Saturday, March 31, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Too much time has gone by since I wrote last, but life does seem to have a very nasty habit of interfering with my plans, or maybe my lack thereof. It has been good to be back sewing again. I had a few weeks there that I made the close acquaintance of our local hospital having and recovering from back surgery. It's a very nice hospital as hospitals go, (I've unfortunately been in my fair share, but that's another story.) and I love my surgeon, but all in all much happier to be at home.

In my last blog, I showed what happens when you fail to measure twice, cut once, and cut it wrong anyway. I thought I had the darn thing licked, turning it into a nice little log cabin-like block. But alas, alack, and woe is me - picture me forlorn with my hand on forehead since I'm typing here - because one bad cut deserves another. I made as many of the blocks as I could with the fabric I had at my disposal. I really, really just wanted to use what was in my stash. That seems a very financially prudent thing to do plus I was still recuperating and not anxious to go gallivanting around to store after store, despite the fact that I generally love fondling fabric. It's a perfectly legal thing to do you know. Anyway I spent time staring at them trying to figure out how to use them, moving them around my make-shift design wall (a few pieces of old batting scraps do the trick), and came up with the idea below.

I decided that I really liked the on-point design. It takes 4 of the blocks to make the large square. With 4 log cabins left over, I just put them out to the side for the moment, but I'm sure that's not where they'll be in the final product. The design will become a table runner with solid side triangles surrounding the large on-point design. All to the good. Except. The problem is that the pretty little block that resulted is not a standard size, which means nothing is standard. To the reference books I went, found the formulas from geometry that I no longer keep in my head, and then tried very hard to measure accurately so that my side triangles would be cut correctly. I swear that there are sewing imps that live in my house whose only job is to make sure I cannot get a correctly sized triangle cut! Oh I double and triple checked my numbers, but the triangles that I cut for the side insertions were waaaay too big! I really don't know what I did wrong. But at this point I didn't care, I decided to just plow ahead. After all art quilters do this all the time. When they are given fabric shreds they somehow turn it into beautiful works of art. If they can do it, so can I. (Sounds a bit militant and defensive at the same time doesn't it?)

I've started to use those large triangles. At least since they were too large they could be cut to a smaller size and that's what I did. The hardest part is dealing with all the bias edges. Bias edges stretch so easily, so I've had to be very careful when sewing and pressing. Note: if you're working with bias edges you must press - lift the iron up and down - not iron. Otherwise your fabric will grow. This particular fabric I will never use again! (Probably not true, that's the militant still screaming at the imps.) It is a cotton batik, but I swear it seems to be a stretch cotton. Edges ripple while you look at it, never mind touching it. Sigh. Getting this quilt squared up is going to be a bear.

This was supposed to be an easy project, getting me back into the sewing room with little angst. It's evolved into something much bigger and more difficult, but I can say for sure that even when the imps of the sewing room try to stop me, I still sa(y) quilts! I'll take a picture of the finished product, that is, if the imps ever stop throwing up roadblocks!