Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good intentions!?!

A few days ago, I noticed that I had two empty days in a row on my calendar -- there was nothing scheduled!?!  Aha, I thought -- two days of sewing time!!  And so I made a plan!  There were 3 quilt tops ready for borders plus organizing their backings.

But I was torn -- the weather was so perfect, it was a shame to be inside bent over the sewing machine.  No problem, just move the sewing machine out onto the front porch!!  And so I spent 45 minutes organizing that, then up to the sewing room to organize the projects. 

The border decisions had already been made for two of the projects, so it was a simple matter of calculating and cutting -- quickly done!  The third border was going to require more thought, so that piece went up on the work wall for comtemplation as I worked on the other two projects. 

The challenge of prepping backings these days is always how to do it with the fabric on-hand?  Because I insisted on having these bees scattered consistently around the border, I ended up with 4 not very useful strips of fabric.  Their length was fine but together they only contributed about 12" of the 55" I needed for the width and it seemed like a good idea to use them in the backing so they would not be lurking in the stash.  I thought using a turquoise fabric with them would look good but when I got to that stack of fabric, there was hardly a piece more than 1/2 yard.  So I pulled a dozen or more pieces and started thinking.

I decided that the leftover border fabric should not touch the edges of the backing because it might get trimmed off when it was time to bind the quilt.   So the turquoise needed to be on the outer edges, so I needed 5 bands of turquoise.  I calculated how much width I needed to generate to get a wide enough backing and divided that number by 5.  The bands in between the border strips needed to be 8" wide.  So I went to work cutting lengthwise pieces from each of my turquoise fabrics 8 1/2" wide and what ever length the piece was -- that varied from 9" to 27".  The only thing left to do was stitch the pieces together end to end to make five bands the length needed for the backing. 

Net results are that I used all of the border fabric and a bit over 2 yards of stash fabric.  Pieced backings with lots of seams can be a problem for hand quilters but for machine quilters, as long as you maintain the integrity of the grain of the fabrics as you put them together, it's not a problem.  The lengthwise grain of all the fabrics is consistent on this backing.  One down and two to go.

But of course, you already know how this story ends.  I did get one more set of borders sewn on but the second backing is still a pile of fabric on the ironing board and the top needing contemplation to design the borders is still on the work wall being studied.  House guests have arrived and it's gotten hot -- still I've burned through 16 yards in June and the running total stands at 97 yards . . . . and there are still a couple days in June?!?!  I can't let summer keep me from my mission to use 212 yards this year!!


  1. Seems like you are doing great at getting to your goal - just under 50% with just about 1/2 the year done! I love the backing - it's like another quilt on the back! You are an inspiration, as always!

    1. Were you really reading my blog at 5 a.m. in the morning? Thanks for the encouragement, Monica!