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Strips That Sizzle

November 7, 2006

Since the colder weather’s been around a while, I decided to put the quilt back on our bed when I changed the sheets this weekend. I figured I’d share it here, too, since I haven’t quite gotten any new quilts done lately. (Though I did make some excellent progress this weekend, quilting in turn with clear monofilament, rayon in six different colors, and variegated cotton.) So here it is, the quilt that lives on our bed about half the year. It’s hard to get a good picture of because it’s so big, about 87 inches long by 98 inches wide. I can’t just put it up on the felt wall and point and shoot.

This quilt was my second attempt to make a quilt for our bed after we moved into our house. The first was a symphony in calico (by which I mean ditsy little mostly floral prints, not plain muslin, which is what I’d mean by calico if I were from England) that I still have in my UFO pile. I was just about ready to baste it in preparation for quilting by hand when I took the Color & Cloth class that I talked about a few weeks ago, an experience which really opened my eyes to using different types of prints and made this quilt seem so uninteresting that I just couldn’t motivate myself to finish it.

I gave up on that calico mess and some time later started this quilt, based on the book Strips That Sizzle by Margaret J. Miller. I decided on purples and yellows because those are my (purple) and Mr.’s (yellow, more specifically yellow orange) favorite colors. I covered the guest bed with all the possible fabrics and cut lots and lots of strips of different widths, which I hung on a drying rack next to the sewing machine so I could easily mix and match as I stitched them together. I played with the blocks on the wall for a long time before I settled on this layout, with the warmer purples on one side moving to cooler ones on the other. The best decision I made was to quilt it in three sections rather than try to wrestle the whole thing under the machine at once. I finished it in April, 1995. Our bed isn’t quite the same size now as it was then, so it doesn’t hang as nicely as I’d like but I’m not contemplating making another big quilt like this anytime soon.

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