While working on my quilt for the Modern Quilt Along, I frequently wondered if the name for the project, Unfinished Business, was a curse. I knew that my husband had chosen the most difficult pattern in the book, but I'm a reasonably confident quilter, and the difficulty level didn't intimidate me... at first. Selecting the fabrics was somewhat challenging, largely because my chosen colors (greys) were not very common in any of the shops I visited. It was also a bit difficult for me to step away from buying only fabrics I *love*, and instead choosing fabrics because they would work with the pattern. For this quilt, I purchased and used many fabrics I didn't particularly like, placing my trust in the pattern itself and haivng faith that I would be happy with the end result.
Cutting the fabric strips and irregular shapes was easy, if time consuming, and beginning the piecing wasn't too bad. This was the calm before the storm... The real headaches with the pattern came when it was time to begin joining the "blocks" (and I use that word very loosely because these aren't blocks in the traditional sense - each one is totally unique). Because I wanted to be somewhat thrifty with my fabric, joining the pieces was like a giant puzzle. I tried to match pieces that would best fit together without a lot of fabric waste while also trying to keep a lot of variety (of fabrics, shapes, sizes) in each of the blocks. I cursed my way through the first "row" of the quilt, but learned some lessons along the way. The next rows came more and more quickly, and by the fourth row, I really felt as if I knew what I was doing.
Because the fabrics are not all joined parallel or perpendicular to the grain, this quilt is pretty squirrely to work with - lots of stretch and wiggling. Squaring up each row was scary (am I cutting "straight"?!?), and the moment of truth came when all the rows were joined... is it square? are the sides straight? Thanks to lots of double and triple and quadruple measuring, the finished top was pretty square.
I decided to quilt as it was shown in the book. I selected random, irregular "blocks" and free-motion quilted concentric rectangles within the block. I didn't try to quilt straight lines (really!), and I wanted them to be funky, irregularly spaced, and full of motion - much like the patchwork itself. I used 4 different color threads (in the bobbin too) to closely match the overall value of each row. But because I was using the same colors of thread on the front and back of the quilt, the quilting thread changes on the back and is more or less apparent depending on the area of the quilt. I didn't bind the quilt, but used the knife-edge technique to close the sides. Rather than topstitching by machine, I handstitched it closed using the ladder stitch.
front of quilt
quilt back is a fantastic fabric from Lonni Rossi's typospheres collection. I love the greys and flashes of metallic silver - perfect for this quilt! I pieced the back in 4 segments that match the 4 segments on the front.
Here are some detail shots:
So glad it's finally finished, and so pleased with the final results. This one has been a long time coming, and I learned a ton in the process. I feel so much more confident as a quilter now... but I think I'm going to work on something a bit simpler for a bit!