Friday, March 18, 2022

My Gypsy Wife in Bonnie and Camille Fabric / Beauties Pageant 166

My Gypsy Wife quilt has been years in the making. I started it in 2018 as part of a guild sew-along, picked it back up in 2019 during Stitched in Colors quilt-along, and vowed in 2021 that I would have it finished before the end of 2022. Here were are now, not even three months into 2022, and I am presenting my finished Gypsy Wife quilt!

Can I distill the multiyear process of sewing this beauty into a single blog post? Yes! What follows are the most noteworthy aspects of this finish, including advice if you’re considering your own GW project.

The Fabrics

Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife pattern was all the rage back in 2014 or 2015. What prevented me from jumping on the bandwagon then was the huge number of fabric decisions the pattern entailed. It was intimidating! I am sure I could have found a shop that kitted the project. Instead, however, I made the fabric-decision process easier on myself by homing in on a subset of the Bonnie and Camille palette. 

I focused on red, pink, navy, aqua, and green (avoiding yellow, orange, and the different red from Happy-Go-Lucky and other earlier lines). I had a small B&C stash at the outset and supplemented that with everything from a layer cake and a jelly roll to fat quarters and yardage.

I started by making most of the focal blocks and some filler blocks, and then it was time to get everything on a design wall. I thought doing so would help me make smarter color decisions and avoid resewing certain blocks down the road. But to be honest, when all was said and done, I still chose to remake some blocks.

Low Volumes

I was surprised with how much fun I had sewing with low volumes in this project. I decided early on to use LVs for the long vertical strips, but there were many other LV prints that provided a nice variety to the mix of fabrics, like the aqua floral on white pictured below. I love how, when it’s cut up, the midsize design provides an unexpectedly irregular background amid the surrounding structured elements.

The back is also built around LVs. At first blush, it may seem to differ from my typical approach to piecing backs. (Read about that here.) Its actually my tried-and-true recipe, amended to use up leftover swaths of yardage: I sewed two columns of fabric that were the length I needed and then added a third column in between them to create the required width. Doing so put the remaining fabrics from the tops background strips to good use. The solid aquas from my stash fleshed out the LV palette nicelyand used up pastels that had the potential to linger long in my stash.

I usually use darker values for binding because they frame quilts so nicely, and originally, I planned to bind the project in the navy bias stripe found in places throughout the top. In the end, however, I used a LV—the bias stripe in gray—for the binding. That LV fades into the vertical background strips, letting the blocks take center stage.

The Quilting

After all of the time, effort, and money I invested in this project, it merited some special quilting. Plus, I was pretty tired of looking at the top by the time it was completed—I probably would have put the quilting off for another year if I hadnt had the sense to send this project to Narda, of Maz Qs Sewing and Quilting Studio, for an edge-to-edge panto!

Choosing a panto was an endeavor in itself, though. I wanted something that complemented the vertical nature of the GW design. Narda steered me to Julie Hirts 60s Mod Butterfly design. I am ecstatic about the results!


Advice for Gypsy Wife Hopefuls

If youre considering your own Gypsy Wife project, my best advice for you is this: Do your homework first. Thousands of people have already tackled the pattern, and a few have been kind enough to document the process online. Some offer alternative ways to sew the filler blocks, info on errors in the diagrams, paper-piecing patterns for some of the focal blocks, and more tips on having a successful GW experience. Stitched in Color’s sew-along would be a good place to start. Good luck!

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  1. Beautiful quilt! Worth waiting for, I would think. I relate to so many things-- decision fatigue, fabric choices, tired of looking at the darn thing. I get that all the time! yay for you for overcoming all that and pressing ahead. Great finish!

  2. That is a beauty and the quilting is a nice touch!

  3. Big congrats! This sure is a time consuming and long term project - glad you got it finished :) Enjoy and do a happy dance! xo

  4. Oh, congratulations, Michelle! Your Gypsy Wife quilt is stunning. The low volumes let the quilt breathe and all the beautiful piecing shine. And the striped binding is such a great way to finish it off (along with the beautiful quilting). I hope this is one you plan to keep and snuggle with!

  5. Hurray for you! Getting this quilt to the finish line is quite an accomplishment. It really did turn out beautifully!

  6. Congrats on this milestone! I love the pastel fabrics with pops of color here and there. Job well done!

  7. Such pretty fabrics that you used in your Gypsy Wife. Well done. It is beautiful. Have a great weekend and happy quilting.


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