so easy to make, and I've always liked Bow Tie, so I thought I'd make a new throw quilt for the back of the sofa. The one that currently lives there is ancient. And faded. It was the first quilt I ever made. Trip Around The World. I've known for some time now that the trip was over, quite a while ago, for this particular quilt. But the cat likes to perch on it on the back of the sofa, and the menfolk like to tease the cat by moving their fingers around under the quilt and tantalizing him. Who knows what goes on in his feline brain when they do this. All I know is that it causes great hilarity [we are easily amused in these parts!] and also some little rips in the quilt. So, in addition to "ancient," and "faded," it can also say on its resume that it is "tattered." Not shabby chic. Just plain shabby.
Bow ties to the rescue! I had perfected the technique and could pop out a finished block in just under five minutes. My cunning plan was that to use a variety of light background fabrics and a different medium or dark for each bow tie. This is what saved me. Making the same block over and over has limited charms. Dying of boredom is not the way I want to go. I became reacquainted with all the little bits and pieces in my stash, and even rediscovered some fabrics I'd forgotten about!. Each block was like making a mini quilt, the most fun part being matching up each background with a new bow tie fabric.
Before long I had enough bow ties to cover a small country. Whoa! Let's not get carried away here. So I stopped and laid them out to have a look.[see photo above.]
Before I sewed them together I decided to move them around to see what other effects I could get.......
Hmmmm. Interesting. I would have to think about this for a while. Let it simmer, as it were, on the mental back burners. While it was simmering I went, one weekend in March, to a quilt show. And saw this:
Interestinger and interestinger! Close up inspection revealed that this design resulted from alternating bow tie blocks with nine patches. I went home, head buzzing, and started making scrappy nine patch blocks.
Now we were getting somewhere!
To pin all those blocks on that design wall I had to climb up and down from my [fortunately] sturdy table, over and over again, pins clamped between determined lips. I would climb up to rearrange some blocks, then climb down to get the overall effect from the other side of the room. And people think us quilters get no exercise! Dissatisfied, I'd have to climb up again, over and over, until finally I was happy with the distribution of colours. Time to stitch them all together before I had a chance to change my mind again!
And here's my quilt top. I'm happy, but not done yet. There's a small matter of borders, both to make it bigger and also to frame it.
Nice blue, don't you think? I wasted no time getting the borders on as I don't trust that I've chosen well until I see it stitched onto the quilt. But now I'm confident I chose really well. I love it!
The day may yet come that I plan a quilt from start to finish, on paper, before making that first cut or taking that first stitch. Meanwhile I'm quite content letting the quilt gods whisper in my ear at every step of the process. Sometimes I am more surprised than anyone at the results! I never agonize at the outset about what I will use as a border or what kind of sashing I need. It's too early for all that I am confident that all will be revealed in the fullness of time!. Without a set of rigid ideas, the quilt will tell me in what direction it wants to go......It's more exciting that way. I like going into my sewing room and not knowing quite what will happen.
Sometimes I'm happy with the results; sometimes not quite; this time I am delighted
Of course it's not finished yet! But I do already have a couple of options for backing..........Meantime, every time I look at it, I smile!