Saturday, January 12, 2013

Starting the new year a little bit late

It's already January 12th, and I'm just getting around to starting the new year. But since I've only been home from my annual winter trek to Alberta for 3 days, I'm not feeling too badly about it. And the good news is that I have lots of quilty plans for this year, and am anxious to get started on them. So the fact that circumstances have given me a free weekend is really good news, and I'm using that time to get some things done in the studio.

Of course, the first thing that had to be done was a bit of tidying up. Right at Christmas things got crazy, and some of the overflow got dumped in there because it was free space. Most of that has now been cleared away; what remains will require a trip up the ladder to store, and I'll save that for another day. There was yarn waiting to be wound, and a bit of sweeping that was urgent. Once that was done I could get back to the last project I was working on, which was this:

This started out as a pattern called "Eat Soup with the Side of Your Spoon" from the book Country Threads Goes to Charm School by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene. The fabrics were a set of 10-inch squares I acquired on some shop hop or another, which I cut down to 5 inches, then pieced. I liked the colors and the way the blocks went together, but there was a major problem with accuracy. The squares were not die-cut from a manufacturer, and therefore were not precisely 10 inches square. And since I just whacked away at them, by the time I finished, the edges were pretty wonky. The solution was to add the wide muslin sashing and then trim the blocks to uniform size; any inconsistency in the width of the sashing is not at all noticeable once the blocks are set together.

Adding all that sashing also solved another problem I was wrestling with, which was how to make the top big enough to cover a bed. I started working on this quilt over Thanksgiving weekend, which I had set aside to make some quilts for Superstorm Sandy victims. Those quilts never happened, but this did, and my intention from the beginning was to make it big enough for a twin-sized bed so it could be donated to victims of the next disaster. That thinking set the dimensions for the final blocks, the sashing between them, and all the other decisions about what to do with the pieced blocks.

It's coming along well. With any luck I will have a finished top by the end of the day tomorrow. The blocks are all in strips and I just have to sew the sashing strips that go between the rows, then do the final row by row assembly. At that point I will have to set it aside until I can get to a fabric store and get backing for it, since I don't think I have anything here that will serve. It may be a while before it gets quilted, but I have other quilts that are basted and ready for quilting, so I think I will pull one of those out next and have something finished and ready. There will be disasters, and while I will still feel helpless in the face of devastation, I will be able to send comfort to one person at least.