Thursday, May 20, 2010

A dinosaur bites the dust!

Wow, does it feel good to slay finally do something constructive with this old dinosaur. The misshapen, badly planned, poorly sewn blocks for this quilt have been languishing in the darkest, most neglected recesses of my sewing room/project bins for... um... something like 15 years now.

Yup, only 3 fabrics in it: this one's all about the visual effect of purple "monkeys" twining around on a checkerboard background (that, and seeing how far I could push an acceptable color combo). The fabrics are prints, not solids, but "monotonal" in effect:, and quite lovely in person although they don't photograph well:

I still like the idea of this quilt, very much. I doubt I'm the first to make a bi-color "background" for a Monkey Wrench layout, but I came up with the idea on my own, and am happy (in a slapdash way) with how it turned out.

We'll be kind, and call this a "learning" project. If I ever decide to write a tutorial on how not to make a quilt, I can use this one as the example. This was one of the first quilt projects I tackled, and at the time I had no idea how to do things the right way, especially planning which of all those straight edges would be the bias ones. Most likely there are bias/stretch issues however you do it, although from my results I'm guessing I didn't take the best route through that particular jungle.

Don't know if I'll ever feel like tackling this pattern again, but paper foundation piecing would be the way to go, for sure. It's possible I didn't even know what that was way back when. If I had heard of it I didn't know enough to know that would be a good path to take.

More problems can be blamed on a sad combination of misinformation and ignorance. I'd been told, when I bought the machine I began this on, that the edge of the standard foot would result in a nice 1/4" seam for quilting purposes. Silly me: I believed the guy. Being a rank beginner at the quilting game, it didn't occur to me to check. So my seam allowances were all off by a wee bit. A wee bit off on a bunch of seams in some blocks and not many -- or none -- in the others, means my three blocks each came out a slightly different size. Plus, the non-adjstable presser foot on that machine pressed a bit tight, and pushed bias edges even more out of whack.

"Aaaaaaagck!!!" hardly begins to describe my emerging realization of the disaster the blocks were turning out to be, but nicely summarizes why I walked away from it and allowed these blocks to languish in a plastic storage bin for so many years.

Somehow that plastic bin came along for the ride through all my recent moves, waiting patiently for me to be over the trauma,. And there it was when I shopped the stash for fabrics to make a back for the "Nothing Too Girly" lap quilt I'm making for my husband. I saw possibilities in that bin, and enough time had passed that I no longer felt attached to making it come out right.

A little trimming down of the larger pieces, and some liberties taken with tidy seaming, and I was able to mash this together into something that looks (from a distance) almost presentable. Size at this stage is roughly 44"x68". It needs a narrow border all round (probably from the purple; I think I have enough) to come up to size.

Once I've tidied up the edges and added the border, this might even become the front of the "Nothing Too Girly" quilt. I'll let Mr. de Hilo decide which side he likes best.

My goal is to get top, back, and batting sandwiched and basted before putting it away for a bit. No machine quilting is gonna happen around here until I splurge on the table-extension thingie for my machine, which I am saving up for by abiding by the 120-day fabric and pattern embargo currently in effect.

Next up: making a pieced back for the pink lattice quilt I'm making for myself.

... No, I have not forgotten about the Kyoto skirt! Sheesh, it's sprawled all over my ironing board, leering at me. How could I forget it?

I might even sew another little bit of it tomorrow.

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