Saturday, May 19, 2018

Mermaid Baby One Patch Finish

Mermaid's Song

Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

~John Donne, 1613

Check out the rest of the poem, and a brief analysis at Interesting Literature. If you've heard bits of this without knowing the rest, it will make much more sense.

Let's Talk About the Fabrics

I have to tell you that I tend not to buy novelty fabrics. I'm drawn to large floral prints, ikat, stripes, and so on, but few prints I would term cutesy. The exception is mermaids, and if I see fabric or fabric line with a mermaid theme, at least a little bit goes home with me. I have never used any of it until now, and this is a good lesson of why I should dig into into it more. I like what it did with this little quilt.

What a Print Can Do for You 

Look at the movement they make swimming across this quilt, The design is only a simple diagonal one patch, but the mermaids carry it. Most quilters don't have a formal background in design, and that's true for me, too, but I tried to reason why this works. Bear with me if you see something else, but...

One: The diagonal positioning is the biggest factor. Diagonals pull our eye corner to corner, and simply stated, that is less usual. We read and scan side to side. We see the line on the horizon, hence the term horizontal. Vertical lines in our world are trees, edges of building, and even the stripes in the road stretching out in front of us as tall, vertical lines. But those diagonals are less familiar, and they make us take notice, and say, "Oh, that's different," and we gaze a little longer. The diagonal effect is twofold here. The blocks run diagonally, and the mermaids within the print are positioned in opposing diagonal directions.

Two: The only other fabrics within the quilt with a medium-large print are the navy with rounded figures and low contrast, and orange dots that run vertically. The vertical oriented dot pattern adds stability and regularity, and I think it is important in the overall design.

Clam Shell Quilting

This was my first go at using this clam shell ruler. It's quite long so truly made to do long repeats across a quilt top. The mermaid print gives this quilt directionality, a top and bottom, and I made my shells appear with rounded tops. I could have just as well turned the ruler to look like waves, though, I think, and that would have also been fun, but a very different look.

What I wasn't prepared for when I took this off the frame was what this regular, but looser quilt would do for the feel of the quilt. It was crushable, fluid, and different than any other quilting I've done. I'm all about texture, and hate stiffness. This is fabulous, and I have to another one to see if it's just the quilting that created that cushiness. Oh, how tempted I am to keep this one! Warm & Natural batting makes it perfect for both summer and winter use.

Pieced Backing

The orange Omni thread pops!

Binding Choices

All along I thought I would use the stripe on the right edge. It had all the right colors, but didn't do anything for me once I saw this quilt done. 

Then I tried the orange on the top corner, and it was too strong. 

The blue felt too dark. This needed a pop of bright color. I like to see a binding and backing pull in prints that aren't used in the quilt itself, but this time I only got the backing different.

I turned back to one of the orange prints in the quilt.
The dot works almost like a stripe here.

Machine Stitched Binding Trick

You will find machine stitched binding on the majority of my quilts. Why? Well, frankly my dear, I don't...

No, really. I don't care to sit through a whole evening or several binding a quilt by hand. It's hard on my shoulder and back, too. Do you only cut your binding thread 12"-15"? Do you know if it's much longer the action of pulling that thread through the fabric again and again wears on it? It loses strength, and will not hold up as well. Also, we all get weary of making tiny, identical binding stitches.

My binding is cut fairly narrow, 1.75"-2" depending on the quilt. I sew one edge to the back of my quilt first using a shorter stitch length, 2.0 mm. Then I press the other edge in to meet the seam line, not the edge. Fold and miter toward the front. Sew from the front on the very edge with a matching thread and bobbin thread. In this case, a very pale pink Aurifil. And ta-dah....

It's a wrap, and a neat back to boot.
Check back for this quilt listed for sale next week.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Thank you! As a new quilter this post had a lot of great information. The quilt is lovely.
xx, Carol

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Love the mermaids. I haven't made a simple one patch quilt in a long time. I forgot how good they look.

Sandy Panagos said...

Wow, that's cute! The clamshells are perfect not only with the theme, but they also soften all those straight lines. Well done!