What I'm Working on Right Now - Road bumps!
Hello readers! Thank you thank you for all your comments on recent posts. I love hearing from all of you!
I’m coming at you this week with another “what I’m working on right now” post. These have been a frequent occurrence lately, because (as you know!) I’m on deadlines with these two baby quilts!
I already told you about the first baby quilt. You can read about it by clicking here. It is still not sandwiched/quilted, but I feel really optimistic that it will be ready in time if I can just squeeze in a few hours on Lenni the Longarm.
The second quilt was, up until this week, a big doubtful question mark. As of 2 weeks ago, it was still just a pile of untouched fabric. I had picked the pattern out last time I updated you guys (ages ago!), but I haven’t made any progress since then.
After finishing the top of the first quilt, it was time to put the pedal to the metal on this one. And guys… (spoiler alert!) I finished this top too! GO ME! But let’s rewind a bit and talk about how I got there and the self-imposed bumps in the road.
I started piecing this top at Nancy the Quilting Goddess’ house, later finishing it up at my house (I cleaned the sewing table off and sewed alone! That’s how desperate I am to meet this deadline!). My first move, though was to ditch the pattern I had originally picked. Nancy’s husband Tom had bought a new pattern and it looked easier/faster to put together than the one I had initially selected. And time was of the essence, so the decision to switch to the new pattern was easy.
But then I pulled a classic Carolyn move - I didn’t feel like reading the pattern Tom bought, so I just took a picture of the cover and said, “I’ll figure it out as I go!”
Famous last words…!
I had this great fabric with kind of Aztec (Mayan?) looking suns, which I loved because the mother of the baby for whom this quilt is intended has Mexican heritage. We don’t know if the baby will be a boy or a girl, as the parents are leaving it to be a surprise, but I thought this fabric was too perfect to reject it just because it has pink in it. Plus, if my son Lewis is any indication, little boys can be wild about pink too!
These suns spoke to me and said, “I need to be the center of the squares”. I am not one to ignore such a clear message, so I set about fussy-cutting those suns out of the fabric. This was self-imposed road bump number one.
If you’ve never fussy-cut before, it is basically carefully cutting out a specific shape so that a specific part of the print shows up. You may do this so you don’t have a bunch of headless farm animals on a baby quilt, or so specific colors show up from a wildly varied print. In my case, I wanted to have a whole sun centered in my square. Was it worth the extra effort? I think so!
You may have noticed, if you’re an eagle-eye, that I decided to ditch the new pattern to make it even simpler too. I said goodbye to the tiny squares that surrounded the suns and said hello to strips. What a time saver! But as I started to cut things out, I remembered I had a panel I wanted to use for the back, which meant that the top had to be just the right size to fit the back. And that meant that I had to be thoughtful about the sizes of my strips and squares/rectangles.
Ugh. Math! The back panel was self-imposed road bump number 2!
From there, I decided that the navy blue solid would be the sashing, the yellow would be the vertical strips, and the hummingbirds/second panel would be the squares/rectangles. Then it was time to piece.
I started with piecing together all the yellow + sashing + suns. Then I laid them out on top of the back panel to see how much space was left. I used a yard stick to measure how much space was left where I wanted to add squares/rectangles, added seam allowances, and then cut the fabric for the squares/rectangles and pieced that in.
WHAT A PAIN! Why do I do this to myself?!
The first row went together fine. But subsequent rows had to be the exact same width, so the math got harder and the stakes got higher. And (self-imposed road block number 3!), naturally, I messed one up and had to unsew! Dangit!
Listen folks, I’m a linguist by education. Not a mathematician. So please, do not ask me where those 2 inches went in my calculation, because I will not be able to explain it.
After a lot of running back and forth between my sewing machine, the cutting mat, and the ironing board, and only un-sewing two seams… voila! A finished quilt top. It was hurried, it was frantic, it really doesn't look like the pattern I used as "inspiration", but it is done! And I think it is adorable and perfect for the parents of the baby who is receiving it.
So now I have two finished baby quilt tops and a date with Lenni the Longarm. I can do it I can do it!
- Carolyn Knees