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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Monday, February 1, 2016

You have to be willing to correct a mistake - unsewing!

I worked earlier this week on my Gai Perry quilt. The pattern calls for two narrow bands, 1" and 3/4" wide, between the pieced centre of the quilt and the wide borders. This is how I made my original version in 2011, my Red Birds quilt, which I like very much.
This time aroung, I decided to make five bands 1" wide before the border. I like the look of a series of narrow bands, which I have seen in folk art quilts, so I cut many long strips and stitched away.
Two problems soon arose. Firstly, two of the fabrics had a very different hand, in that one was crisp and stable, while the second was soft and shifty. The soft and shifty cotton was also a narrow stripe, so wobbling was very noticeable. The bands did not lie flat, but bubbled and wobbled and just would not press flat.
Then, I took a picture of the pieced quilt top to that point, before I added the wide borders of feature floral fabric. There is nothing like looking at a picture to see problems. Two of the strips were from a white and gold print fabric, that was way too bright and really diminished the soft old timey look of the quilt.

Whoah, look at that bubbly border and that white is just way too bright.
 So, when I sat down in the studio this afternoon, I picked up my trusty super sharp seam ripper and took off the four bands, leaving the dark brown one which works well. Then I unpicked the red print, pressed it, and put that back on next to the brown. I decided that two bands is indeed best for this design, so I proceeded to add my wide borders which went on very smoothly. I made them wider than the original pattern, as I use my 2011 version as a lap quilt, and it is just not quite big enough. This top measures 60' by 68".

The rose floral fabric in the border is the focus fabric which I used to choose my other colours. I am happy with this now and very glad that I took the time to unsew those white and gold bands.

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