Other possible titles include:
– How to complicate a simple pinwheel design
– Another quilt = another journey
– Why we buy TONS of fabric
I was at our fellowship Pot luck a couple of weeks ago, and the message was that we are all remnants in Christ.
On the way home, it hit me that I should make Sue a quilt out of remnants. Sue took her Mother in about 8 years ago, and once being very active in the church, began a process of passing the baton to others, as her Mothers needs increased. She is a very giving woman, so I wanted to make something for her.
First, I explored patterns, tried designing my own, then googled some, and looked at books. Ideas swirled in my head, as I went from deciding on one design, then changed my mind several times. Then I saw it. At first it was one of those “I’d like to make that one day” patterns, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. It was called “Staying Focused”
but could I do it all from remnants?
Sue’s favorite colors are blues and purples. Her living room furniture is blue, but I had seen her wear a lovely purple velour jogging suit many times. I know she has a prayer chair, and this would keep her wrapped in love while she converses with Our Father.
I poked around at my stash, mostly built on remnants from garage sales, back when I only dreamed about quilting, and found these delightful squares of fabric, in blue paisley with a bit of pink. They were already cut into 6.5 inch pieces.
Would it be enough?
I drew the block out in EQ7 and placed it in a quilt design. I scanned the focus fabric in, and colored the design. I would need 30 blocks with 4 HST’s of focus fabric in each to make a decent size lap/nap quilt. I counted the pieces, and as I got past 20, I was holding my breath. I exhaled when I got to 30! I had exactly enough! I would have to do the 4 HST at a time method, but it would work.
It was like these pieces were just waiting to tell me what they wanted to be.
Well, 6 1/2″ Blue paisley, you get your wish!
Then I piled up possible complementary colors, and when I thought I had it, I made one block and hung it up on my block board to keep myself focused.
I confess to secretly making fun of people who have to rip out stitches when making blocks, because I don’t do it. I toss it and just make a new one.
Oh sure if I miss-sew a completed block to another, I will take it apart, but making the block? Nope.
Well, Our Father has a way of humbling us, and because I had only exactly enough of the focus fabric, I had to rip out many stitches for this first block. For starters, the 6.5 inch pieces resulted in a 4 1/4 inch trimmed half square triangle, not the predicted 4 1/2, and I had to be very careful just to get that.
Now that I have my first block, and correct measurements, I can cut up all the other pieces.
While cutting, I ran out of the fabric I had chosen for the little crosses, which are actualy plus signs, because I will be turning every other block, to make a secondary design. I love secondary designs! I didn’t want to change the look, so I had to have the same exact shade of blue here.
I think I found it.
Since there will be two blocks alternating the second color HST’s, I will use the other fabric for the crosses in the second block. Yes, I know one HST is turned wrong, but this is only an audition.
At some point, I decided I don’t like trimming HST’s.
At yet another point, I decided I don’t like pressing.
and another point had me appriciating all those who do scrappy, because all those tiny pieces could have been bought in yardage, cut to size, sewn in one strip set and sliced and diced into nicely sewn units ready to form a block.
My scrap pile has pieces bigger than the ones I am sewing!
At another point, I likend quilting to giving birth. There are elements we don’t like about it, yet we do it anyway, and are happy we did. It also seems to take way longer than we anticipated.
Yet we will do it again, and we will always start with the same enthusiastic anticipation.
A whole weekend of not much progress, but every day after work I pecked away at those pieces.
To satisfy my curiosity, I counted them. 15 pieces per block without the sashing is 450 pieces. No wonder it seemed like I was going nowhere.
They finally begain to take shape, as I placed piece after piece under Mustang’s needle.
I pressed and stacked them.
Every other block was turned to make a secondary pattern.
If you’ve ever fussed over matching seams, how about matching seams that are an inch apart? I think I got most of them.
The blocks are finished and ready for sashing.
Then another snag: what would I use for sashing?
The search is on! I poked into every nook and cranny I had stuffed fabric into, and I wanted to break down and just buy some, but I remembered I had a tote of patriotic fabrics, all reds, whites and blues, and there, I finally found it. It was perfect!
Many calcuations were made to make this one piece do all the sashing. It seems the previous owner was one of those who like to tear her fabric in half at the fold line “to make it easier to handle” Rather than be upset about it, I was greatful that she at least donated her leftovers for me to find.
In case you think it’s easier to sash without cornerstones, you are mistaken.
You know what cornerstones are, don’t you?
Turns out they are not just another design element to fiddle with, pin and sew and hope you got them right.
1. an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based.
2. a stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining two walls.
Merriam Webster adds:
a basic element : foundation
Basically Cornerstones are our rock. They keep us centered, and true.
Again, I didn’t want to change the focus of this quilt, and it did occur to me to make cornerstones out of the same fabric, but I didn’t. I probably should have, but here we are.
No cornerstones means I have to line the rows up very carefully, and use lots of pins.
For future reference, no time is saved by not using cornerstones.
One more border in the light blue brings this out to 55″x65″
I did run out and buy a second “Cutting Mat” It’s a giant thick plastic mat – not self healing, and it will dull rotory blades. While Joanns calls it a “Cutting Mat” the computer did not want to sell it at the “half price for all cutting mats and tools” sale. However, they have come a long way in customer service in the last year, so the manager agreed to give me the half off. After I assured her I knew what I was doing: Two of these on the floor will make a 72×60 surface to trim finished baby and lap sized quilts easily. For bigger ones, I slide the mat under where I am trimming. I do not recommend these for cutting fabric and piecing, but for trimming down a finished quilt for binding, which will dull your “used at this point” blade anyway, gets a big YES from me. I have several rotory cutters, and reserve one just for this.
Where do you store a makeshift 72×60 mat? Under your rug of course!
Selecting the backing was more tricky. Back to my stash in my corner of Hubby’s workshop. I had at some point, drew out a yard marker on one of the shelves. I would need 4 yards to do an easy 2 piece back, or at minimum 3+ to piece a “fussy” [more math] 3 piece back.
I came back with 6 possibilities. I chose the dusty blue with large navy flowers and white accents on the left.
I stitched in the ditch along the sashing, and then made an x through each block.
Then I had Emmy [Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183 that I bought just for specialty stitches] do her thing [serpentine] along the sashing/border seam.
Sometimes an accent binding works, but I went with “same as border” binding
I honestly began tearing up as I had Emmy blanket stitch the lable on, because it means this journey is finished.
This is, to date, the hardest quilt I have done. All with remnants and love.
The label has our names, so I won’t picture it here, but it says:
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” Isaiah 26:3
Edited to add that I gave it to her last night, and with tearful eyes, she said it was the most thoughtful gift she had ever recieved. She took it to her living room filled with royal blues, and I swear it lit up the room. She said it matched perfectly. Then she put it in her prayer chair, and said she would use it there. All this without me saying a word about how I had pictured this quilt there while I was making it.
It was then I remembered her telling me at our last fellowship, that she had to put her fur baby to sleep, and she had probably rested at her feet in this chair. While this quilt won’t replace her companion, it will add new comfort to the room.
This. Is. Why. We. Quilt!
#RemnantQuilt #WhyWeQuilt #CrossQuilt