Sand and Sea

>> Friday, July 6, 2012

Some fabrics are more challenging to design with than others. I picked up the block-y, stripey fabric at the Crate & Barrel outlet over a year ago. Of all the fabrics that comprised my 7-pound haul, this was the one that stumped me the most. I couldn't figure out what fabrics would work with it (sure, white would be fine, but it seemed a little boring) and I wasn't sure how it would work in a block,simple or complex. Did the lines need to be straight? If so, there was a problem, because I quickly realized it was impossible to true-up the fabric on the grain and keep the printed lines straight.

About 6 weeks ago, I was using a (generously gifted) groupon at G-Street Fabrics, which was a little tough because their cotton print selection is not, shall we say, all that modern and their solids shelves lacked the obvious suspects such as Kona white, ash, or coal (weird, right?). When my eyes fell upon Bella Solid Wheat, I knew I had a solution to the Marimekko stripe challenge. It may not be the most "modern" of combinations, but it works.

Google Reader helped solve the block conundrum, as I read about Lu Summers teaching a workshop on portholes at the recent Fat Quarterly retreat. While my nomadic life took me many places this spring, it did not plop me down in London for this retreat (surprisingly, the Queen didn't invite me to her Jubilee which occurred the same weekend). But the interwebz are very powerful and led me to Jodie's tutorial, which served my needs perfectly.

I made 10 basic portholes, altering the direction of the stripey fabric in a few different ways. Once I started making the portholes, the rest of the table runner design arrived in my brain. With my predilection for negative space, it should not be shocking that the runner would have a row of sea glass portholes surrounded by sand (or, technically wheat, in which case perhaps there is a clear river running through a wheat field?). The landscape metaphors need not be stretched beyond their means; suffice it to say that a good chunk of the 2 yards of wheat fabric disappeared into this project.

At one point I thought I might make 4 coordinating napkins, except that the remnant pieces were too small. But pieced together, they became the back.

At first I thought I'd just do a little wavy line quilting in one section of the solid area. Then I started, and two bobbins later, I had done a lot of wavy-line quilting in all the solid sections. As you may be able to see, I snuck in a few green lines amidst the natural thread. Usually binding acts as a frame, but this design called for less of a frame  and more of a finished edge. As a result, I used more of the wheat solid to bind it. Despite the oppressive heat, I finished it yesterday, just in time to take with me to Josh and Shannon's wedding party. They had a small April wedding, followed by a fun July celebration. Josh said us grad student sorts didn't have to bring gifts, but I don't always follow directions very well.

3 comments:

Karissa July 7, 2012 at 9:18 AM  

I think it's a great use of all materials, and a very sweet gift as well!

Kim July 9, 2012 at 3:22 AM  

Fabulous runner - I made one for our dining table a while back and it is looking tired now - I may have to try portholes!

Kelly @ Blue Bird Sews July 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM  

crazily found you through pinterest, love your quilts - newest follower! Hello!

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