Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quick & dirty

I was getting my act together for a trip to my parents at the very end of this month &, while sorting through bring-this/don't-bring-that/ship-that/put-that-away, I had put a quilt on the Ship That pile.  I am planning to see my grandmother (if she is still seeing anybody, it is that shaky) & thought it would make a good present, when A told me it was his favorite of all the quilts I had ever made.  Ever.  So I cannot very well give it to my grandmother now & I had less than a month to make something else entirely.

Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of ideas & even more fabric.  Technically I even had lots of time, although this business of working out 2-4 hours a day has really been cutting into my life (on the upside, I am sleeping better & my thyroid seems to be functioning again so stopping that is not really an option).  I needed something fast, which usually means large, but I am not the worlds biggest fan of oversized blocks.  What I am a big fan of is asymmetrical blocks (& square jewelry & french fries, not necessarily in that order).  & I have enough experience to know that two little-bit wider-than-usual outer borders can normalize a slightly-too-small quilt when paired with two what-you-would-expect outer borders.  & I began to wonder if that could be scaled down & multiplied.

So I began with one pile of fat quarters, kind of.  Some of them were actual fat quarters, others were scraps roughly fat quarter sized.  Or fat quarter volumed, anyhow.  All of them had a flower-y, garden-y, country-y aspect.  Several had a lot of white as either part of the pattern or in the background (this becomes important later).  I cut them into 6.5" squares, mostly because that is the width of my favorite ruler & who needs to go hunting for that little line, right? 

Next I cut strips from white muslin.  I do a lot of printing photos on fabric & thus I buy white muslin by the bolt.  Having plenty on hand makes it ideal for the I-have-no-idea-how-much-I'm-gonna-need projects.  I planned for each of the above mentioned 6.5" blocks to have four irregular borders: one 2" & one 3.5", the other two 2.5" & 3" keeping the same square dimension for all the blocks, although each block itself would be off center.

But as I started work I realized there was just enough white in some of the original 6.5" squares that the white border was kind of fuzzy, making everything not so much irregular as blurry.  So I went back to the pile & found a good bit of pale green polka-dot (I think it might have been left over from a pieced back way-back-when) & cut 1.5" strips;  I didn't have time to figure out how much there is versus how much I need & I did not want to run out.  I bordered  the 6.5" squares in these & then added the irregular white borders.

Which turned out to be a good thing because, that same narrow green strip went on the make  a 2" sashing between the blocks themselves (with scraps of the original fat quarters for cornerstones).  Yes, I needed a way to break up all that white-on-white, which you would think would have been obvious the first time I needed something to break up the white but well, that's part of quick&dirty processes after all.

Finally I basted & quilted in my new-favorite go-to quilt pattern, a "corner to corner outside of the lines".

& this is what I got:

I know this will never win an ribbon.  & the large boring squares of just plain gingham for several of the blocks would not cut it ordinarily but... I was in a hurry.  Besides, my grandmother's sight just is not that great; any piecing I did would be lost on her, but the fabrics I choose are very soft & smooth & I thought the fewer seams the better.  So, no awards, but it will keep one little old lady warm as long as she needs it, in bright clean spring garden colors.

If I had it to do again, which of course I do, I would make one of the pairs of borders more extreme.  While still totaling 5.5" unfinished (you caught that right?), I think I would make one pair 4" & 1.5" to really make it jiggle.

1 comment:

  1. What a thoughtful gift, I would definitely not call it boring...soothing maybe.