Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Refiner's Fire

The project I'm sharing today is unique in a few ways. To start, the Instagram photo of the blocks on my design wall is my MOST liked photo of all time... like beyond double. Go figure. Also is the fact that it was made for a challenge with very specific guidelines. It's a black and white plus one challenge, though any mix of prints and solids was fine. But the finished size had to be 40" square. So those guidelines were more than I usually work with.



To add to all that, this piece was created for the Women of the ELCA (which I am) Tenth Triennial Gathering in July. The theme for the challenge is simply "all anew". That prompted me to think of a new day and a rising sun, though as I created this piece on my design wall, along the way it became more of a refiner's fire. And that's what I see in the finish.



To begin, I gathered all sorts of black and white prints and solids from my stash, and as I went, added in the gold as my "plus one." Using the stitch-and-flip method was very random, and I'd make several 3 1/2" blocks, find a home for them in the quilt layout, and go back and make more. It was all very fluid and in the moment, as well as an exercise in value as I moved from the black to the gold to the white.

For quilting, I chose to again use my three colors - Aurifi 50 wt #2692 (Black), #2140 (Mustard), and #2024 (White). I began with upward angled spikes in the center section with the Mustard, filled in below using Black, then added downward angled spikes in the upper section in White thread. Though I marked the very first row of spikes with my hera marker, all the rest were improvisational but approximately 1/2" apart. This design was really enjoyable for me to quilt and I'm sorry it didn't photograph better for you.



One little complication with my design and not knowing how much shrinkage would occur with quilting resulted in my piece being slightly smaller than the requisite 40" square. I solved this issue by trimming the quilted piece to exactly 40", which just happened to be barely outside of the edge of the fabric. Ie. about 1/8" to 1/4" of batting showed around the perimeter. Thus binding needed to be both cut wider and sewn more than 1/4" from the edge. But it all worked out! And finishing at 3/4" wide, I think the wider binding frames the piece nicely.


So I'll be sending this quilt off to Minneapolis soon and I hope to eventually see photos of it in the show as well as other quilts representing the theme. I can't say I've used my craft to create something faith-based before, or actually based on much other than my creative whim. So that was an added aspect to this project and good food for thought along the way. According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions for "refine" is:  to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions. I hope that in adding another dimension of myself, I did that here.


This project was on my 2017 Q2 Finish-A-Long list!
Linking up with Finish It Up Friday!

23 comments:

  1. it's wonderful and I love knowing the story behind it! the wider binding looks great

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  2. Very interesting backstory, and to think about if I myself could work within those kinds of boundaries.

    In case you are not familiar with it, there is an actual spiritual gift termed "craftsmanship" that relates to the ability to create art.

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  3. I have had to trim wide and use a thicker binding before to get a desired size, and I think that a wide binding can look great; it certainly works beautifully here. I had no idea about the backstory, but I did enjoy watching your progress on Instagram. This quilt clearly resonates with people!

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  4. It's beautiful! And as soon as I saw the title pop up in my Bloglovin feed, I started humming along! "... I choose to be, holy, set apart for you" :)

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  5. Debbie, It's beautiful. The title reminded me of the fire at the top of a oil refinery chimney. :)

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  6. I've got G. F. Handel's music in my head now.

    Love the quilt.

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  7. What an amazing quilt! I absolutely love it!

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  8. What a beautiful quilt - a real work of art! Love how you came up with the wider binding - it does frame it nicely. What a challenge with the guidelines - love what you created!!

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  9. I love this quilt so much! And apparently, I'm not the only one. :-). I find having to make something with specific guidelines helps me - I often get paralysed when I have too many options.

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  10. Oh wow, knowing the story behind the quilt makes me like this even more than I already did! Will the quilts be on display for the public? If so, where? (I'm in MN) Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

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  11. I love this quilt and the title. I instantly thought of the Brian Doerksen worship song "Refiner's Fire." Thank you for sharing.

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  12. Lovely quilt! Also adds great interest that you used two binding fabrics.

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  13. Wow ! I love this one too ... :-) Your choice of gold as third colour is great. And the wide binding was a good solution.

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  14. Wow, I love the way this came out. I loved your photo on IG and was interested to see how it would come out. It was good to hear the backstory on this too.

    I like the gold as your 3rd color, and I think your quilting adds a lot to this quilt. That wider binding looks great, and was a good solution to your problem. (I need to remember that!)

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  15. Gorgeous! It is fascinating to behold. So talented you are. Thank you for sharing.

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  16. I really like this quilt Debbie - the mix of prints and solids works so well and the resulting quilt is lovely.

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  17. It is a beauty, and I like it a lot, too.
    KATRIN W.

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  18. I love hearing about your journey with this project. It's lovely, and the deeper meaning just makes it that much more special.

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  19. I noticed on your binding, when you transitioned from the lighter print to the strips the seams match exactly with the block seams. What is your technique to accomplish that? I find sometimes my seams end up in the corners and I hate that!

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  20. I noticed it on IG and the end result is great! Well done!

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