Today I decided to take on an ambitious little project and test out my new Accuquilt GO! Winding Ways die. Looked like fun, looked like I could whip out a table quilt in an afternoon.....looks can be deceiving.
As I've stressed in the past, the most important thing to remember is to iron your fabric. I like to spritz on a little Mary Ellen's Best Press for good measure.
You don't want to layer too much fabric on your die, or you won't be able to run it smoothly through the GO!. I generally like to cut no more than 4 layers at a time, so I press into 4 layers and cut to fit the die I'm using.
Once you've got your nice little pile of die cuts, you're left with a bunch of scrap...
And now is a good time to figure out the optimum scrap size you can cut from these and make short work of clean up.
I was able to whack off a bunch of two-inch strips from the skeletons left over from the Winding Ways shapes. I think I'm going to clean out a rolling drawer set in my closet and label one of the drawers "2-inch Strips" and toss these in. Some day when I have no other projects to tackle I can go through the rest of my scraps and try to apply some uniform scrap cutting code to them and sort them out. (And then ten years from now, I can toss them out :) )
If you don't have a design wall, you should think about getting one. I'm partial to Cheryl Ann's. It was a Christmas gift from my daughter and I use it a lot. It doesn't take a lot of room, I can put it together in about 5 minutes, easily move it from one room to the next and it stores away in this nifty little bag when I'm not using it. I was laying blocks out on my bed, but that didn't offer the luxury of mulling over my layout for long, not to mention I had to run between rooms to retrieve blocks for piecing.
My wall is 72" x 72" and it takes up less than a foot of floor space if assemble it as an easel. Sometimes I just forget about it being 'free standing' and lean it against the closet or the windows. It's occurred to me that I could also tap a couple long nails into the wall and hang it (it's open at the connecting corners, so you wouldn't damage the felt). All in all, it's pretty versatile.
Laying out your pieces on a design wall gives you a good deal of perspective...in this case, it tells me that my choice of fabrics is rather busy and that I'm going to have to do some heavy quilting in order to make the shapes pop off the backgrounds.
Laying this out also clues me into the fact that I've got 'direction' to think about. If I had just grabbed these pieces an started stitching them together, I wouldn't have seen that those wedges had a clear vertical/horizontal pattern to consider.
Problem averted....seam ripper blade saved.
I was able to play with various fabric combinations to come up with one that offered the best contrast for the busy fabrics I chose for this project.
What I didn't count on with this project was the amount of time it as going to take to piece and sew 12 curved seams for each block. (Whew!---definitely not a 'Quilt in aDay' project). But you have got to love Accuquilt dies because they've added a nifty little notch on curved pieces, and they've squared off the tips so aligning, while tedious, is painless.
Just be sure to use plenty of pins and use a seam guide or a good 1/4" foot... and....I can't stress this enough....iron every seam before you move on to the next, and you'll wind up with blocks that even the most discerning quilt police can't find fault with.
This is what the back of the block should look like, seams pressed in the correct directions, no bunching, nice and flat for when you get around to quilting. No lumps in this one. (Obviously, I'm going to need to square these up before I put the blocks together, but I won't do that until all the blocks are constructed.)
So, with a fair amount of distraction--my daughter and her fiance---oh wait, did I neglect to tell you she got engaged on St. Patrick's Day?---anyway, they came by to pick up the grandpup and hang out for a bit, so I was in and out of the studio today, and only managed to sew 4 of the 16 blocks.
At the moment, this isn't one of my favorite projects, but we'll see how it comes together and if I'm able to quilt my way out of the obvious lack of contrast in the fabric. When I started quilting I told myself that every quilt I make will be a learning experience. If it weren't, it might not be as much fun :)
Have a great week. I hope to be back with a progress report on this. And I'm sure I'll have some amusing wedding planning stories to share over the next few months. How could I not? We've got an opinionated, control freak mother and a daughter is who is equally opinionated and the spitting image of me, when I was her age. While I most certainly don't think my lovely daughter will prove to be 'Bridezilla', if it were to happen, I'd know from whence it came.:)
Right now my plan is to be Dream Mother of the Bride...Mother of the Bride of the Year. Ah....the road is always paved with good intentions...