Project Wünderkind = Project Phoenix

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This project has changed so many times, and I keep finding fabric that I want to incorporate – somehow. Editing has taken a back seat to whim and fancy. Reason was thrown out the window weeks ago. I’m just going with the flow, and boy, is it scary!

This quilt started off with the idea to represent a far away galaxy from a video game. I bought lots of Stonehenge from Sew Sisters, sand colours for the terrain, blue-ish green for the planets, deep blues for the night sky. I love Stonehenge, the fabric FEELS scrumptious. But then, I changed gears and wanted to do something “techie”. I bought reds, and greens, more blue (!), lots of batiks with geometric patterns.

Then I read Daniel’s blog (Piece and Press). This guy is incredible. Go check out the dinosaur. I’m inspired. This is the challenge I’ve been looking for. But I have no idea how he does this… so I google around, and discover that this is called raw edge reverse appliqué. A couple of YouTube tutorials later, I’m 150% sure I can do this.

So I dive in. head first. ha! what was I thinking? I should have bought that plane ticket to Oakland, and signed up for one of his classes. Raw edge reverse appliqué is time consuming. But more importantly, raw edge reverse appliqué scaled up is really really hard to pull off. [Daniel needs to have a Surgeon General’s Warning pasted on those gorgeous quilts].

I created a paper template of the figure I wanted to represent. I used free software on the web to scale up a digital image to produce a printable PDF – it prints a portion of each image on 8.5×11 paper. Mine was 7×5 = 35 sheets. I numbered the sheets, and taped them together to create the massive template.

I patchworked a scrappy look quilt top of blue fabric – random rectangles and squares of fabric. Then I did a second quilt top using strips of red, yellow and orange – different lengths and widths.

I sandwiched it all together – paper template on top of blue quilt top, with the red underneath the other two layers, and all layers sandwiched with right sides facing up.

Then I sewed through all the layers, using small stitches with blue top thread. I followed the edges of the template. This was really hard to maneuver under a small sewing machine. I ended up working top to bottom, from the edges inwards, which sewing gurus will chastise me for… but I promise, there was no way I could get the fabric/paper sandwich under the machine throat in the centre! As I sewed, i kept ripping away the paper to reduce the bulk. I also did have to stitch in reverse mode on the sewing machine at certain points to complete this step.

After sewing, I carefully ripped the paper away, using tweezers to get at those pesky small bits that get wedged under the stitches. Despite my best efforts, I did loosen some of the stitching, so had to repair those areas with a second round of machine stitching. sigh.

Now the scary bit – cutting away the blue quilt top to reveal the underneath quilt top. I used a seam ripper to make the first incision, but some advice – please (please, please) switch to an appliqué scissors once the hole is made! The seam ripper was doing a good job, until I realized it was catching and ripping through the bottom layer at points. sigh.

I had to make a side trip to my local quilt store with a “quilting emergency” – Judy helped me find the right interfacing to lay on the underside of those rips to stabilize the fabric so I could repair it.

Here’s the kicker. I realise that I absolutely don’t like the raw edges. So I satin stitched the whole thing to conceal the edges. That took hours. and hours. But it helped hide the repaired bits beautifully 😉

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So now I’m at the part where I can cut away the parts of the underneath quilt that don’t show (to reduce bulk) and the continue on to finish the quilt top. Hoping to finish the quilt top this weekend.

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