Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 2016 UFO - Finished!

Two years ago we had our floors sanded, and when I put the boxes back on the shelves in the sewing room, I was unhappy. Too many odds and ends were simply being collected, and the boxes weren't beautiful to look at. So I made large and small quilt tops out of all the three inch strips and everything in the box labeled "large squares and triangles." This is one of the latter. I had saved all the triangles from the mitered corners of the borders of many quilts, and I had some other large triangles left over from bias bindings.

The layout of this quilt was insanely complicated. It's not hard to find ways to fit five squares into a rectangle when the two smaller ones are the same size. It's just a matter of arithmetic. There is always a gap in the middle that is filled with another rectangle or a square. There are four such rectangles in this layout. The difficulty is in fitting 20 pinwheels into four rectangles so that the four rectangles fill a larger rectangle with no space along the sides. I had to use a spreadsheet and run through all the possibilities by hand to figure out which combination of smaller rectangles would fit into a large rectangle. There were only two or three ways to do this, and this is the way that looked the best.

I broke a few rules with this quilt. First of all, because triangles trimmed from borders come in eights, I have pairs of same pinwheels. This is a compositional faux pas! You are supposed to have odd numbers of same things. So sorry. Next, I don't normally use a fabric for the binding that is as striking as this. My old teacher Kathleen Weinheimer taught us that we don't want the viewer staring at the binding. But I liked this, it matched the colors, and it was from a piece of fabric that I used to make the binding for my dad's quilt. Also it was easy to cut and prepare. So, win win win. And it looks great. I already know what I'm doing in February, and there's no chance of breaking rules. So you can all rest easy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Almost to full rows

Normally I wait until I've finished something before putting it in a post. But this project is going to take a long time to piece, and I work on it every day. Well almost every day. My goal is to sew two stacks together every day. In this picture, I am down to four stacks. So in two days I will have two stacks, and in three days I will have exactly 57 rows. Then I'll start sewing the rows together. But I did miss a day. I had to work late a week ago to finish the books for the thrift shop. I am the new bookkeeper, and the books are due on Wednesday morning. So I thought, what could it hurt, if I don't sew two stacks together, just once? Well the result was, I didn't want to continue. The next day, when it was time to sew the usual two stacks, I had so much resistance, it was scary. But I did what I needed to do and have struggled to sew my quota every day since. I even made up the day that I missed by sewing extra over the weekend. So that is the real reason for working on something daily, other than that it gets done. Momentum occurs. It does seem a little rigid, I suppose, to insist that I sew together two stacks every day, but I've come a long way, and it's going to be a stunning piece of work. I was going to lay it out when I got to this point. I tried laying out the stack at the top. It was a lot of work, and I don't think it'll be any harder to lay out when I get to two stacks in two days. So I'll wait until then. I've already seen a square that I might want to turn before I start sewing the rows together.