Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Optical Illusion Quilt

Faith grows when faith is all that’s left. 
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer


As I wrote a few weeks ago, this particular plan came from a talk Sarah Nishiura gave at the Iowa Quilt Museum. She didn't show her finished quilt - or at least I didn't see it. I assume she made one since she has a series of quilts with grid changes. In the talk, she gave general instructions to "make each row narrower" so that was what I did. {Well, I chickened out on the final row but went back and remade it.}

Optical Illusion baby quilt

But the idea has been rolling around since I saw Ancient Directions by Allison Goss at a Festival in the 90s. Additionally, Margaret Miller wrote about warping blocks back then, too. Blockbuster Quilts addressed it a bit and I believe she wrote another book with more detail. But it took Sarah's offhand comment to get the match lit under my tail. So, thanks to all these quilters for the inspiration. I hope they help you, too.

Blockbuster Quilts by Margaret Miller

The green main diagonal on my quilt is not a solid. It's remnants of a tone on tone print that was the back of my Wheels quilt. Because of that, most of the scraps and strings are much darker making this a very dark but dramatic baby quilt. A narrow border keeps all the bias edges in line. It's a print with sea turtles. One of my favorites. The back is four quarter- to half-yard pieces that have been hanging out in my stash for much too long. Since they needed to be a bit wider, I added a grey across the middle. 

Once the top was complete, spiral quilting was the only way to go for me.  

Back of Optical Illusion baby quilt

Quilt Specifics
Size: 44" x 44"
Design: String quilt
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Premium Natural Cotton
Thread: Aurifil blue cotton thread
Quilting: Spiral  with walking foot
Approximate yardage: 6.5 yds

Previous posts:

FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

My tracking has been lax {nonexistent} this year but through June, I've used 39.5 yards.


When a friend told me about this book, it sounded interesting. Then I realized it's an earlier book by Rachel Joyce. I'm probably the last person to read The Unexpected Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but I've enjoyed it tremendously. 

Harold receives a letter from a former co-worker telling him she is dying. He writes a short note in response but on the way to mail it, finds himself choosing to walk across England to visit her in person. 

Parts of the book reminded me of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but Rachel has a kinder heart and a talent for misfits and ordinary people with sad, lonely lives. 

Enjoy the day, Ann


Pamela said...

I really like this quilt! Well done!

patty a. said...

Now that the quilt is done the 3D look of the piecing really pops! Well done!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

That is SUPER COOL!!!!!

Quilting Babcia said...

This quilt looks like a fun challenge for my aging brain! Yours is beautiful!

Ann said...

Thanks, Pamela. I had no idea how it would turn out but had fun playing with my scraps.

Ann said...

Thanks, Patty. The 3D effect worked well here. Such a surprise even though I made a sketch first. Just not very accurate.

Ann said...

Thanks, Alycia.

Ann said...

It's a new way to use up our scraps. I always seem to have gallons of them.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Such a fun quilt! The 3D effect is very clever, had me looking at it for ages! I read Harold Fry some time ago, loved it! There is a companion book - The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey" which kinda fills in the gaps a bit.

LA Paylor said...

I love that you credit the people who give you little puzzle pieces and ideas... it's the best thing. Your quilt is outstanding, and the book sounds very intriguing

Ann said...

I'm reading Queenie now and think I'm the last person to read these. Rachel writes engagingly.

Ann said...

Just like a kid - I see or hear it but don't act on it for years. Rachel has written several books and they are all good.

Mystic Quilter said...

Such a finish!! The quilt seems to leap off the wall, I do admire you tackling this design.

Mystic Quilter said...

So good to see this all finished up and quilted - especially as you've gone with your lovely spiral quilting design!

Nann said...

Late to commenting . . . the optical illusion is a beauty! Glad you have discovered Harold Fry. When I go out for my walks (which are getting easier and longer for me) I think about Harold setting out in his deck shoes.

Ann said...

It was a great new way to use up my scraps.

Ann said...

Thanks, Maureen. That spiral is getting so easy to quilt and has very few threads to bury.

Ann said...

Oh, yes. Shoes with duck tape!