Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Bulging Checkerboard Complete!

This quilt started as a thought, back in early 2012, when I saw the optical illusion on line.  I jumped on the challenge to design this in a quilt, entirely pieced with no applique.  It went through a couple of iterations on the design board, as I tried to find the ratios that would make the illusion work.  When I thought I had it right, I cut a bunch of blocks and started sewing.  Fortunately, I decided to have a look at the center, before I went too far.  Because I discovered that my ratios were off and the illusion had disappeared completely. 

So I made another set of 25 blocks and tried again, this time leaving 1/8" rather than 1/4" for the 'reveals' that make the illusion work.  This was better, as you can see in the photo.  First attempt on the left, second on the right.  In person, only the one on the right 'bends'.

So I modified the initial set of blocks and kept on sewing. 225 blocks later, I had the center of the top complete.  I chose to quilt it with a simple petal design in each block, using matching thread.  The back of the quilt is a cream & brown print, so the thread blends nicely there, too.

I designed the quilt and assembled it in September 2012, and then quilted it in November.  I was very glad that I had a long arm at that point, because I could not contemplate the thought of quilting a 102" square quilt on my regular machine.

Binding took another few months, and I put the last binding stitches into the quilt at a retreat in April 2013 - just in time for show and tell. And as of today, it has a name: "Beyond the Squares".

I am now contemplating a new version of this - a bit smaller this time.  The illusion is great in photos, but a bit difficult to see in person - partly because the quilt is so big, and partly because the 1/8" reveal is still too big.  I am going to make a new one using piping for the reveals, and see if that improves the "in person" result.  The pattern for this version is avilable for free on my patterns page.

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