Sunday, September 12, 2010
Finally, a quilt for snuggling
I finished my quilt from the 2009 Birthday Block Swap community on Livejournal a couple of months ago, and I'm so happy with how it turned out. I don't know why I put off taking pictures for so long. I asked for Depresion Blocks in burgundy and cream or any other scrappy block in the same color scheme.
It's always fun getting blocks in these internet swaps. This one is especially nice, since people aim to send them in time for your birthday, so you get a series of little presents throughout the month. I didn't plan to do anything with them for awhile, so I just admired the colors and fabrics everyone used.
When I decided to put it together earlier this year, I discovered that while most of them were within 1/4" of the right size, there were a number that were too big, and a couple that were too small. There was also, sadly, only one "other" block. I set the different sized ones aside for a bit and tried out some layouts where the different block was in the middle, but I couldn't find a way to do that that I liked. I also knew that I wouldn't have a good lap sized quilt if I didn't use most of the blocks.
I eventually decided to put all the same sized blocks together on the front, and then I carefully pulled all the too big blocks apart, trimmed them down and made them into this border that continues the pattern the blocks create.
I took the rest of the pieces from the too big blocks and the pieces from the too small blocks and trimmed them to a uniform size. These I turned into these flying geese. I am glad I didn't try harder to find a way to use the nine patch on the front, because I love this pieced strip on the back. I didn't plan it, but I'm glad the flying geese strips turned out to be 12.5", so they fit with the block.
The rest of the backing fabric was something I found in my Grandma's sewing room when we were helping her move. I've been saving it for a quilt back, and I'm really glad that I used it on a quilt I plan to keep.
I didn't realize until just now that I hung it upside down on the line. Oops! I did straight line quilting diagonally through the squares in both directions in burgundy. My quilting isn't perfectly straight, but a lot of my seams don't match either, so it kind of evens out.
Here it is in it's new home, waiting for chilly weather. Which is actually here already. It's big enough that two people can cuddle under it together. Especially if one of those people is small.
I love swaps, especially when my blocks end up different (or somehow "wrong") then I expected. It's like a puzzle you get to put together in any way you want. I still have blocks from my first swap that didn't fit in the quilt that are just waiting for the right project to be included in, but I know that project will come some day. I love non matching seams, and colors that don't quite match, and crazy ideas from other people (wait till you see what my neighbor made for my bookshelf quilt from my last quilt group Round Robin).
I have developed my own plan to be a good swapper. My favorite swaps are the ones where you only part of the fabric, or non, and your swappers work with their stash and scraps, but I like the kind where you send all the fabric too, because then you get to play with OTHER people's stashes.
Anyway! Here's the way I swap:
Always make sure to follow the instructions sent. This is nice, because it forces me to practice paper piecing (which I hate).
Always make sure that the other swappers know that my instructions are only guidelines, and be clear about the things that aren't just guidelines.
Try to minimize the amount of expense or effort the other person will be putting out. I figure, the swaps where I send all the fabric are when I should pull out the crazy complicated patterns and difficult techniques. If I'm asking other people to supply the fabric, I try to ask for easier techniques, or give multiple block possibilities.
You get what you get and you don't get upset! This work we do for each other is a gift, and I try to be a graceful recipient. I want to always remember the effort and love that went into making these special things just for me.
I'm working on the idea of being happy with what you have with Moira in her life too. It's something I've struggled with my whole life. The first meeting I went to for my in person quilt group was the one where they revealed that year's Round Robin. It was one where they actually added borders to an interior block, so everyone was pulling out a finished (and fabulous) quilt top. The next year we were just adding blocks to each others boxes, and we get to put them together however we want. Sadly, it looks less impressive at first, so I was a little sad and pouty in my own head. I pulled it out to work on after a year and I am in love with it now, I think it will be equally as impressive as that first Round Robin when it's finished, and I was just silly before. It's near the top of my "to work on pile," so I should be able to show you the spinny awesomeness soon.