Thursday, November 29, 2012

32 and 1/2 days and counting!!

It's Thursday, November 29, 2012 and the official tally stands at 186 and 7/8 yards!  25 1/8 yards to go.  The plan for the afternoon includes putting together two backings, so by the end of the day it should be over 190 yards. 

Early in the fall, I showed you some of the 6 pointed stars I was making for a sampler.  Since I booked a workshop at Quilt Quarters in Carmel, Indiana focusing on those stars, I decided to set them together so the shop could have a sample of the possibilities for the workshop.  I thought you might like to see it!

What do you think? The border print inspired the color scheme back in September.  It was one I found on my teaching trip to Colorado in August.  Of course, I didn't have enough to cut one piece borders on the lengthwise grain -- especially since I wanted to miter the corners.  And I didn't have the time to go hunting for more of it. 

The dilemma was how to piece it without making it look like I ran out of fabric.  No matter whether the borders were cut on the lengthwise or crosswise grain, they would need to be pieced.  Fortunately, I left the border fabric folded to the approximate width I was considering hanging on the work wall.  When I came back into the sewing room a couple hours later, I noticed that the print is strongly directional.  Now that may not bother some of you, but for me, its a condition that has to be controlled. 

My solution?  Piece the borders at the midpoint so that I could reverse the strips and the direction of the print switches thus fooling the observer to think I have everything under control.  So I cut the fabric to the length needed for half the border strip remembering to allow extra for the mitered corners.  Then I cut that piece into 8 equal strips (about 5" wide). 

I have discovered (the hard way, of course) that when a large scale print is cut into lengthwise strips, the strips often look like two different color ways.  So before going further, I spread the strips apart on the cutting table, and sure enough, it did indeed look like I had two different color ways -- four of the strips had more aqua and less pink than the other 4.  I paired the strips based on that.  Each set was sewn together so the print goes up on one end and down on the other.  Then when I put them around the quilt on the work wall, it was quickly obvious that the more aqua/less pink borders needed to be opposite each other rather than adjacent to keep the quilt looking balanced.  As you look at the photo, none of this is apparent, but if I had not managed the print the way I did, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb and made the quilt less successful. 

Mary's Rule -- look before you stitch!!  If you maintain balance, it is always easier to look at the quilt.

If you think you'd like to learn how to piece these stars (and more), consider signing up for the HEXAGON & THEIR ALLIES retreat in March, 2013.  All the info is posted on my website at

So it's time to go make those backings and chalk up a few more yards to the tally!!  Check back soon to see how this all ends!!

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