Sunday, March 18, 2012

Isn't this a cool quilt?

In a few months this Flying Geese project will be a free download on the Timeless Treasures website. You will be able to purchase the 30 luscious fabrics that I used for the geese, the background fabric and download the instructions and print them out absolutely free. What a deal! What you won't get are the "real" instructions. The download will be the condensed version, highly edited, for the sake of your sanity. The edited instructions will allow you to make this quilt quickly and easily and you will be amazed at how perfectly things fit together. I know, I designed it, but that isn't how it was made.

I'm going to share this designers dirty little secret.

The original idea for this quilt was in just two colors, red and white. I toyed around with the layout on my computer and filed it away in my "future" file. When Emily from Timeless called and offered me the opportunity to work with this eye popping group of gorgeous batiks. How could I say no? Flipping through the "future" file I immediately saw a colorwash of geese on a dark background - perfect. How big did they need the quilt to be? "Any size" was the reply. Timeless is in the business of selling beautiful fabrics. When you make a quilt for advertising, they want the fabrics to show. I decided to cut the geese 4 by 8 inches and make 4 of each color. That would show off the fabrics nicely. I could deal with the layout later.

It was time for the geese assembly process, which because of my schedule took place on numerous occasions, in numerous places on a variety of different sewing machines. No problem, a quarter inch is a quarter inch.... right? I will spare you the details, but suffice to say that among other things on one occasion using a different brand of machine, I neglected to adjust the needle position after a power glitch. At the final pressing of all 120 geese I had an assortment of sizes! I also had a big problem.

Those 4 by 8 inch geese were way too big anyway....... I think 3 by 6 look much better. Spend an entire day trimming geese........

Final assembly took place in my "new" sewing room. Our son had been living at home while house hunting and he finally moved into his own place. His old room was immediately filled with a sewing table, my machine, ....... and ...... what happened to our ironing board? No time for design wall or shopping for a new ironing board. That 18 inch pressing mat would have to do. I needed to get this quilt top assembled and off to the quilter. It was a bit like camping. Crawling around on the floor made me truly appreciate my design wall!

I delivered the quilt top to Mary, a true quilting angel, with instructions to "quilt the blue areas and not the geese". Those were my instructions and that is exactly what she did - beautifully. There are feathers quilted into every triangle of background fabric. Exactly what I had asked for.

I decided quite some time ago that the epitaph on my tombstone should read "It was a good idea at the time". I know better than to leave areas of a quilt unquilted. Quilting shrinks a quilt. The stitching puckers the fabric and makes them smaller than the areas without quilting. You have to balance your quilting or your quilt will not be flat. I know that..... Why did I forget?

The geese were a little "puffy" after quilting, but I was pretty confident that a good steam iron and I could take care of that. I'm nothing if not overconfident. I trimmed the edges to get ready for the binding. I didn't have time to add the binding after trimming, so I folded the quilt........ AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH.

The top edge of the quilt was a full inch and a half LARGER than the bottom! It was square when I pieced it! I know it was.... wasn't it......? Spend another hour with the calculator, the computer, a set of rulers, checking math. Why aren't they the same size? Measure again. Admit that the top is almost TWO inches larger than the bottom. What could have happened?

Yes, people will notice. No you can't just whack off the "extra".....

Realize it's the quilting. More unquilted geese at the top, more quilted background at the bottom. Is it possible that a little bit of quilting could make THAT much difference?

Yes it is.

I know for a fact that WAS the problem because I spent an entire afternoon quilting each of those geese with mono filament thread. Next to Mary's beautiful feathers you will see my @#$% scribbling in clear thread on each color triangle so that the fabric shows instead of the thread. Thanks to the BERNINA Stitch Regulator, my stitches are even - not in a pretty design - but they are even.

And the quilt is back to square.... or technically a rectangle.

Trust me the free instructions will be much easier than the process I used! This quilt is now bound and will be boxed up and sent to New York to be photographed. Emily is going to ask me if I have a name for it. I'm thinking "Gone South" is appropriate.


bmayer said...

This is why we are BFF's. Even with all your experience, you can still screw things up, like the rest of us....and publicly admit it! I hate it when I do things that "I should have known better" than to do, and am surprised when things dont work out. It looks gorgeous, another thing to pile on my "someday" I must make pile.

banjo795 said...

I keep eyeing up my daughter's room as a sewing room, but she is still occupying it. So until she finds a job and a place of her own, the dining room has become my sewing room. DH isn't happy. But if I couldn't sew, it would make ME unhappy. And if I'm unhappy, he'd end up being very unhappy. So I just cut out the middle man in the process! ;>

Sewfun said...

Love it! Can't wait for the fabrics and the directions to come out! Just what I need - another project but it is so cool looking!
Glad to hear other people have glitches!