Monday, June 15, 2009

Nine from twenty five

I am only just getting to the quilt blocks I garnered in the Feb'09 quilt block swap. The rules were simple (I thought), send 5 of the same 6" finished/6.5" unfinished 9-patch but-you-choose-which-specific-block in blue&yellow with an optional white, as well as a stamped self-addressed envelope to me to arrive by a particular Saturday. I would swap (give you 1 each from five other sets of 5) on Sunday & mail them back on Monday.

By & large these directions were followed with a few snafus. For example I did not know that a larger envelope could be mailed cheaper than a smaller envelope if the smaller envelope is thicker (perhaps has five folded quilt blocks that could lay flat in a larger envelope) & neither did a few others who included smaller envelopes for the return. Still most mistakes were innocent enough.

Others were probably also innocent, but stood out none-the-less. I think my favorite was the person who sent three blocks (not five), two of one pattern, one of another & then when I got in touch with her about the missing two blocks was very cranky & "did not want to be bothered anymore". She had no problem bothering me though when she only got three swap blocks back; she was expecting five. & she did not like those three & wanted her own back instead. Oy.

But I digress. Mostly it was fun & we did it again in April & have another pending in June BUT I still had done nothing with the blocks I got in Feb. So about a week ago I buckled down & began.

The first issue took me a bit by surprise. My fault I suppose because I was expecting blue & yellow blocks to be, well, blue & yellow. I do not care about the odd green or whatever that is part of the fabric so long as the overall effect was blue &/or yellow. Instead I have one block I would have to say was brown with a yellow leaning & another that was orange. I put those aside & adjusted my thinking to work with fewer blocks. I was originally planning for 25 blocks in a 5x5 grid: two sets of 5 for my 2 swapped sets of 5 + a few I got as "thank yous" for organizing the swap + my own 2 swap blocks + a few more I had thought I would make when I got around to it. Instead I went down to 9 (3x3) & in the end, I did not use ANY of my own blocks. As for the not-quite-yellow blocks: they are both lovely & will find their way into other projects I am sure. I mostly feel bad for those people when they got back a whole envelope full of sunshine-yellow.

The second issue was not entirely unexpected: because it was a swap there were going to be some size inconsistencies. I was very impressed with how accurate most of the blocks were. The ones that were a shave smaller than the 6.5" unfinished dimension were, not surprisingly, those with more individual pieces, as with each seam comes another chance to go a bit deeper than 1/4 inch. Still, most were spot on 6.5" (by my ruler) & the ones that were smaller were all still at least 6" unfinished. Actually, only one was smaller than 6.25". & because this particular problem was expected I had already planned a solution: I bordered all of the blocks in varying widths of plain old white to bring them to a uniform size (roughly 7.25"). My hope was it would look like grout, but only you can tell me if it worked.

The third issue was getting some size back: I had lost more than 1/2 the expected dimension in taking away 16 blocks but I was not interested in a wall quilt or table topper or anything so small. & so I put each block (with the white grout) on point in a yellow&white tile looking print. Very busy. But at least it still had a tile-feel, by my eye anyhow.

Then I realized that because the background yellow&white tile-type fabric was so busy, these blocks would never work bumped up against each other. That is when I decided to border them in blue & white. But it was late & besides I really did not want to buy any fabric (aside from the yellow&white tile-like fabric for setting on point, which I bought before this project really gelled because it was clearance & I just liked it). To the scrap bag I went...

A few years ago I made my step-father a broken dishes quilt in blue & white so I had plenty of blue & white scraps. What I did not have was any one fabric in sufficient quantity. Soooooo:

I know it is way too busy for most people, but it kept my hands busy for a little while (a good thing) & my brain busy for an even longer while (a very good thing) & it used up more scraps than you could imagine (which every quilter knows is the best thing of all). I had no plans for the quilt itself, but when I showed it to A he liked it. Turns out he likes yellow. I should have been clued in when he asked that our garage be painted yellow. Again. & all the barns are painted yellow. But I missed it. What can I say, I am a blonde!

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