I finished this quilt just under the wire for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge. I madly sewed on the binding and tucked in all my threads just in time to snap a photo and get it into my QuiltCon submission. Whew!
EphemerA is a collage made for a friend who loves ephemera, those oddments of print and written material meant to exist only a short while: posters, flyers, cards, forms, and similar. We share a background working in libraries, so we run across scads of fabulous items in between the ordinary run of books. This quilt is a collage of a few ephemera that hint at my friend’s ardor for dancing, printing, music, and letters. (Her name begins with A: did you guess?)
The overall design is inspired by a Japanese poster for an art festival.
The giant letter A is pieced in the Granby typeface, created in 1930 in the tradition of Johnston’s type for the London Underground.
I was inspired by Michael Miller’s Glitz Confetti border fabric, with dots that are denser near the selvage and then become more scattered toward the center. I love the fabric’s fizzing movement, like bubbles in a glass of champagne. I pieced the A to concentrate the gold dots at top and bottom, and surrounded it with matching white background emphasize its transparency.
I found the diagram of the hesitation waltz, from an early 20th-century dance instruction manual, in the Library of Congress’ excellent online collection. It is needle-turn appliqued, with hand-quilted motion lines between the soles of the shoes.
The piece is densely quilted in horizontal lines near the top, getting less dense moving downward, to match the fizz of the fabric.
The back is a sweet Michael Miller print called Rosemilk, from their Brambleberry Ridge line. Little falls of tiny, metallic gold flying geese tumble through the small floral pattern, giving it a little sharpness. That particular fabric turned out to be incredibly soft, especially after washing, and I think it will feel nice wrapped around a person.
I loved working with this Glitz fabric. I cannot resist a good metallic. Next time, I might try a big pieced letter in a dark, exuberant floral, and see how that changes the feel of the design.
Now, that process sounded very under control, didn’t it? It was not.
There were times over the long Thanksgiving weekend that I thought:
- I’d never get it done,
- I’d get it done but it was a travesty that should be broken down for scrap, and/or
- I would never make friends with my new sewing machine, despite the fact that it can actually handle quilting.
Misadventures abounded. For example, I thought I’d bought a walking foot with my sewing machine, but I hadn’t. At the last moment, over a holiday when stores were closed, I had to nip out to a local supplier. Somehow I misplaced the white batting I’d bought to go under the translucent Michael Miller solid white fabric, and had to dash out for more. The only roll of a similar material at my local Joann was flecked with oily black spots, so that wasn’t coming home with me. I finally got some batting that was quite a bit thinner than what I’d planned on. This was my first real machine quilting adventure, too, so you can imagine the learning curve. Oh, the angst! In the-only-way-out-is-through style, though, I kept going. And doubting. And going. And at last, after a good washing, I wound up with something I like looking at. Crack the champagne and launch this thing!