Sunday, February 17, 2013

shabby seams class

ETC has this great class series taught by jenny packard that's called shabby seams. it's a 6 hour class taught on one saturday, covering a simple-to-do quilt with a vintage vibe and usually some raw, shabby seams, of course. i took it for the first time in december as a pre-holiday break for myself. it went so well and i liked the concept so much (despite coming down with the flu that day and not finishing) that i signed up for the class this month, too.
like last time, i decided i wanted the quilt to be larger than the pattern made, so i sat down to do some math and figure out where to put in the extra length and width. i keep a notebook where i sketch out and doodle about all the quilts i work on (above, left). it's the perfect place to do my calculations. i tried out two different ideas: adding in sashing between the large blocks/panels or adding another chevron to the length and width. adding the chevrons complicated it too much, so i went with sashings. since i wanted to add in 9" to the width but didn't want that thick a sashing, i opted to use 3 - 3" strips instead. then i also added in 3" sashings between the horizontal rows for an additional 12" of length. my 48x60 quilt would now be 57x72. much better.
 for this quilt, i did something totally original: i shopped from my stash for fabric! i pulled two different groups of fabrics to choose from and went with a mix of sandi henderson loveliness (above). it's a draw between her and heather bailey for my favorite designs, definitely. they were the first designer fabrics i bought when i started my sewing journey and i am still totally in love with them both.

last time i took the class, i found it key to get the pattern before class and do as much cutting as possible at home. unfortunately, this time i was unable to do that, so i spent a lot of class time cutting. ugh. but i am getting better at it, so i shouldn't complain too much. i know if i'd done the cutting first, i would have completed the top that day. it really was simple.
my squares all laid out, ready to go


one thing that really appealed to me about the quilt jenny chose this time was that it used half-square triangles, a completely new and daunting skill for me, one that'd i'd been interested in learning. i have read countless times how touchy/stretchy they can be due to the bias cut. jenny showed us a technique that made them so much easier to work with than i expected.
the chevrons were made from the triangles being turned and paired up. since i needed two of each pairing, jenny showed us to simply put the two squares, right sides together, and draw a line diagonally from corner to corner.
it's really hard to see, but i then sewed 1/4" from each side of the line and cut down the line when i was through. press open and voila! two sets of blocks with perfect half-sq triangles.
when putting the rows together and creating the chevrons, i didn't pin at the intersections like i should have because even pinning doesn't seem to make it work for me. totally hit or miss. but then i got the ugly points above (see the not-matching point of paisley fabric on the left?) and decided to give pinning another try. Linda, an expert quilter, gave me a few pointers on getting the pinning right and i tried again.
what do you know, it worked!
much prettier.
i thought i didn't care so much about not matching my points. but seeing them matched made me so much happier.
cutting all my sashing strips took a long time, partially due to cutting the wrong width twice (argh!) and also wanting my butterflies to be directionally correct in the two different orrientations. so i wasn't able to finish the top before i had to leave. i had a hot valentine's date with my mr. and there just wasn't any time. i rushed at the end and started making mistakes (can you tell what i did?) and that's when i just stopped. but i'm loving what i have so far. and now the baby has a new colorful playmat on the dining room floor.

one thing i like about classes where we all work with the same pattern is seeing everyone else's fabric choices and how they play out with the design to create such different and distinctive quilts.  here's a look at other students' work:

Lydia was the first to get her chevrons laid out. her black one gave such a nice pop to her colors. so much good contrast going on here.

sue had these pretty, soft pastel vintage fabrics - very gentle

linda, the expert, who made 12 quilts while here visiting from canada for the winter months, liked my idea of adding sashing and asked to use my calculations to get more fabric. yikes! that was intimidating. it's one thing to mess up myself but if i had added wrong and threw her off, that was entirely different. fortunately, i was right and we both were okay. she decided to make sure all her fabrics were directionally matched in her chevrons and had quite a puzzle to figure out once she started piecing.

amy was the first one done with her large panel and even got her quilt sandwiched by the end of class. lucky girl.
thanks jenny for the class! and thanks sandi, for the wonderful prettiness to work with. it makes me so happy just looking at it.

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