Saturday, March 04, 2006

The story of a quilt back

the back of the zipper quilt
Originally uploaded by Mellicious.

The backs of my quilts keep getting more and more eccentric. I like to make them out of leftovers from the quilt, when that's possible, rather than buying more fabric, so they end up being a hodgepodge of whatever I have around. (Often I end up using fabric that I'm tired of looking at and want to get rid of, but that's not really the case here.) So here's how this one came to be:

First I sewed together all the extra "teeth" from the zippers - and I had a lot of them. My original plan was to just put plain strips of fabric between the pieced strips, but then I realized that I would have to piece the big strips anyway, because the quilt is about 46" wide - just wider than any normal quilt fabric. So instead I started cutting big squares - I cut them 15" because that was the size of the biggest square ruler that happened to be around, but then I realized that that was a mistake, because 3 of those still wouldn't be wide enough.* So I started using 4-1/2" strips (which I only had a couple of already cut) between the squares, and then I started using the leftover 4-1/2x7-1/2" blocks and sewing several of them together to make them long enough to work. This added 8" to the back, making it about 52" wide, which still doesn't give me a lot of extra width to work with but I think should be enough. I made three rows like that, and then at the top and bottom I just went with plain strips, since I figured this thing was clearly already quite busy enough! (and part of the cheddar fabric at the top is going to end up covered by the sleeve anyway, so there was no use getting fancy there.)

A number of these were fabrics that never actually made it onto the front of the quilt. The entire middle row, for example. The pink-and-orange cat batik got eliminated because I decided the motif was too big, and the marble I threw out because it had too much white in it. (Nothing else on the front had any noticeable amount of white on it at all, so I decided it would stick out too much.) The batik in the narrow strips on the row below that also got eliminated on the big-motif basis. Every time I tried to put it in, I ended up pulling it out again.

*One of these days I will learn to plan ahead. Probably about the time that hell freezes over, at the rate I'm going!


Lily said...

No wonder your quilt backs are so eclectic then!

Love the zippers. So much work - glad to see it's not being wasted :)

carolyn said...

dude. i LOVE it. it's so fun. and totally worthy of being a quilt top itself. which is the sign of a truly great quilt back. don't ya think? :) love it!!!

Shelina said...

I think the fact that your backing is made up of parts and pieces IS what makes it interesting. Please don't plan ahead. I really like the back, it is fun.
P. S. If you have to change so do I - because I wind up having join hodpodge pieces to make something big enough for the back.