Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Zigs and Zags

I am happy to report that my version of Denyse Schmidt’s Big Zig is done. It has been pieced. It has been basted. It has been quilted and bound. I can only say: thank heavens!

If you’ve been keeping tabs on my progress, you know that this Big Zig withered away in my closet for too many months, just hoping to be a real quilt one day. With my brother-in-law’s half-birthday looming (you read that right: this puppy was six months late), it was time to indulge in a little binge sewing and wrap things up.

I’m so darn pleased with it. I thought that there would be little forgiveness in the chunky geometric chevron and the many zigs and zags that constitute the quilting. I was wrong.

I began the piecing in 2013. Sure, it was a different year, but also, I was a different quilter. I’ve learned so much, and I suspect if I had done the piecing in one fell swoop (either then or now), the math would have worked out a little better. For example, I was drawing some guidelines through the crests and valleys of the chevron to mark quilting lines. Two zigs that were adjacent vertically were off by a quarter of an inch. That is an order of magnitude to a quilter. For whatever reason—I can’t explain it and I’m trying not to overthink it—both the quilting and the project overall came out really well despite such inaccuracies.

Then there was the happy accident of the back. I bought many yards of Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics to make the back and then realized (duh!) it has a vertically oriented design and my calculations were based upon using it horizontally. (How many years and years do I have to sew before I stop making rookie mistakes?!) That, however, inspired the back my dear Big Zig now sports. Like its brother, the quilt front, the back is geometric and chunky. I quilted in thread that matches the front—some navy, some gray—which allows it to blend in nicely on that side. The back, on the other hand, shows peeks of the quilting here and there, hiding it in other spots. Super happy with it.

I’m sure many of you have a copy of Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects, the book where the Big Zig pattern appears. It’s a classic. As long as you don’t stop midproject to make another three or four quilts as I did (!), it’s a pretty quick sew. I love how Denyse was tuned in to chevrons before chevrons were trendy and how, with different fabric and thread choices, one sewist can create a guy quilt and another can take the same pattern and make something distinctly feminine. Even after making my own, I still covet the original ...

Photograph used by permission of DS Quilts
Linking up to My Quilt Infatuation and Finish It Up Friday!

Update: I just joined in the fun at Blossom Heart Quilts!


  1. It looks great! Noone will notice the maths but you. I love the back!

  2. I agree with JB, absolutely no one but you will notice, I think it looks perfect! Love this pattern. And the backing looks fabulous! Gotta love a pieced backing :)

  3. what a wonderful finish! I love how the backing turned out, too. (I can relate to the chain of events of how it came about...that seems to happen to me ALL the time! I don't think that you are making rookie mistakes. I think it's all part of the quilting journey. each quilt has it's own story and that's part of the fun! just my 2 cents!)

    thanks for linking up to finish it up Friday!

  4. SO pretty- I wasn't familiar with this pattern but my have to try it out.

  5. Congrats on the finishes, and I'm quite sure your BIL won't be out with a ruler measuring bits ;o)


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