It's only taken me about 15-20 years but I've finally finished 'Fiona's Gingham Roses'. This was the first ever quilt I was tempted to make. It was the fabric I fell for, its by Lakehouse.
Fiona, bless you, do you remember dragging me into Cushla's Village Fabrics in Devonport, Auckland, NZ? That was before they moved to the main street. I'd seen your amazing quilting but whilst impressed I hadn't yet been bitten by the bug. Then I saw these fabrics and was hooked.
Of course, knowing NOTHING about quilting and blithely ignoring your sage advice to stick within a particular family of fabrics (oh please, I didn't even know what a fabric family was back then), and have a pattern in mind, I just picked what I liked and these pink and green rose and gingham fabrics bit me hard. Colour values? What colour values? How important could they be? Triangles? Squares? Fat Quarters? Templates? Rulers? Rotary Blades? Cutting Mats? It meant nothing at the time.
(I also recall ignoring your advice to buy more fabric than I actually did. Thus I found myself rethinking my original vision when, six months later, I could no longer get any more of the original fabrics!)
I got stuck in but soon enough I realised something wasn't quite working about this quilt. It was those colour values, they'd come back to haunt me. I became despondent about it, and Fiona's Gingham Roses (FGR) became a UFO in one of (now many) large, fabric-filled, plastic craft trundlers that quietly simmered under the bed. I moved on to other projects, finishing Manda's log cabin quilt and Leisa's Cat of Nine Tales, slowly learning the ins and outs of quilting from fabulous places like Cushla's, and Grandmother's Garden, in Gordonton, always getting distracted away from FGR by lust for other gorgeous fabrics.
Fiona, you tried to spark some reinterest a few years later when you cleverly found me a pillow that used some of the same fabrics. I hauled FGR out and even added some lovely floral ribbon trim, but still it wasn't quite right so it remained a UFO.
Late in 2010 I dragged it along to a machine quilting for beginners class with the fabulous Ros Johnson from Squiltz, held at Stitch. Well, that was a revelation! I vowed to finish FGR if it was the last thing I did, deciding to use it as a practice quilt for machine quilting techniques (don't look too closely! I was having too much fun to be accurate in some places.)
But even sandwiched, backed, pinned, free motion quilted and finally bound, FGR still wasn't right.
The stroke of genius was the addition of some deep, dark scarlet grosgrain ribbon that I found at Creative Flair craft market about a month ago. Of course, I didn't buy the ribbon with FGR in mind, it was for another project entirely (a project it turned out it was entirely wrong for). When I tried it against FGR I realised I finally had a balance for the annoyingly, too soft, pink stripe and it also made the other fabrics pop. Eureka! I love unconscious competence!
So, thank you Fiona! 'Fiona's Gingham Roses' is now finished. I shall immortalise you with a nice label on the back of the quilt in due course, and I shall use it on my bed when I'm at your old School during term time (no cat hair there!). Can't wait!
Is that a nab star on the back, Fiona? Surely not. Whatever could that be referring to?