Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Monday, 2 April 2018

April Fool!

I have been waiting and waiting to post this quilt on April Fool's Day...then I realized that this year, it fell on Easter Sunday. So, this April Fool is a double one - a trompe l'oeil , posted on the wrong day!

*I would like to encourage you to read to the bottom of this post before Googling and clicking links you find online.*

I did NOT design this quilt;  I saw it online a good many years ago, and it has been on my bucket list all those years.  It's a fabulous design, the brainchild of Ukrainian quilter Mezhibovskaya Valery Vadimovna, who blogs under the name lerusisik. You will notice I did not add any live links to her site as I normally would do. There's a reason...
Lerusisik designed this quilt as part of a guild challenge on twisted log cabin blocks.  They had 6 months to complete the challenge, and she came up with this brilliant design which she called "Through The Lens."  Amazingly, it did not win the challenge. (? must have been some pretty strong competition in that guild!) She next entered it in a math contest (didn't win that either) and then decided to submit a picture of her quilt to a German magazine, Lena's Patchwork, who developed a pattern, and featured it on the cover.

As happens, people began making the quilt and submitting it to shows and winning prizes, with no credit given to Lerusisik. They claimed the design as their own.I know how hurtful that is, and Lerusisik became quite upset about the whole thing. Earlier this year when I began my version of her quilt, I tried to revisit her website, with not very good results.  My McAffee program refused to let me on the site, saying there was malicious code.  I tried from a different computer, and Windows Defender gave the message, "Whoa - are you sure you want to go there? "  Clicking a link from a saved sketch in Word gave the message, "this site contains viruses, click at your own risk."  Hmm...I got brave (or stupid) and clicked it anyway.  I got to the main page ok, and everything seemed fine, so I decided to try a link to Barbie doll clothes (that sounded innocent enough, right?)  I ended up on a porn site.  So...draw your own conclusions, but for these reasons I am not posting any live links to her site, and if you Google and click, do so at your own risk. I am not going back.

Despite all of this, I still wanted to make the quilt!  Originally, she had shared her working sketch, done in Corel Draw, on her site for readers to download (with permission), and I had saved that sketch.  That's what I used to work from:
In hindsight, I should have taken the time to draw this out in EQ8.  It may not be obvious, but if you study the sketch, you will see that some of the blocks cannot be pieced as drawn.  There were many last minute adjustments in strip sequence as I went.
As you see in the magazine cover above, the original had multi-coloured centres but I chose to go with just 3 colours for the quilt:  black, white, and Canada Red Kona cotton.  I think the high contrast in colours helps add to the 3-D effect, and I like how clean and crisp the colours look together.
There are only 4 square blocks in the entire piece (the corners), and these measure 4".
The strips range from 1/2" to 1/8" wide, many of them curved. It was a nightmare to piece.
 I wasn't sure where all these pieces would fit in the final puzzle!

 I've done a fair bit of patchwork in my day, but this was truly difficult.  About 6 blocks in, I decided I couldn't do it. I set it aside for a couple of weeks while I thought on it.  It occurred to me that the piece is symmetrical side to side and top to bottom, so once I had the first quadrant of 9 blocks figured out, that would be the worst of it, as the shapes would repeat after that. I think I can, I think I can...
 Amazingly, as the blocks grew, the centre popped up right away.
These are the sewn blocks before joining...which took another week or so to ponder.  Since the blocks were all different could I possibly join them in rows?  It couldn't be done.
I thought back to the Global Warming quilt I did last year, and a light bulb came on! I needed to join the centre blocks in a circle, and then insert them into the outside blocks, like sewing a sleeve in an armhole.
 There was a small fly in the ointment, as perhaps you can see below:
 No?  Look here; there are gaps in the corners, where square meets round.

 I cut 2 triangles of black and 2 of white and hoped it would work.
 It did! :)
 About this time, Polly came along to shatter the illusion!
The quilt is by no means perfectly made.  There are strips that don't match up at the joining of the sphere to the background, but I did my best, and the illusion still works.  Interestingly, I recall reading on Lerusisik's site that she also had issues figuring out how to join her blocks and finally sewed them together by hand, using an EPP method.  I added a very simple border of black and white blocks and strips, which help add to the movement of the whole piece.  It is quilted very simply using Aurifil white, black and red thread.  All of the stitching is done in the ditch, so as not to detract from the fabric.

This is far and away the most challenging patchwork project I've done.  I cannot say I enjoyed making it, but I sure as heck enjoyed finishing it!  If you would like to try your hand at this...I wish you the best of luck. Thank you, Mezhibovskaya Valery Vadimovna, for your very brilliant design.
Beth of Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium has kindly invited me to display the quilt at her shop later this spring.  I'll keep you posted on when that will be (I think we need to decide first who is climbing the ladder to hang it...).


  1. Gorgeous quilt, congratulations in persevering. If I make it to Moncton this spring, I'll come visit it at Mrs. Ps.

  2. Stunning! It seems as if this was very difficult, yet, you persisted and produced a wonderful quilt. Congratulations.

  3. Wow Karen, that is one stunning quilt. You've done an incredible job (no surprise) at figuring out the assembly. Congrats!! Well done!!

  4. Difficult beyond what I could imagine!!! I like your version with red centres. How can anyone be so brazen and steal a design and claim it for their own glory!!!

  5. Karen, it’s stunning! You both have vision...the designer for, well, designing it, and you for being able to figure it out and not giving up! Such a shame she experienced so much negativity for such a brilliant piece of work.

  6. Such a great blog post. Thank you for taking us along on the ride. It's just like sitting beside you while you put this beast together. Well done!

  7. OMG, girl! What a feat! You are definitely a master piecer. And this is a masterpiece! Hope I get to see it in person.

  8. I saw the posting and thought BAZINGA! that's my next rug. Not black and white on the floor but at least light vs. dark. I will not log on to her website per your warning but will give her (and you) credit. Only one question - are the squares outside of the bubble the same sixe as the ones inside? Hard to tell.
    If I am ever down to your end of the country I will make sure to bring my New York Roundabout and this one for you to see.
    Many thanks
    Kate Seely

  9. Est il possible d avoir les dimensions des bandes de chaque bloc?
    Ou bien comment acheter ce patron?;
    Merci et felicitations a vous