I love Essex linen but I don’t love it in this quilt. And that’s okay.
This is the first quilt that I’ve made that combined small piecing and Essex, and I’m not a fan. Lindsay Neill’s Pen and Paper patterns are some of my favourite quilt patterns of all time. I love her style and I love everything that comes out of that crazy creative brain of hers. I had made a few snail blocks from her Garden Snails Quilt pattern before I decided to make an entire quilt for my oldest daughter, so I knew how it went together and was happy with my finished snails. Then I thought that using Essex would make for a nice background. This is where my issues started. Essex and small piecing don’t mix. At least I couldn’t get them to play nicely together. It stretched and shifted and distorted until my poor little snail antennae got cut off because I couldn’t square my blocks properly (Lindsay if you read this, I’m sorry for butchering your adorable snails!). Le sigh. I knew I was in for a treat when a friend from my guild regaled her tales and tribulations of quilting Essex that was cut on the bias. And my snail blocks were already 3/4 done – at least I knew I wasn’t alone.
Thankfully I didn’t have any issues quilting the quilt, other than a bit of warping/stretching along the edges, but okay because I had wide borders. I spent the morning with Julie from the Longarm Workroom and we did a simple all-over pattern. I’m thinking though that a few of the snails need a bit of embellishments; maybe a moustache or hipster glasses!
I’m glad that the quilt is finished, because it was the first time I’ve ever been frustrated with how a project was coming together. In the end it looks great, Ava loves it, I love the colours and prints that I’ve chosen, and, ONLY I will see the little janky antennae on those poor snails. So now is the time to let that shit go. Lesson learned from this quilt: I still love Essex linen, but now I know not to try using it on the bias, or for small piecing. Unless I want to make myself crazy… again.