Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ice & Fire: Done

It's a Finish, People!!

I finished Ice and Fire in a binge of handwork on Boxing Day.

Officially Quilt #40, it was started on Thanksgiving Weekend 2004. Like a few other of my quilts, the design and fabric selection happened independently of each other, then merged together. I don't remember which came first. The design was just this little notebook sketch:

It would turn out later that working with so many triangles would pose some challenges for me. I'd have to make special templates for them, and arrange for eight 45 degree points to more or less meet at the center of every block. But for now, all of that was in the future. I just liked my design.

It would also turn out that this is a venerable old pattern, with a traditional name (although I can never remember what it is), that people have been making for at least 150 years. This is par for the course. When you work with simple geometric shapes, like I like to do, you are not going to stumble on much that has never been thought of by the generations upon generations of quilters that have come before you. Such is life in the fiber arts.

Meanwhile, the day after Thanksgiving brought with it the traditional annual spending binge at the early morning JoAnnes sales. At the 2004 sale I bought two sets of cheap batik fabrics with the intention of using them for some unspecified future project. My mom rolled her eyes at both of them. Regarding the set of four that went on to be used in Ice and Fire, she has subsequently been forced to recant. (On the set of two that make up the still-unfinished Batik Boxes, she was pretty much right, as you'll see sometime next year.)

Eventually, I noticed that I had a set of four fabrics and a design that needed a set of four fabrics, and came to the obvious conclusion. I made most of the blocks in the 2005-06 season, moving at a steady but slow pace. Getting the eight-point meets as accurate as I wanted them took a lot of doing, and plenty of re-doing too. All of the blocks were complete by the beginning of the dismal 2006-07 season, but I didn't manage to do anything but get them assembled and pinned to a back that year.

Something else that happened in Fall 2006 that would indirectly benefit the piece, though, and that was the machine quilting class I took from Helene Knott. That taught me, among many other things, the painter's tape trick, which I used extensively with Ice and Fire. Just as importantly, it gave me the confidence to increase by as much as three or four times the density of my quilting on large pieces.

The actual quilting happened over the last four months, and in October the SoTC readers helped me pick the name. I finished the binding at a guild meeting on December 10, and got to show it off as "close enough" to done at that point. Finicky detail work and the addition of a hanging sleeve on the 26th officially took it over the finish line. It's the first time I've finished anything for half a year, and the first time I've finished anything besides a baby blanket in a year and a half, so "done" is a good feeling.


loulee1 said...

Yay! A finish. It must feel good to get here. So what you gonna finish next? And when will that be? LOL

Rebel said...

yay! It looks great, really. You are far more patient than I, and it pays off. I had a blanket crisis the other day (it was ugly... I'm not ready to talk about it), so I've decided I'm allowed to make as many quilts for myself as I want to.

Pam said...

Fire and Ice looks fabulous!! I love the black binding - it really frames the quilt perfectly.

I looked through the Helene Knott website. She must have been wonderful to take classes from - I think I saw her "At Low Tide" quilt at the APNQ show in Seattle.

Happy New Year!

Exuberant Color said...

That is beautiful, and done. What a good combination. The pattern is Kaleidoscope and one of my favorites. But then I like most things that have triangles in them.

scifiknitter said...

Your quilt is spectacular.

I'm a knitter myself. My daughter (a 19 year old college student) appears to be becoming a quilter. She hand-pieced 72 squares this summer, and over break sewed together the quilt top, sewed on the backing and binding, installed the batting, and basted it all together. She intends to hand-quilt the final product a square at a time.

I am most heartened that crafts such as ours continue to find enthusiastic devotees.

Libby said...

Congrats on your finish! Looks great...

Jennifer said...

Dang! I was just getting ready (I guess a little naively, if enthusiastically) to recommend that you submit it to Quilter's Newsletter or somewhere because a) it's gorgeous, so everyone would want to make it, and b) you write well, so why wouldn't they want you to write an article for them on it? Then you said that it's an old pattern... maybe they wouldn't take it then, but my enthusiasm remains, for what it's worth. :-)

atet said...

"Done" is a wonderful word -- and this quilt is beautiful as well! Wooo Hoooo!!!! Hope your new year brings you much joy, love, laughter and maybe a finish or two!

La Manosa said...

Congratulations on finishing Fire and Ice! I love both your fabric choices and the design.

I was impressed with what you did on the Indigo Stars blocks. To have the blocks in varying sizes but still look fantastic with those borders you added is quite an accomplishment! Now I know that if I have some bad days piecing blocks together, there's still hope for a good finish.

Anonymous said...

just stunning! I happened upon your quilt image while googling "ice and fire" the fantasy series. What a serendipitous delight to come across your quilt. I truly appreciate its beauty and hard work being a quilter myself.