Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Some quilts take longer than others!!

Some time ago I was asked to teach a short program on and provide a pattern for a block.  I was very excited that people I know had actually asked me to teach.  Well that didn't really last too long.  I struggled over what pattern to teach that would be somewhat easy to piece and yet go together in a fashion that made it appear to be a more difficult block.  I looked through book after book and searched online and it seemed that I couldn't find anything I felt would be a good project.  Finally, just a couple of days before I was scheduled to teach I found what I thought would be a great block!!  After looking at about a thousand patterns this was the one.  The blocks were relatively simple.  It was a square in a square pattern that extended out to another border around that and then an accent along each outer border.  The pattern was called Garden Path and the directions for cutting were simple.  There were no 7/8" or 3/8" to make things more difficult.  I took great pains to copy the pattern down correctly and made my sample.  I presented the program and everyone admired the block.  I was greatly relieved that it had gone so well....until......  The following week I had a telephone call from one the people and she literally blasted me that my directions were not right and there was no way anyone could make a block out of that pattern.  I thought I had been so careful, but not careful enough.  I had left out one line in the directions.  Now what is that saying about "the best laid plans of mice and men...."

Well, I decided to go ahead and make a quilt using the block pattern that I had demonstrated.  First I had to decide on fabric.  Just prior to these events a friend, knowing how much I loved oriental patterns had given me a piece of fabric that she had that did not match anything in her stash.  She was trying to whittle down her fabric stash to more manageable proportions.  (Something I have never, ever, ever had the urge to do.)  This particular piece of fabric was an oriental garden complete with pagodas.  Well the name of the pattern was Garden Path so why not use that oriental garden fabric to make a garden path, and then I pulled out some more oriental prints from my stash that contrasted with the piece I was given and then I picked a very neutral background.

This is the garden path block  and some of the fabric
I chose to go with the piece of fabric I was given.
 I decided that I really didn't want to go with a traditional sashing pattern, that this quilt should have some special quilting and I wanted room to do that quilting.  At the time I was thinking about ferns and feathers.  Oh well, it wasn't time to quilt just yet, I had to finish putting it together.  I had 12 blocks and I wanted to make a quilt that was larger than a lap quilt and smaller than a bed quilt, and I did not want to use just a 2" sashing around the blocks so I decided to do some math.  Gosh, who would have thought that math would have come in so handy.  Well actually I loved math so it wasn't a hardship.

You can see in the above picture there is a variation in the spacing between the blocks, and in the picture below.

This picture gives a better picture of the different block setting.
You will notice the points are closer to the border for some blocks.
The points on the blocks are not in a regimented line.
 Quite simply I decided how wide I wanted the inter portion of the quilt and basically I decided that I would use the 2 1/2" sashing measurements and I would typically use 4 of those for a total of 10" of sashing.  Instead of cutting 4 - 2 1/2" strips, I cut a 1" and a 4" and a 2" and a 3" and that was my 10" of sashing and then I just put those in different places in the row.  I sewed a strip on each side of the first block and then on 1 side of the other 2 blocks.  Then I carried it a step further and used the same technique for the sashing on top and on bottom.  The final result was to give my quilt a very unique appearance in the setting and it is not one that you will find in a pattern book.  I like things simple, but I like things unique.  I guess this is all part of the reason I love freehand quilting on my machine.  Every quilt is different.  Even if I tried I could not exactly duplicate any quilt.  That is part of my love for quilting, the creating of something unique.

Well I got the blocks and sashing together, in much less time than you would imagine.  Just about 2-3 hrs and I was ready for borders.  Borders are really special things.  You simply don't want to forget the function of the border.  The border functions to stop the eye.  It says "Okay that was the quilt and that is the extra special portion, take time to look again."  Really the border is not there because you want to make the quilt bigger and so you just added borders until it was the right size.  This particular quilt, I felt, was to have very special quilting, so I didn't want a first border that would overwhelm, just a little pause and then we will see what's next..  My choice was a very narrow, green and black geometric that really looks almost like a solid black with a little texture.  Turned out to be just what I wanted.

Now I was ready for a final border and I wanted the oriental fabric again, but it needed to be a fabric that combined many of the colors I had used in the blocks.  The cards were the perfect choice as far as I was concerned.  I did make sure that the fabric was cut so the cards were all correctly oriented to the person viewing the quilt.  On top the cards are all with the top of the cards toward the outside top of the quilt and down the sides they cards are all with the sides of the cards on the outside of quilt and still with the top of the card toward the outside top of the quilt and the bottom border has the top of the cards against the border and the bottom of the cards pointing to the outside edge of the quilt.

This picture of the bottom left corner of the quilt shows
the fabric orientation of the border.
It was actually hard to tell where the fabric was seamed together which was an accident on the first one and then I started striving for that look on the second one and it worked out very well if I do say so myself.

Well now it's time to pick out the backing and of course I had to go with another oriental fabric.  This is one I really loved and I had to piece the backing.  I learned a long time ago that when you were having to piece a backing the correct way was to make all 3 pieces the same size or put a larger piece in the center and identical smaller widths on each side.  It is not preferred to just place a seam down the center of the backing.  Well since I had gone to so much trouble with the rest of the quilt, I needed to go all the way, and since I had matched the pattern so well at the seams on the border I wanted to see if I could do that on the backing also.

It really is difficult to tell where the seam is in this picture. 
I put an exclamation point under the seam and the seam is not at the end
of the wooden post but going through the center of the second flower
from the end of the post.

All in all I think the quilt turned out very well.  I did do some special quilting, but not what I had originally envisioned.  I actually love the quilting and how it goes along with the whole theme, but I'll give you a look at that next week. 

Happy quilting.

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