Thursday, April 25, 2013

last chevron class

monday was the last day of my beginner's quilting class for the chevron quilt. i had to skip week 3 because the mr. had a last-minute business trip come up. last minute, as in he tells me sunday afternoon he's flying to vegas in the morning. and the kids have appointments all day. so i missed last week's class session and stayed clear through the night class this week in hopes of getting near completion.

i loved seeing everyone else's nearly-finished quilts as they worked on their bindings. i am always surprised with how different each quilt looks because of the fabric choices even though we all use the same pattern. (you can click on the photo to get a better look at the quilts.)

veronica used a robert kauffman eyelet-style ivory solid for the neutral on her quilt. i love the added dimension and unique look it gave her project.

loni was making a quilt for her daughter, an only girl with 3 brothers. so the front is bold colors and houndstooth fabrics. not very feminine by choice. but for the backing she found this lovely little floral that had all the same colors as her chevrons. it's a perfect touch that is subtly feminine. then she bound it in black with tiny white polka dots like the floral fabric.

louise demonstrating attatching binding
while everyone else was oohing and aahing over louise's quilting work (she long-arm quilts as well as teaches) and getting their binding started, i was getting my top finished off. the main panel was still in four pieces and it needed borders. after the first class, i accidentally mixed up my rows and had sewn some of the middle of the quilt to the bottom of it by pairing the wrong white rows together. i didn't immediately undo them, waiting to see if maybe it wouldn't matter. but when i had all the pieces done, i decided it did matter and would need to be fixed. it just threw off the flow of the quilt to have the rows rearranged.

so i unpicked everything at home and got to work reassembling in class. however, when i was done, it was glaringly obvious there was now a different problem.

you can see it, right? that row of white diamonds where there is supposed to be a chevron. (i was not the only student to do this, by the way.) oh, boy. it was fixable if i unpicked the seam i'd just sewn and moved a block from one end of the quilt to the other. but i so did not want to do that. louise talked me in to leaving my "happy mistake" as a special design feature. this is the first time i've had one of these. i've seen them before on other people's work and usually like them, but it was a first for me. oh, well. it is okay and we are moving on.

my next challenge came when putting on the borders. while there was a lot of leftover solids from the kit, the blue floral i needed for the borders was running short. i was supposed to cut 7 strips 5 1/2" wide, but i could only squeeze out 6. the remaining fabric was literally 1/4" too short. i couldn't believe it. fortunately, i had my scraps from the chevron rows with me and i was able to get some short strips out of them. when all was done, i had about 5" leftover. that's very little breathing room!
the photo is of my pieced border (wrong side up) at bottom, the last strip that was 1/4" short under the ruler at top, and the little square that is my only remaining scrap, to the right. i was sweating this one out and wondering how the heck i was going to make do if i didn't have enough. thank goodness i eked out what i needed!

having all the rows together and the borders on makes for one huge piece of fabric to maneuver around. it always feels so strange to work with such large pieces after all the tiny piecing at the beginning of a project. and then i put together the back which is just yards and yards of material. turns out i was a bit short there, too. the backing didn't come with the kit and i think maybe i had more at home, but i just used part of the fabric intended for the binding as a filler to make it stretch. i double bought for the binding, but it still may be close. we'll see when i get to that point.

i had high hopes of getting started on the machine quilting before i had to go home, but, as usual, i underestimated how long it was going to take. i did manage to get the whole thing sandwiched and basted (yay!) and then i made the binding. at least i came home with what looks like a quilt. i'm just going to echo quilt all the chevrons, which should be fairly easy. this quilt should be knocked out in another month or two. almost there!

oh, what to do next? that's always the fun part to decide.

louise does have this fun quilt going for class the next two months:
there are even two options: the simpler quartered block or the union jack looking one for the more confident beginner. it's quite tempting. it might even be a good use for my strawberry fields layer cake. i was daydreaming about actually mixing the block styles in the quilt so i wouldn't have to do all of those hst's with mini sashing. but it probably won't happen.

and i'm itching to do something of my own design again. i found out this round i don't really like working with a kit. as much as i liked the way the kit looked, it makes me feel like an assembler and less like the quilt is my own creation when it was all picked out for me. some people like color-by-numbers. not me. i like at least selecting my own fabrics even if i'm using a pattern. and i really enjoy the surprise of watching it come together since you're never really sure exactly what it's going to look like beforehand. all that fun was gone with the kit. it makes me even happier i purchased the pow wow quilt instead of getting the kit.

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