The Free Motion Quilting Project: Emergence - To Rainbow or Not to Rainbow

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Emergence - To Rainbow or Not to Rainbow

Yes, this really is the question - should I spend another week working on this quilt to create a giant rainbow to create a totally awesome back to this quilt or should I just slap on a hanging sleeve and call it done?

As you can see for yourself, the front is already awesome:

free motion quilting | Leah DayI've been mulling over just this question for more than a day and don't really have a good answer.

On the one hand, what does the back of a quilt matter? It's the back for god's sake, not the front, and for most purposes it will ALWAYS face towards a wall. Why in the world spend more time working on it when it might not ever see the light of day?

But on the other hand, why NOT take the extra step, go the extra mile, stitch the extra length to make this quilt as awesome as possible?

Hmmm...there really isn't an easy solution here....

Basically the decision is split between taking this design and creating another textured applique piece, this time a huge rainbow to cover a large space on the back of the quilt.

This diagram might be a bit hard to understand. The rainbow won't actually overlap the torn section, but instead stop right before it.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis piece will serve two purposes:

#1 - Over-the-top-aweseomness - It's not really required and it's absolutely the sugar and spice and whipped cream on top. Totally not required to show or to compete or to hang on my own wall. It's just fun! It will give the quilt the option of being hung either way - from the front with the sun or from the back with the rainbow depending on how I'm feeling that day.

#2 - Incorporating the Hanging Sleeve - Yes, I've actually started planning ahead with my hanging sleeves, and this is my solution - a separate, stitched-on-after-binding piece that covers a good deal of the top of the quilt, but also allows it to be hung without an ugly hanging sleeve marring the back.

...and really, it also serves a third purpose - I love rainbows. I see them as a freeing, childish sign from my youth that I'd like to reclaim.

When I was a little girl, all I drew was rainbows. Little stick figures of girls in triangle shaped dresses in square houses with chimneys and rainbows shining over the whole thing.

I drew these obsessively until I was around 10 when my sisters pronounced "That's gay." I don't mean to offend anyone, but that is really what my sisters said, and even though I didn't know what it meant at the time, I stopped drawing rainbows.

But I remember the joy and happiness I felt drawing those pretty girls playing under the rainbows and I'd really like to have that feeling back.

One major downside is it will cover a large section of quilting that took a lot of time to do, but the flip side is it will also hide the stitching from the front where the sun attaches. The quilt itself shrank more than 5 inches in both directions thanks to all the dense filler quilting, but the sun did not, which means it will stretch into these areas and must be quilted through all 3 layers to get it firmly attached.

Putting the rainbow on the back means these lines of stitches will be hidden completely, but I really want to bust my tail for another week on this quilt???

Another consideration is the fact that one of my major goals this year in 2012 is to make life easier for myself. I usually make things as hard as they possibly can be, and then pile on the guilt when I can't do everything I expect of myself.

Is adding this rainbow making life easier or making it harder? Is it worth going the extra mile so that when I look at the quilt, I know with all my heart it is absolutely 100% the best I can do?

I keep going back and forth, back and forth on this. Indecision seems to be my word for this December. I can't make up my mind about anything! Argh!

Let's go quilt,



  1. well December is about over and then you can come up with a decision and get a new word....

    either way.... it will be a super quilt.

  2. I think it is beautiful, but it is for YOU. Is there any reason you can't sit on it for a week and see how you feel? Sometimes my best finishes need to marinate for a tiny bit to show me what the best for them is...if i keep looking at it and thinking "I wish I had put the rainbow in", well, then I know it needs a rainbow. However, if I keep looking at it and thinking "Gotta get that binding on"...well, it doesn't need a rainbow. Just my thoughts...Have a great day!!

  3. This is simply amazing work Leah!!! I am stunned at how detailed everything is on it... Awesome Job!!!

  4. wow, that looks fantastic! I know you will make up your mind and figure it out soon... hang it up and keep looking at it.

  5. It is gorgeous!!!
    I think either way you want...also some day do you mind doing a tutorial on your way of doing hanging sleeves? I've thought of adding sleeves to lap quilts and baby quilts if they wish to hang it instead of using it.

  6. I do believe the rainbow is a "needed must" (my opinion based on a transparent post a while back on your sibling relationships). Although this will 'face the wall', you will know it's there and it's almost a fitting "closure" to some possible remaining memories/issues. It is something that I would do to grant myself peace. Either way, this piece is quite awesome and the front can definitely stand on it's own merits (which are enormous). Hugs, Doreen

  7. Well, I think if you want a rainbow,you should have a rainbow. It sounds as if they were very important to you as a child and your sisters "deprived" you of them.
    Reclaim your Rainbow as a symbol of you Emergence this past year.
    Happy New Year to you, Josh and James. xoxoxo

  8. My 2 cents...add the rainbow. Emergence shows a way to reclaim joy, and it totally fits with the story of your sisters criticizing your childhood drawings. It will be a beautiful surprise when people flip the quilt to study your stitching!

  9. Make the rainbow in such a way that it becomes the hanging sleeve. If you make the rainbow as it's own mini quilt, attach it on the top and at the distance that would be the sleeve.

  10. This is an amazing quilt!! In my opinion, you should put the rainbow on the back. It will not be complete without it. It will show that your work is finished, the Emergence and the fulfillment of the rainbow. As the year has one week left, so should the quilt have one week left. It will be the perfect ending for the year you are delivered for anyone else's opinions or how you live life. Make 2012 the year of making yourself happy and those around you happy. Have a wonderful New Year and thanks for all you have brought to quilters everywhere.

  11. First of all, I think your work is incredible. Now, there is one week left of 2011 and if you have already made the projects this year as hard as it can be, what is one more week of all out crazy hard? I agree that even though it is not necessary to make this quilt spectacular, it will indeed make it YOURS and reclaim what has been taken from you, in a strong, purposeful statement. You should have the most spectacular rainbow hanging in your home forever! Give yourself the rainbow this week, finish it and hang it. Use it as a room divider if that means you can see both sides! Then get a new word and start 2012 with a new plan, new slate, new goal etc. You deserve it!
    That is my two cents!
    Have a great day.

  12. I do not feel you need to add the rainbow for two reasons:
    1. You promised yourself to stop overdoing and demanding too much from yourself - this is EXACTLY it.
    2. I would much rather look forward to seeing the splendid quilt you create with the rainbow as the main theme, and not stuck away on the back of another beautiful quilt. A landscape with sunrays behind it?

    Just imagine!

  13. My vote, should it matter, is for the rainbow. One more week before the new year and then time to simplify.

    Your love of rainbows and the joy they bring you is what swayed me!

  14. I think the key word from you is "fun". You said you think it would be fun to do. That is reason enough to add the rainbow!

  15. Leah,
    Congratulations on getting so much done on "Emergence". I am finishing up a knitted 6' x 6' aphfan based on a Piet Mondrain painting for my son and want it done by the New Year. I understand wanting to be done with a major project. But I am enjoying the process so much, that if it is not done by the first of the year, who cares? I'm into this blanket to have a good time and make a nice gift for my son.

    One thought, if you added the rainbow to the back of the quilt, could it be used as a room divider in a space and seen from the front and back simultaneously? That might be a cool use for a quilt. Anyway, whatever you do, the quilt is beautiful. You imspire to be find my inner "artist".

    BJ from Charlotte

  16. "Over-the-Top" Awesomeness! Yes, I vote for the rainbow. It sounds like you have already designed it so I reeeeeally think you want the rainbow in spite of the additional time to finish your quilt. It will bring a smile to your face every time you see it. :)

  17. Even though I read your last post about Emergence I didn't understand how the sun would fit. It is absolutely gorgeous! You do such incredible work and this quilt is amazing. I agree with most of the posts, you have a strong link to rainbows and it seems it would bring additional closure to add one to this quilt. You've put so much into it, time, labor, emotions, it would be such a waste to finish it off and then later not feel it was truly complete. You know how you feel, good luck.

  18. Without the rainbow would you always look at it and see it as incomplete? Or would you see it's completed and get the closure you need? I think in your heart you will find the answer and even if it means more work you know in you mind that moving forward you won't over do future projects but sometimes you have to just finish up on the right one.

  19. If you piece the back and then quilt through everything, what will the back look like? (I suspect it will not look so hot but you probably are planning somehow it to look good.) It is a lot of extra work to make a pieced back look good AFTER the quilting.

  20. If you piece the back and then quilt it what will the back look like? It is a lot of work to piece a back and then plan the quilting to make the pieced back look good.

  21. A wise person once told me that "You'll never regret your extravagances in life, but you will regret not taking opportunities when they arise."
    Personally, I think you should listen to your inner voice. You've already said how important rainbows are for you, that they make you happy.
    I think you need to add a rainbow. This is the conclusion of your goddess series, you have emerged, you have grown immensely over the last year. I think the symbolism of the rainbow will be one you'll never regret.

  22. Hi Leah,

    You already know the answer... listen to your heart.

    ~ Jae ~

  23. Deep deep down do you see this quilt as complete? Did you ever, at the start of this design see it with a rainbow? Think long and hard because when you add the rainbow now that's it.
    Personally I see a new quilt a quilt of colour and joy, something that springs from Emergence, not something that's part of it. Take 2012 and develop what you've decided and learnt from your discussions in 2011 and create a new goddess quilt, another transformation ;o)

  24. Quilts and quilting should be joyful and fullfilling.

    Add the rainbow but do not "bust my tail for another week" doing it. Take your time, no rush, enjoy the process.

    60 years from now you will still have this beautiful quilt and will love it.

  25. Maybe you should do a rainbow, it could be cathartic. Perhaps incorporate into a new bold and beautiful quilt like your Emergence. Well done, your quilts are stunning.

  26. Enough already. Move on. The world awaits.....

  27. If symbolism is what you're going for (and it seems you are) then I wouldn't hide your rainbow behind another quilt, facing the wall. I would create a new, beautiful rainbow quilt that stands alone, front and center, to show the world your colors!

    But this is YOUR quilt, and you have to do what will make you happy and fulfilled.

    Whatever you decide, your quilt will be a masterpiece!

  28. If you think adding the rainbow to the quilt would be fun/enjoyable then you should go for it. If it seems like "work" to you then leave it simple.

  29. Go for it.

    Why ?

    You said it "FUN"

    Why not have some fun instead of hassle ?

  30. The answer is rainbow. The answer is always rainbow (coming from another adult that loves them)


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