Friday, January 14, 2011

And they lived happily ever after

Thank you so much for the positive comments on my last post.  I’m happy to say that I brought the finished top to the quilt shop and showed it to my “boss'” and she also agreed that the "alternate"  borders actually looked better.

Here’s a photo of the quilt top hanging in the shop:
Twister finished top

The photo does not do the fabrics justice.  Here’s a closer look at them:

I figure that I will point out the two different borders to the class, and let them decide which way they want to place them.

And now a bit of commentary:
The 17 “twister” stars are each made up of 4 units.  In the quilt construction  you end up with the 68 units you need for the stars, plus 68 mirror images that you use in the border.  Clever, right?
However, there is a small price to pay for all this cleverness.  You have 136 units that need to be trimmed to size before you can start assembling. 

That’s 136 of these:
blocks before trimming that need to look like these:
after trimming
and eventually leave you with this:
Twister trimmings

That’s a lot of trimming!  Faced with the pile of untrimmed blocks, I questioned the benefit of creating “oversized blocks that need to be trimmed”
versus “just cutting the correct size pieces in the first place and sewing carefully”.

I did not want to tackle all that trimming in one session, so I broke it up into several smaller ones.  I would trim about 12-15 at a time, in between doing other steps.

I also broke down into smaller steps all the blocks that needed to have a diagonal  sewing line drawn on the back.  There were 136 of those, too.
drawing lines

That mix and match sort of technique  (cut a few, sew a few, iron a few, trim a few, draw a few lines) is what kept me sane during making of this quilt, but it could also be a little confusing and likely contributed to my eventual error in the border.   (Also, I don’t recommend making a quilt with a deadline. )

When it came time to actually sew all the blocks together into a quilt top, the sewing was a breeze,
I tell ya,  a BREEZE!  All the pieces fit beautifully together because all the trimming had made them a uniform size.
So I got off my high horse of thinking that piecing accurately in the first place is the better way, and decided that both methods have merit.  My high horse will still be there waiting for the next time I feel like acting superior.

Monday, January 10, 2011

To fix or not to fix…

I’m working on making a sample for the quilt shop.  It’s an awesome pattern called “Twister” by Debbie Tucker, and I will be teaching it as a class when I am done.  I’ve been rushing a bit because of a deadline, which means I’ve been piecing past my bedtime, which inevitably leads to mistakes. 

Here is an EQ6 rendering of what the quilt is supposed to look like:
Twister Awesome, right?

And here is what mine looks like:
Twister mistake
Look carefully.  The mistake is in the pieced borders on the right and left side.  I should have rotated the blocks another 90 degrees before I sewed them together.  Gah!

Here is a side-by-side comparison.

 I don’t have the time to rip out all those stitches and re-do them, so I’m going to have to go ahead and display it as it is. In the one on the right, the two long pieced borders merge into the solid navy outer border.   Do you think the overall design suffers too much from my error?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Twenty Eleven

We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is
New Year's Day.
                                   -Edith Lovejoy Pierce
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