Friday, September 5, 2014

Why Everyone Needs a Design Wall (and a good seam ripper)

On my trip to Portland I finished the last of the Jingle applique blocks. Now the goal is to actually put this quilt together and finish it for Christmas 2014 (yes, I said this year, I'm trying to be a more positive person for the moment....let's see how that works out).

The cutting instructions for the setting triangles was pretty precise, but the layout instructions were nonexistent. I wrestle the design wall up in the studio and start placing pieces. The interesting thing is that I have two sizes of setting triangles. Obviously the little ones go on the 4 corners, but what about the rest?

I consult my Mimi Dietrich Baltimore Basics book and it's no help. Her on point blocks are all surrounded by sashing in the center of the quilt surrounded by a border...easily stitched together in rows. Hmmm....where are rows on this vertical border?

Okay, I start sticking triangles on the design wall until I've managed to fit them all around the blocks. Wait, why am I sewing some of these little half triangles together? Why didn't the instructions just have me cut one more large triangle? Whatever. I start with a small triangle, sew it to a block and then continue down that vertical border, sewing a block to each side of a large triangle until I've got this lovely sawtooth strip. I've got to ease the remaining triangles in between the blocks....Y seams?  Oh dear!
I retreat and leave it on the wall for a few days where after looking at it through half closed eyes each time I was sitting in the studio, I figured out that while it was only a border, that those blocks and triangles actually created diagonal ROWS when sewn together triangle/block/triangle, and once you had 3 rows, you could easily line up the blocks and sew their straight edges together.

Great, until I got to the bottom horizontal row.  2 empty spaces, 3 blocks, and my straight line theory bit the dust. Sound the retreat.

Another couple days of staring at the wall, pondering exactly what would be a consistent placing of those smaller setting triangles. The only way I was going to figure this out was to rip a couple of them out and experiment. Obviously it wasn't the first time we'd taken a seam ripper to this particular border, but fingers crossed it would be the last.

Wah la! I figured it out, and in so doing, also figured out that when properly laid out and sewn, the two side borders would exactly fit the center medallion. Sew them on, and then attach the top and bottom border. Then sew the top and bottom rows and attach them....finished!
Thank you, flannel wall.

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