Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fabric Frustrations

Ever have one of those days? I did last Tuesday. Everything I tried to start failed in utter misery. I'd decided to start the quilt top I'd designed for my mom. The fabric had been sitting idle since last summer thanks to my shoulder injury, so I figured I'd go ahead and start it. The problem arose whilst I was cutting. There wasn't enough fabric.

Not only did I not have enough fabric, but the fabric I was using was produced by a company that had been purchased by another company this year and there was no telling if any shop would be able to get more.

I beat my head against a wall for a bit and then combed the internet. Happily my search was fruitful and I could support a small quilt shop in the process. But I had to wait. I'm still waiting for delivery as of today. The tracking number shows it arrived in town yesterday, so hopefully tomorrow it will be in the mailbox.

Then I thought I'd play with a new template that allows you to create strip of prairie points. I bought it to use on a quilt for my great-niece who will be born this summer. I remembered I'd kitted up a project several years back that featured prairie points (now abbreviated PP for simplicity), so I excavated it in anticipation of play with my new toy. For grins, I also pulled out a single block kit that was a door prize at a shop hop.

Alas, I'd already cut all the pieces out for the kit that featured PPs!

At this point I said some words, which roughly translate as 'hang it all,' and started in on the single block kit to clear my head. Besides, the day was getting away from me and I wanted to get something accomplished.

That's the block. Very bright and happy. I thought about what I could do with a single block and decided I could frame it in black and then maybe find one of those fabrics to make a second border. Then urn the whole thing into a tote bag. The difficulty? Remember I mentioned the company that was bought by another company earlier? Yeah. Same company. *sigh* So it was put into a different section of my stash and I moved on.

The 'prairie point kit' has been in my stash since 2010. The design is called 'Stars, Stripes, and Prairie Points,' and was designed by a local woman who taught the class at our local quilt shop called... wait for it... Prairie Points. Primarily because it got put away while Confetti was so ill. After she died, I just never dug it back out. The design wasn't something I'd gravitate towards, but I remember wanting to learn how to make PPs. I've since learned how, but that kit had mostly been forgotten.

As I dug through the pieces I remembered a couple more things. I hadn't been able to afford really good quality fabrics when I kitted it up. I'd also put together enough fabric to make one for a friend. As I worked, the design grew on me. Mainly because I could appreciate the cleverness in using the PPs to draw the eye to the center of the quilt.  By that evening, I'd pieced both tops.

As you can see, the designer wanted to utilize the PPs to accent the flag blocks and not the edge of the quilt, like what is usually seen with PP's.

I quilted both in the same fashion: invisible thread in and around the flag blocks and then meandered in the borders with variegated thread, with the addition on hand-drawn stars to create more interest. The basting stitches across the top are holding the hanging sleeve in place. (This photo is also truer to color than the others.)

The tricky part was needing to pin the PPs out of the way in order to quilt the borders. The above picture was taken late last night after I'd finished that, the second, quilt top. The first was finished Friday and has the binding halfway on. It just needs hand sewing to the back.

You might think this is where the fabric frustration ended, but you are mistaken. Originally, I knew I only had one fat quarter of that yellow fabric remaining.  I also knew darn well I'd made bolts for the Patchwork Peach shop with the blue and red fabrics. I really wanted to stretch that yellow fat quarter, so why not use the last bits of the red and blue to make a fun scrappy binding? Brilliant! However that would require being able to locate the last of the red.

I'd found the blue fabric, roughly half a fat quarter, after some digging. But the red eluded me. I finally decided to not stress over it and just use the yellow for one and the backing fabric for the other. The backing fabric is a Debbie Mum and has tiny little flags all over it.

After I'd already cut, sewn, and attached the yellow binding, I made one more attempt at locating the errant red remnant. And found the bloody thing. Another half of a fat quarter, neatly folded, and wedged in between some other red fabrics in the drawer. Fortunately I was already resigned to this project being a problem child. I left the solid yellow border intact and went to work with the remaining pieces of yellow that was already cut on the bias. I also had a strip of yellow left from cutting the squares for the PPs... whenever that was. I omitted the white because it a) was the poorest quality of the fabrics and b) really needed to just be in the quilt center to allow the eyes to rest, went to work.

This is the binding I originally wanted for both pieces. I 'frankensteined' it together from a strip set I made from the one yellow strip I had left, the yellow bias-cut remnants from the other binding, and two different width strips of each of the other fabrics. I'm really quite proud of this binding.

The nice thing about all the piecing and quilting I've been doing for the last few weeks is it's actually therapy for my shoulder. I know for certain that I can piece a twin-sized quilt top by myself now. I also know I can quilt a 20" square quilt "sandwich" alone. Today I'm going to see if I can quilt a baby quilt by myself.... after I attach the scrappy binding to the second flag quilt. ;-)

I'll see you all next week! Until thing, happy (insert your preferred craft/art here)-ing!

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