Meryl Quilt - Raw Edge Adventures

This falls into the category of "Oh, I thought you were joking." A dear friend asked for a Meryl Streep quilt and then a few weeks later, emailed me a bunch of images of her, over the ages, for inspiration. I kindly considered the images, selected my favorite, and tabled it for a decade down the road when I felt at all prepared to tackle that. 

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About one year went by and Meryl was still a glimmer in the eye. I attend QuiltCon in Savannah, and there is this pop art quilt of Abraham Lincoln. I realized that doing a literal interpretation of her was always bound to fail, but that pop art might be my out. 

I Googled pop art images of her and found this one: 

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I got all excited and started pulling beige and grey and blacks and purples for this quilt. My husband stopped me: "You wanted to do a pop art quilt, not copy someone's version of Meryl Streep from the internet. You need to change to colors to pop art." Me: "Yeah, I don't know how to do that."

He helped me learn! Then Meryl became this, which I gridded off in 4x4 squares.

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It got worse before it got better though: I started by using regular piecing for each square. It turned out literally look like Frankenstein, so again the project stalled. I started looking into raw edge applique and the possibilities and limitations, and risks of that method. Just gluing down tiny pieces of fabric? Would it work?

This is supposed to be the top right corner, part of her head and hair. YIKES. 

This is supposed to be the top right corner, part of her head and hair. YIKES. 

The raw edge applique was liberating and terrifying. I used NO interfacing, just a gluestick and some scissors. I got to use colors I almost never use, like pink and purple, and even now I know she's quite delicate. 

Would I make another one? Hard to say. This was a LOT of hours, after a LOT of trial and error, and it's a decorative quilt only. But, I'm proud of myself for facing the challenge and turning out a product. Also, that moment when she started to actually look like Meryl Streep was kind of great.

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