Sunday, February 3, 2013

Madrona Road Quilt

Okay, post #2.  Let's fast forward a little in time to something more current.  I was super excited when the Modern Quilt Guild announced the next fabric challenge featuring Violet Craft's Madrona Road.  Not only did I love that line (I already had a fat quarter bundle purchased for another project), but I was thrilled to get to participate in a guild-wide challenge and push myself to make something that really represents me.

As a member of the Pittsburgh Modern Quilt Guild, we decided to participate.  I received my stack of lovelies in early December - a mix of fat quarters and fat eighths.  I really struggled with our theme - roads and bridges - but as I was flipping through my Crate and Barrel catalogue I was completely inspired by this rug.
Crate & Barrel Mavis rug
I wasn't entirely sure how I would make something like this, but at least I had an inspiration.  I went to my favorite local quilt shop, Wexford Dry Goods, to find some coordinating solids to go with the amazing prints in the Madrona Road Collection.  When I got home, I just decided to start cutting to see what I ended up with.  Here's what I got.

I was seriously questioning my ability to make this with my current skill set.  So I switched gears mid-game.  I had some lovely solids and textured solids (cross weaves, essex linen) in addition to the MR prints.  I just started cutting random width strips of fabric.  When I had a nice stack, I began creating "slabs" each with a variety of colors, widths, textures, values, and prints.  But now what....

I wish I could say that I was channeling our theme, but really I started laying out the fabrics to make something that had visual interest and that I liked.  In the beginning stages I tried laying my 12.5" squares in a nice grid but it looked so flat.

I added some strips of color and then posted the ideas so my peeps on Flickr could give me some ideas.

The ideas that I received were really fantastic and helped me to rethink the quilt top.  I hadn't thought of the idea of "having somewhere for your eye to rest" and maybe that's what I didn't like about my quilt.  I added a plain block of essex to allow for a resting space.  I also used the idea of using something like an alternate sashing with the bright colors to add more visual interest.  I also loved the idea of adding more diagonals.

See, when I think of it now, I originally laid out a grid for a city with a very boring road system. :)  I live in Pittsburgh, so all this order is so unlike my experience with roads and bridges.  The updated version really fits with the city that I live in.  Nothing really matches up; "you can't get there from here"; and bright beautiful bridges overlay the whole thing.  It's really perfect for the city I live in.

Now the back.  I decided to really go completely improv on the back (not that the front wasn't also completely improved, but I at least had a bit of a plan when I made the blocks).  I'm really proud of how it turned out.  Here was my original plan -

It was fun to try to figure out how to sew it all together to keep the original movement but eliminate the need for complicated y-seams and partial seams.  I accomplished this all with just straight line stitching. Perfect!

I used one of my favorite quilting designed that I learned from reading Oh, Fransson's site - these quilting patterns are all fantastic.  I really prefer all over FMQ designs and I think this one reminds me of driving around the 'Burgh.

In the end I really love this quilt  Both the front & the back, the quilting, and the Memoir print binding.  This quilt represents one type of quilting that really excites me and I want to practice more.  This puppy is going to be hung in my office at work.

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