Presidents Message August 2017

Presidents Message August 2017

Well, the surprise is over. The challenge is done and, as usual, it was really wonderful. Now, we can talk about choices and challenges. I love challenges; I think I have said that before. I have a couple of my own rules. First, I will only make something I dream up myself. Don’t ask me why, I just like to take the opportunity to make myself actually think about things. When I sit down to design something, I usually start with scraps of paper and move to eq7. Not with challenge quilts. For those, I develop a vague idea and start throwing fabric into blocks or pieces of blocks. This may seem a bit scatterbrained, but there you are, that is me! After I have made a number of pieces, sometimes a lot of pieces, I start getting an idea of how to put everything together…. I hope. This is where some choices come into play. Do I like what I have done? Is it possible to actually use what I have done? Do I want to continue? At what point did I lose the last brain cell? Believe me, I don’t take the last question too lightly.

 

At this point in the process, I have a thought on where I am going and the hard stuff comes in. I think of this as the bridgework, where I have to do the math and determine how to put the pieces together. This year, for instance, I had blocks of three different sizes and I wanted my stars to look like they were randomly thrown at a wall, so I had a couple of options. I could sit down and draw a complicated grid of odd size pieces to put together or I could assemble my blocks into larger blocks of a common size. I elected to go the latter route. This way, I only needed to cut some coping pieces of odd sizes and the final assembly was actually pretty straightforward. Now, what about the back.. Do I look through my stash for a large enough piece or buy something, or… This is an easy one and the answer is always the same. I end up looking at the leftover stuff I have from the front and decide to put it on the back. I don’t think about assembly. I just keep attaching leftover pieces together until it is big enough. I always like the result. This year, my husband actually likes my back better than my front. Ok, guys, I am talking about my quilt!

 

Then comes quilting, my personal fear and challenge. I’ve probably mentioned this, I am not good at the quilting part. I can’t see the straight lines nor can I sew the straight lines. My curves look more like the migration pattern for a dodo bird. Once a quilt is larger than a square foot, I feel like I am wrestling a bear. I have seen people cram large quilts through the throat of the sewing machine but I can’t seem to do it. I’ve thought about trying to do longarm quilting but then the whole mobility problem comes into play. I have to do it though, that is my second rule for challenges. I don’t know whether it’s a formal rule or not, but I feel like I should quilt my own in this case. I start with the obvious, quilt in the ditch. Oh-oh, I can’t seem to find the ditch with my needle. Ok, I quilt close to the edge of the pieces instead. Not bad, I can live with that! Next, I have to fill in all the blank space between objects, pieced stars this year. I start by ruling out all the cool patterns like concentric circles, stipples, flowers, scrolls, etc. Remember I have that dodo bird problem. Generally, I decide to do something pretty geometric with straight lines. Last year, I think I did a cross-hatch. This year, I had the brilliant idea, made the insane choice to do a few quilted stars to accent my pieced stars. So I went into Word and printed their four-pointed, five-pointed and six-pointed star shapes onto foundation paper, varied the sizes and started. Oh, yes, I started with a dozen printed stars for paper quilting (pin the paper on the quilt, sew the shape and remove the paper). Well, that filled up a very small part of one corner. It ended up taking me almost 300 stars to finish. I saw stars, I ate stars, I cursed stars, I never want to see another star. It was done though… Yay!!!

 

I hope you all enjoyed your process as much as I enjoyed mine. I hope you all enjoyed the challenge quilts as much as I did. I hope we do it all over again next year. I can’t wait.

 

See you at the meeting.


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