Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Clock Quilt

The project I have spent so many months working on was finally finished on September 24. It was to be a gift for my husband's birthday in October, and I also wanted to enter it in our local quilt show at the end of October as well; so everything else fell by the wayside so I could make those deadlines. Emails frequently went unanswered, blogging was nearly nonexistent, housework didn't get done, and social events were sometimes missed. Hubby has seen the quilt now, so I can finally blog about it.

Back in 2006, the online website Planet Patchwork, who sponsors the info-EQ listserv, sponsored a contest for Electric Quilt users to submit their best original designs. $1250 in cash and prizes was to be awarded for designs entered in three categories, plus a Best in Show award.
This amazing quilt, called "Time Out", designed by Lynne Chambliss, was awarded Best in Show, along with a prize purse of $500. You can see the winners here. Subsequently Planet Patchwork published a CD of all the designs entered into the contest, and I purchased a copy of the CD and found Lynne's design.

I remember thinking at the time that, while it was fantastic that anybody could draw that, no one would ever actually make it. How could you? But I was drawn to the design, particularly because my husband, and his father, and his grandfather all tinkered with pendulum clocks throughout their lives. In recent years hubby has made a hobby of buying and restoring old pendulum clocks. We presently have 13 in the house and more were given away to family members.

In 2010 I came across my CD again and decided to see if I could put this together. I figured if I could make what I thought was the hardest block, I might be able to actually make the whole quilt. I started with the bevel gear in the upper left corner and made it successfully. I made a couple more blocks, then other things intervened, and I set it aside until this year and finally finished it. This is my finished quilt.

Lynne's original design was comprised of 20 blocks that finished to 8" square. I didn't think I could piece those tiny gears in rows 3 and 5 at that size, so I made my blocks 12". Even at 12", those tiny gears finished to 3". My quilt finishes to 52" x 64".

There was very little actual piecing in the quilt, other than sometimes piecing the backgrounds and sewing the blocks together. The bevel gear in the upper left corner, the worm gear in row 4, and all of the arcs with the little pieces in them were all foundation pieced. All of the curved arcs were then sequenced, fused into place, and machine buttonhole stitched. Then the blocks were sewn into rows, the rows were joined, center circles and numbers were fused and stitched. Then, of course, the borders were added.

From the design on the EQ software, I was able to print out line drawings of each block and the foundation patterns I needed for the paper piecing. The other tool that turned out to be enormously useful was transparent foundation paper from Nancy's Notions. Being able to see through the paper was crucial to line up all those curved arcs. I can't imagine how I might have been able to make the blocks without that see-through paper. The next best thing about Nancy's paper is that it's crisp enough to feed through the printer, and 100 sheets is about $13, which I think is quite reasonable. I probably used most of a package for the quilt.

I think the quilt probably would have benefited from custom quilting; but after purchasing a long arm several years back, my husband takes pride in the fact that I am able to complete an entire quilt from start to finish by myself. I knew that would be an issue for him; and indeed, that was the first thing he wanted to know--who quilted it.
I didn't want a complicated design that might detract from the blocks, and I don't do custom work myself; so I used a pantograph called Inkblot, which is  nothing more than a meander. Besides, I could only work on the quilt when he was at work, so I had to get it loaded on the frame and quilted in one day, before he got home.

I first started trying to locate designer Lynne Chambliss back in 2012. Every now and then I would see another of her designs on the EQ website, so I knew she was still around. One day I left a message for her as a comment under one of her designs but never heard anything. Finally, this year in desperation, I contacted the Electric Quilt company to ask for their help, and they forwarded my email to Lynne. I've shared photos with her as well. Interestingly, Lynne said she'd never made the quilt herself but has made a different quilt based on the Time Out design.

I even managed to find clock themed fabric for the back of the quilt.

In thinking about a name for the quilt, I came up with all kinds of name referencing the concept of time. Nothing seemed to suit, and then it struck me that the quilt I made for my husband really had nothing to do with time. It was about his love for the mechanics of the pendulum clock, so I named it simply Clockworks.

He LOVES it!


Apple Avenue Quilts said...

It's a totally amazing quilt, no wonder your husband loves it!

Exuberant Color said...

That looks like a truly overwhelming project to do, but it turned out beautifully. I'm sure your husband realizes how much work it was and the love that went into it.

Chantal said...

You have created a Masterpiece. AMAZING!! Oh My! How can he NOT love it? It definitively deserves a ribbon and a blue one with that! Congratulation Sue! Amazing, just amazing!

Jan said...

Outstanding. It took my breath away!

Julie Fukuda said...

What a fantastic work of love and creativity. I can't believe you were able to keep it a secret to the endbut so glad he loved it too.

Renee Musso said...

Very beautiful.

LynCC said...

OH. MY. GOSH. !!! Sue - this is one of the best quilt finishes I've seen lately. :D It's fantastic! The simple quilting is perfect for it. I think you're right that custom work may have overwhelmed the design. And how fantastic that you were able to keep the secret - gives me hope that I'll succeed in that with my current secret project. "Clockworks" is the perfect name, too. Love that backing.

Judy S. said...

Wow, Sue, it's amazing! No wonder he loves it; it is fabulous!

Lynne Chambliss said...

Sue: I am happy and proud to have had a part in your wonderful quilt. I love everything about it and hope you and your husband enjoy it for many years. Your partner, Lynne Chambliss