Saturday, August 28, 2010

This is what the very center of the quilt looks like. You can begin to see how complete circles weave together at the intersections. It will be clearer when the melons are added to the outer edge, but even now it's starting to come together.

I've learned a couple of things so far. One is that this background fabric is not printed symmetrically, so it's hard to cut all the pieces indentically. I'm doing the best I can and going for overall effect rather than absolute identity. Another is that there is a LOT of waste in the cutting. Fortunately had more yardage, so I've ordered another 10 yards just to be sure I have enough. I've tried a couple of different layouts and they all seem to leave about the same amount of waste, although this one with the light center at least lets me get 2 pieces out of a width of fabric. I've also decided I may vary the layout from the center to the outer edge, enhancing the light-to-dark shading effect.

In the piecing, I've had to make two modifications from the way I did James and Crystal's quilt. One was to make marking templates so I can mark off where the cornerstone seam would be if there was one, since the end of the melon background lines up with that, and so I can mark the center of the arc, since it's not the center of the piece of fabric. I've also had to clip the fabric at the cornerstone seam when I sew the arc pieces together for ease.

In some ways the sewing seems slower than it should be, but I keep forgetting that I'm not doing the tedious paper piecing of the arcs. So If the cutting and marking takes more time, I think I'm still coming out ahead. The main thing is to keep everything labeled and right side up. Thank goodness for sticky notes, highlighting tape, and a good seam ripper.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The plan is now final. Even with the fabrics I bought last week, I wasn't sure that I had what I really wanted, so I went rooting through a box of fabrics I had pulled for a set of crazy blocks. Lo and behold, I found exactly what I was looking for, and since I only need one ring of each of these lights, a fat quarter is enough. One of the pieces had been cut into, so I did some tracing of templates to be sure I had enough of that fabric, and I do, so we're good to go.

So here's the plan. The fabrics on the left are the lights, and they will go in the center of the quilt. The ones in the middle are the mediums, and they will encircle the lights. Then on the right are the darks, and they will form the outer ring. The one thing I realized as I was drawing the working diagram is that I need another set for the arcs that will intersect the outer edge of those dark rings. But I have a good quantity of blacks that can be pressed into service; I'm not going to worry about those right now.

The basic plan is the same as before, but it has a lot more tones of teal in it. It will still shade from light to dark from the center out. I'm not bothering to redo my colored pencil sketch, because it shows what I really need it to. The most important diagram right now is this one:

It has every block labeled by row and column and every arc labeled by fabric. When I start to sew I need to know that I am working on block C3 and the arc at the top has fabric L1 and M2 in it. This is the chart that keeps the fabric labels straight:

And to be extra sure I don't get them mixed up I have each fabric labeled as well.

Tomorrow I should be able to start cutting fabric. I'll do the first block with fabric I have plenty of in case I need to adjust the templates. Before the weekend is over I should at least have something sewn together.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I finally have a plan for Theresa's double wedding ring. I've had a picture in my mind of what I wanted for at least six months, but couldn't figure out how to make it, or even get it down on paper. Of course, in all this time I didn't actually sit down with paper or pencils, I just fussed about it. Finally, last night, it started to come together.
It started with a lovely light turquoise and gray print that just seemed to say Theresa to me. Because she is young and hip and graphic, I thought about doing the rings in shades of gray. So I started collecting gray fabrics. And I wanted to have whole rings, not pieced ones, that would intersect with each other across the quilt.
So here's the rough sketch of what I'm going to do:
When I put a template on the background fabric I realized that this too needs to be made in 24-inch rings, the same size as Crystal's. That helps. Once I knew that I could lay out a 6x6 grid and start putting in colors. Of course the grays all look alike in the picture, and the blue shading i put in the center doesn't show up much, but this is the general idea. The center of the quilt will be lighter than the edges, and there is a definite way each of these rings intersects. And each arc will be a single piece of fabric, rather than 7 as in Crystal's quilt.
These are the fabrics I have as of now:
The red/coral will be a sort of "surprise" in the construction, appearing at random places. But something seemed to come alive in the mix when I added it, and I think in a very small amount it will work wonders.
I also bought this lovely shaded turquoise fabric on one of my buying trips. It too seems to add something, but it's not quite the right shade. And I'm not sure what to do with it. So for now, it's on the table waiting for its chance to tell me what it needs to be.
The problem is that all the grays are pretty much the same value. There's some difference, but not a lot. But I just haven't seen any lighter ones that really do the job.
So there will be more fabric shopping in the near future. But I have something to work with. And that's farther along than I've been so far.