Week in Review 2020 – 08/29

I can’t say I’m suffering from Zoom Fatigue, but my number of Zoom meetings in a single a week reached an all time high this week. Nothing compared to what I expect students, teachers and people working from home face. Still enough to erode my studio time. Nevertheless, I did manage to finish quilting Turbulence.

Last Week
Turbulence photographed with the camera turned on the tripod to create a horizontal image.

Last week I shared what Turbulence looked like as I was quilting. You can see how there are areas that undulate and are uneven along the edges. No matter how accurately I piece, this is an inevitable part of the process. As many people are learning during this time of DIY mask making, fabric weaves come in different densities and stretchability. If you tug on fabric along the grain (direction the individual threads run, either vertically or horizontally) there is a little give. However, if you tug on the bias (cross grain at a 45 degree angle) there is noticeably more give to the fabric. The act of piecing and quilting cause those threads to reorient ever so slightly, BUT do that thousands of times and that slight variance begins to show.

This Week
Turbulence after it has been squared up

There are several ways quilters like to square up their work. Many opt to treat it like a tapestry or knitting project. They dampen the work, tug it to square, pin it in place and let it dry. It may work for them, but I much prefer to cut to square, trimming away the undulations and unevenness. One of the advantages of making art quilts versus traditional patterns where triangles need to finish at the edge with their points in tact, is you can lop off those points and not miss them. Another advantage of this method is you don’t run the risk of discovering one or more of your threads or fabric isn’t color fast. There is nothing worse than washing a quilt and discovering that the turquoise fabric ran into your pristine white fabric.

I opted not to quilt the white jagged runs in Turbulence. This gives them a slight trapunto effect.

I used a spiral motif, a favorite of mine, to quilt the green sections

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. Gwyned! I love the way this came out! All your piecing is just exquisite, and I love the way the white disappears into the dark and purply top. Do you have plans for where you’re going to enter this? I’m with you on the pleasure of squaring up. It’s always hard when I occasionally make something with a set size borders where I have to actually square up. Interestingly though, I usually do a sort of hybrid of the two approaches you describe- wet block and stretch until the piece is flat, then when dry lop off the edges. My stuff never seems to be flat after quilting, but I do seem to have chronic (!!) problems with fabric bleeding. Sometimes it’s not a big deal, but more times than I care to admit I find myself scrambling to figure out how to get rid of or prevent back dye on my lights….

    1. You would think, Shannon, one bad experience with back dye would be a strong enough learning experience. It did take more than one for me to be extra cautious about washing my quilt in the tub. I’ve been washing every piece of fabric I’ve created with paint and dye. Ditto for any new fabric coming into the house for several decades. Think it is “safe” to use anything from stash. NOT.

      No particular plans on where I might enter it. The size could be a problem. It finished at 39″ H x 24″ W. I will have to scan through the upcoming SAQA Global exhibitions and see if I can match it with a theme and size requirement. Another possibility is Sacred Threads. It lines up with the show’s Grief theme. It is my emotive wailing to the current pandemic, family strife, and the gapping political divide. I’m open to suggestions.

      Thank you for the thumbs up on Turbulence. It plays to my comfort zone of intricate piecing and design by value as much as hue. This feels like I’ve pushed through the envelope.

  2. You must be thrilled to have this behind you. It really turned out great! If I have any doubt about a color running, I take a small piece, wet it thoroughly then press it while wet on a piece of white fabric. If any color comes out, I either wash it again or not use it. I also do a hybrid of wet blocking and lopping off any extra. I haven’t done a big piece in awhile so I haven’t had to do any of that. I’m sure you will find a venue that this fits perfectly.

    1. Turbulence isn’t done yet. I’m always surprised by how long the finish work takes. There a faces to select and attach, a sleeve to create, a label to design, the work to be photographed for my website and to have available for calls for entry, and I create a fact sheet of the quilts particulars and a relevant line item to a spreadsheet where I keep track of my entry quilts. Rather tedious stuff. It is also the time I start to cast around for the next project to focus on.

      If there were any fabric I was uncertain of I would definitely check it the way you recommended, Norma. The “oops” moments have always been with fabric I was certain I had pre-washed until the rinse water ran clear.

      Thanks for you feedback and suggestions.

  3. Turbulence is looking fabulous! I love that you left the white unquilted; it makes them come forward like white caps on the waves.

    The whole washing/not washing thing… Okay, so I had a disaster like that with one of my UFO/WIPs that caused me to abandon it for several years. All hand stitched appliqué blocks with hand embroidered details, and then I discovered that there was a red bleeder fabric in the mix that was in every single block. Finally got the red bleed off the ivory backgrounds by soaking the blocks in Dawn dishwater until the water ran clear, and proceeded to assemble the top. It’s ready for quilting now and, although I know I want to do heavy custom quilting, I’m so leery of doing anything that would require marking and subsequent washing. Yet I know I used starch when I joined the blocks with setting triangles and attached the borders, and I know that starch attracts bugs if left in a quilt long term. My heart can only handle one disaster per project!!

    1. Wow, that was brave of you, Rebecca. You are corrected. Anything that is starched should be washed. I suppose the question to ask is would be better to take a chance, knowing the washing my get that red bleeding again, or leave it as a UFO, or perhaps simply accept that bugs might attack the quilt in the future. Only you can answer this.

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