Today I’m talking about my Marcelle Medallion quilt that I just finally pulled from the dryer. I’m also talking about the many different stages a quilter goes through as she makes a quilt. You know the one’s: I love this quilt and I hate this quilt, sometimes I don’t want to finish this quilt and all the rest of them. SO many stages! They are all part of the process. And sometimes, at the end we really just don’t like the quilt we made.
I started this quilt last April or May (can’t remember exactly), but it was a part of the Marcelle Medallion quilt along. See the #marcellemedallionqal here. This was hosted by my dear friend Nicole, and I doubt I’d have attempted this quilt without her encouragement. The reason for that is just this quilt is hard. This was not a therapeutic quilt to make or at least for me it wasn’t. It was a chore. However, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment at completing something so difficult.
You may be thinking that since I make sampler quilts all the time that I am accustomed to this level of difficulty. This is not the same kind of animal. This quilt is full of tiny pieces of patchwork. VERY TINY. It’s also full of unusual sizes of patchwork. For example, those flying geese are not a standard size like 2×4″ or 3×6″, no they are something more like 1.something inches by another odd number.
Let me explain how this thinking started. I decided before I began that I would use absolutely nothing, but Heather Ross fabrics. That was my first mistake. Heather Ross fabrics that I’ve hoarded, seeked out, and LOVED for years are mostly left untouched inside their own special basket within my stash. There’s a lot of them, and I was thinking they deserved to be in a very difficult and beautiful quilt.
It turns out that they need something to ground them. They are all so busy, beautiful, but busy. I should have added tonals and solids into the mix. So naturally, my quilt is going to be busy. Most of my quilts happen to be busy and I am a fan of that, but this was even too much for me.
But back to the quilt… I started off great. I was happy with my fabric picks, happy with all the fussy cutting I was getting to do. When I put that border on the first round with the bicycles I was on cloud nine. The kind of feeling when you have done something that has made yourself so happy with fabric placement, you know the kind. The kind of that makes you jump up and down and giggle. That’s how I felt about that bicycle border.
I wasn’t too crazy with my yellow triangles, wrong color I think, not dark enough. But the mermaid border! Oh my, this was another jumping up and down with glee moment. This is also the last of my happy moments with this quilt, at least until I got it back from the longarmer.
Once I used the purple on the quilt, I no longer was a fan. I should have changed the colors then, but it was so many of them and I’d used precious fabric, so my decision was to power through. I don’t regret this move, but it did change my feelings for the quilt.
In case you are new to quilting or unfamiliar with special fabrics, let me explain: I used a variety of Heather Ross and if you don’t know, her fabric is highly collectible. You will pay ridiculous prices for some of her older rare prints and this quilt is full of them. Before you think me frivolous for spending so much on fabric, I didn’t actually pay the high prices. I have bartered for years with other fabrics to build the collection I now have of HR prints. My collection is quite extensive and I rarely use them. To waste them simply because I don’t like a color is a no-no in my book.
It was getting busier with each additional border and my fabric choices were all the reasons why. I could have started adding in different designers, but I couldn’t get myself to do it. It was like I was on a one lane road to Busyland. I continued on.
The big green border was a change I made. I originally had a low volume fabric in its place that was just not working. You may notice that there are two different fabrics used for the green border and that’s because I didn’t have enough of one. Problems were just building up. It was about this time that I just said, “*******”, well you know what I said. My mouth is rarely full of potty, but these are strenuous times.
The quilt then sat untouched for more than a month. I was mad at it. I was mad at myself. I was mad at anyone who told me, “what was not working”, and wanted to send them to this page. If I want to dislike a quilt I made, I’ll dislike the quilt and that is perfectly okay.
It needed finishing. I had another border to go and there was no way I was going to let my precious fabrics go to waste. I sucked it up and added the plusses border. I did like the quilt much more after that, even if I did turn two of my cornerstones the wrong way. Seriously, this quilt was out to get me.
I was ready by then to be done with the whole business. This fact leant me to just add a solid to the back with a few bits of some of the mermaids in my hoard instead of piecing a backing with all my small cuts.
I sent the quilt to Linda at Blue Barn Quilt Company to be professionally longarmed. I’ve never had a quilt longarm quilted, but I was excited about this. It was fun to look through all the patterns that Blue Barn Quilt Company has to offer. I must have stared at my computer trying to decide for over an hour. I chose this pattern called Clementine. I could not be more pleased with the work done on the quilt. Linda really did a beautiful job. Everything was so much nicer and neater than I could have done myself. Plus, you know how I was ready to get this quilt out of my sight.
So how do I feel about this quilt now? I’m glad that I made the Marcelle Medallion. It feels like an accomplishment of sorts. I learned more about fabrics with this one and I really stretched myself. I do love the quilt, truly. But I love all quilts, even ugly ones. I like the craftsmanship put into quilts. It’s really not about my colors, fabrics, or placement that makes me love a quilt. It’s a job well done, a journey, the touch of the crinkly, cuddly texture, it’s all the hours spent pouring over every detail. I love that I stuck with it and finished it. I LOVE the quilting that was done on it. I love petting the fussy cuts of fabric, the tiny mice, the bikes, the mermaids.
I love the quilt, I’m glad I made it, but I still don’t like it. That’s enough.
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