Saturday, July 11, 2015

Another process post

I thought it was time for another post following an idea from the start all the way through to the finished top.

This one started with a small picture clipped from a magazine subscription ad.  I had tossed it in my idea box a couple of years ago and ran across it recently when looking for something fun.  Here's the original idea.
I looked around the internet to see if I could find a pattern, but with no luck.  So I first drew it in EQ, but then drew it out the old fashioned way, with my old drafting tools.   My version doesn't have as many ribbons in each wave but I didn't realize this until after it was sewn.  Oh well, it still works.

 I cut some templates from plastic and used them as guides for cutting the fabric.  I started out drawing around them, but then got lazy.  I confess, I did use them with the rotary cutter which I know isn't exactly safe, but I was very careful.  I promise.
One of the fun things about scrappy quilts is playing with all the different fabrics.  As I was cutting out each piece, it put them on my design wall to make sure I was getting a good mix of colors.  I also check to make sure I didn't miss any letters of the alphabet.  This pattern is particularly fiddly with 6 pattern pieces, 3 are the mirror of the others.  The design wall especially important with this pattern; I couldn't have kept it all straight without it during the cutting phase.

Having lots of fun with this.  Did I mention one of the big pains with scrappy quilts is putting away the fabric after you are done?

Starting out, I was going to mark each piece with alignment marks and pin in 5 places.  I did this for a while, then again I got lazy and tried not pinning.  The curves are pretty large so I tried the method of sewing curves by holding the concave piece on top and feeding it through the presser foot gradually matching up the edge.  I discovered it worked when the curve went one direction but not the other and not on all fabrics.  Darn.  I really wanted the outside edges to match correctly so I wouldn't have to trim.  I knew it would make things easier when I put the blocks together.  I wanted the seams to match properly or the pattern wouldn't work as well visually.  Finally I decided pins really were necessary but only at the start and the end of each piece; since the curve was so gradual I didn't need them in the middle. 
I had to rip and re-stitch several blocks to get those edges to come out even, but it was worth it.  Putting them all together was very simple.  I pressed each alternate block in different directions so I could nest the seams between them but with the curves I needed pins to make sure they lined up properly.
I decided I wanted to add borders to the quilt so I thought I'd show how I measure for borders.  I first fold the quilt in half and then half again.  This lines up the two edges of the quilt with the center.  I lay my first border down on that edge and use the quilt itself to cut the length of the border.  There isn't any need to use a measuring tape.  If it edges are a little longer or shorter than the middle, I use the center of the quilt.  This prevents wavy edges.  I pin these to the quilt, easing in any excess.  Never just start sewing the border without trimming and pinning - wavy borders guaranteed (ask me how I know).
Another trick when using multiple borders is to sew each alternate border together before attaching to the quilt.  For example, top and bottom I sewed the green narrow border to the quilt.  For the sides, I sewed the green narrow border to the wide blue border first, then attached to the quilt.  Then I sewed the last blue border to the top and bottom.
It turned out a very happy quilt.  The little boy who received is happy too.  His last name is Fish and it was a happy coincidence that I included an unusual number of fish fabrics (I didn't know who was going to get it when I started).  I added to my usual ABC poem on the label a line to count the fish.  Hopefully I'll have a happy picture soon with his smiling face.  I might make one for myself using "regular" fabrics, it's such a fun pattern visually.


  1. Anyone ever tell you that you are a born teacher? :-)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.