Monday, 10 November 2014

Stitching catch-up: A Question of Pieces

Sometimes, I embark on a project and set its parameters without really thinking through the scale of the task ahead. Like when I suggested to a friend on her hen do that I'd be happy to make her a quilt for her wedding gift, as long as she didn't mind it being late. Patterns were pored over, and one finally approved (Italian Tiles from Popular Patchwork July 2005 - subscriber access is available). Then I procrastinated. And procrastinated. This was going to involve a lot of cutting, and everyone knows that's easier to do with a bit of time ahead of you. And there wasn't really any sense of urgency... Until this Spring, when I looked at the calendar, saw how many bank holidays fell very close together, realised that we were visiting her and her husband in their newly-purchased and decorated home, and thought I should just get it done already.

Easter weekend thus began with cutting, and kneeling, and cutting some more, until I had a lot of squares. Which were sewn together, and cut into two, and pressed, and at the end of a full day's work I had the same number of pieces as I'd had at the beginning, but they were all two-colour and two tonal (mid light and mid dark).

The next day was a cutting day: lots and lots and lots of light and dark squares, which were then cut along the diagonal: so, triangles. Triangles to be individually sewn to the edges of the two-toned squares prepared, so that they can be pressed again, and the extraneous triangle carefully excised by roller cutter (this was waste fabric in this project... if I have reason to use this pattern again, I will plan a secondary project to use them too somehow).

One final step before it would be time to focus on the layout: sewing the half-square triangles into squares. These squares are 5 1/2" wide, and there are 196 of them.
By this point, I'd run through my first weekend, and through weeknight evenings into the second. We had a computing friend of Mr P's to stay, so sewing and programming and takeaway made for a fun time, and, thankfully, a third pair of eyes. I had been planning to sew my squares into blocks of 4 before laying out the whole quilt top, but it was pointed out that this might limit where I was willing to place them beyond what was actually physically possible. So we discussed the rules for colour repeat / nearness that I was happy to abide by, cleared the comfy chairs and general stuff from the living room, and covered the floor with fabric. Better eyes than mine pointed out colour meetings, and where I'd offset the whole design by one square... 
And then I began the to-ing and fro-ing, marking the squares in a block with pins and numbered pieces of paper, and carrying them carefully back to the sewing room to be completed. And pressed. And sewn into long strips. And eventually, into a full top.

Which I must now find the motivation to make into a quilt sandwich, and wrestle gently with through the quilting process. When the pieces will finally be the promised gift, is a matter of time. Time, and patience, and perseverance!

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