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"Quilting Happiness": Making the Haphazard Chevron Pillow
Submitted by Pam on Mon, 09/02/2013 - 07:00
Haphazard Chevron Pillow - my first project from "Quilting Happiness" by Christina Lane and Diane Gilleland!
Once the pillow was completed, it was quite clear that my "making journey" was actually a perfect example of how Christina's designs and instructions, and Diane's "happiness exercises" came together and produced not only a beautiful project but also an adventure in creating something that is unique and reflects both my love for the natural world and my dabbler nature!
I fell in love with Christina's Haphazard Chevron design the minute I saw it! Could have had something to do with that word - haphazard; however, I think it works for me because although it does have structure, the design is completely open to endless possibilities! Widths and placement of the chevron strips can be completely random. Furthermore, I love how the random placement of the bias strips creates a fluid and playful pattern.
However, I didn't know if my quilting skills would be up to it. I am a not-quilter and saw this as a cutting challenge beyond anything I had ever attempted. But Christina's instructions accompanied by her diagrams were perfect and thorough and easy to follow - even for me.
The happiness arrived as a result of using one of Diane's "creative exercises" called "Morning Seeing". Faithfully completing a month's worth of "noticing", reminded me of just how much I adore and enjoy ferns. Absolutely love them! Fact is, ferns greet me when I walk out my front door, first cup of morning coffee in hand - lots and lots of ferns. My entire garden is full of them.
And while on a morning "garden wander", I remembered that ferns play very nicely with sun paints!
Using my all too often ignored Pebeo Setacolor Transparent fabric paints would be a perfect way to create my very own fern fabric for my pillow and a perfect excuse to do a little sun painting!
So basket and scissors in hand, I explored all the nooks and crannies of my garden looking for ferns… and flowers. Whatever spoke to me was added to the collection. And then… paint was applied to the fabric - happiness; flowers and ferns arranged in wet paint - more happiness; a short wait - restless excited happiness; impatient removal of ferns and flowers for the great reveal…and YIKES!
The floral design of my summer garden was altogether entirely too pretty to cut up into strips. I simply could not do it! So I kept it whole and made a pillow cover! Happiness! Unexpected but happiness nonetheless!
Returning to my garden and fabric paints I worked to create a fabric design that was less defined - random and more repetitive. An arrangement of plant materials that made me just as happy (ferns just ferns) and would be perfect for cutting into strips for the Haphazard Chevron Pillow.
Although I followed my muse and let her select the first design, I took charge and made more deliberate choices when I created the second fabric.
So - the happiness part? Not only did I create a completely original fabric from something that makes my eyes and heart happy, but I also ended up with two pillows - a mini fern garden inside my home!
I absolutely love how the fern design on every patterned strip is different from all the others. How some strips are deeply colored and some light. How some strips are heavily patterned and others almost void of pattern. And I love how the chevron pattern plays with the fabrics and shows them off beautifully.
And did I mention that in following Christina's instructions, I managed to complete the pillow without making one single mistake! Whoohoo!
To be completely honest, at first I was unhappy with the amount of "waste" created by cutting on the bias. However, I have since decided that the left over strip sections are perfect for making dozens of hexies - for a hexie pillow! And the left over uncut fabric will be perfect for a small reverse applique pillow!
Once the hexie and reverse applique pillows are completed, I will have a very pretty summertime collection of sofa pillows in one of my favorite colors! And there will be a multitude of ferns on my sofa!
And THAT my friends is Happiness!
If you haven't ordered your very own copy of Quilting Happiness, you can do so right here! I highly recommend owning this book whether or not you are a quilter. Christina's designs just may inspire you to become one! And Diane's "Creative Exercises" and "Happiness Exercises" can be used to refresh almost any creative well gone dry - whatever that well of creative expression might be - beading, embroidery, cup cake making!
Be sure to add the "Quilting Happiness" blog to your reader - link here - as Diane and Christina will be sharing "the rest of the story" - the parts of the book that they had to delete to meet the publisher's desired size of the text. In addition, they are sharing personal happiness quilting projects and stories and reviews - lots to read and lots of happiness! (And if you missed it, you can read more about the book in my previous review - here.)
Now! Take one more minute and pop over to "the longthread" blog to see a completely different interpretation of the Haphazard Chevron Pattern. I would not have recognized it had it not been pointed out! Check it out here!!
And keep an eye here on this blog because, although I most likely will not be making any big quilts, I will be using the patterns and exercises to create small, "Pamela size" Happiness Projects - and when I do I will definitely be sharing!