Thursday, March 3, 2016

Adding Complicated Borders and Link Party #BraveQuilter is OPEN

New Link Party Open Below

Monday Afternoon Wrap Up

This week has been busy, and sewing sessions were short. The important thing was to squeeze in spare minutes whenever I could. My only goal Monday was to add the piano key borders, and it took a lot longer than anticipated.

This design is dependent on everything squaring up. If you've ever made any quilt block, you realize every piece within that block relates to the parts. Your cutting, seam allowances, and even pressing contribute to the block coming out the correct size. Increase that scale to a 65" square, and things can go haywire instantly!

I've Found What Works: 
Square Everything!

I knew the center block was square because of the care I took adding the first dark brown border the blocks. Guess what? It was off by about 1/8"-1/4" on two opposite corners. That would have skewed the piano key border so I corrected it. Then I...

  • Squared the piano key borders. I had to replace one 'key' because it was coming out a wee bit too short.
  • Add the short sides of the borders first--the ones without the mitered corners,
  • Square all four corners again!
  • Add the 2 remaining borders with the mitered corners.
  • Square all four corners again!
Do you get where I'm going with this? You have to be particular and precise. I almost felt like I was working in a surgery.

Construction Dilemma

You probably know by now that I prefer to figure out my own construction process rather than look it up. Compare this to "Discovery Method vs. Tutorial" in math. Not everyone is comfortable doing it, but I think it makes us better problem solver when it comes to design. We mainly discover what doesn't work, as happened here.

I needed to figure out what size to cut my pale green triangles coming off the piano border. The only way I could do this was work backward. First I drew it on paper, and did as much of the math as I could.  I can only visualize so much, and then I need an actual model. I cut my outer brown borders, pinned them up, and discovered I was short fabric if I didn't want to piece the borders. 

The math calculations gave me one number, and looking at my border placement helped me determine if it 'made sense'.
I did, so I cut my pale green triangles as large as possible thinking I could cut them down if I had to.

Quick Math

*If you have a piece of fabric measuring about 44" wide when the selvages have been remove, and you want to use it most efficiently, you can cut 2 squares 22" x 22". Those squares can then be each cut in half diagonally to produce corner triangles. Yes, you can go up to a 44" square cut diagonally, but it becomes harder to this diagonal cut precisely. No matter how careful I am, cutting these by folding gives me an inaccurate cut. I am far more successful by using an extra long ruler.

I held my breath until I knew the corners were going to fit, and then moved on to the fun part: Dresden fans. The colors had me stumped, and I'd made up several different combinations until finding one that worked both close up and from a distance. My design called for the inner fans to be superimposed on the out fans. This didn't catch me up until I realized I was going to be sewing a corner where I had a multitude of seams.

By Wednesday morning, I had secured enough extra fabric for the remain 2 borders. I had the inner fans sewn on with Auriful Invisibile Thread, and the outer ones made and pinned in place. It was a dance to pin and sew, trim and adjust, cut a notch through my pretty fan, and create a Y-seam with all that bulk. I almost cried. 

It worked. It wasn't perfect. It was done. I could not do that 3 more times. Would not. So, I took time to rethink the process. The other 3 corners will go together by overstitching the inner triangle onto the outer border already appliqued with the coral fan. It will be far less complicated, and be easier to keep in square. I'll let you know.

#BraveQuilter and a New Linky Party

I know there will be a few of you say 'this process thing' would make you grey, and isn't worth it. I tell you emphatically, it IS! Every time I learn something, I find myself thinking about how it applies to other designs. It makes quilting more interesting, and me less fearful. 

I encourage you to be a #bravequilter, and overcome something that is challenging you.

Do you want to...
Figure out zippers?
Learn to piece a Y-seam?
Learn how to knit?
Enter your work in a show?
Applique something--anything?
Dye fabrics?
Make a project with repurposed fabrics?
Make a block with curved piecing?
Paint with acrylics on fabric?
Take a class on something totally new to you?

We all have things we need encouragement with so I'm going to tell you to TRY ONE THING! Just one thing on your long list you choose to cross off this month, and link it up here. You can add it to a blog post this week, or simply tag it on Instagram. It doesn't have to be a big thing. 

For example, assuming you have never tried or 
mastered curved piecing, and would like to. 

*Add something like this below to a blog post. 
*Add a link somewhere in your post back to Pink Doxies. 
*Link up that post here.

"I'm participating in the Pink Doxies new link up, #BraveQuilter. As part of the #BraveQuilter link party for March, I promise to make one 12" block with curved piecing." 

Instagram could be a simple picture of your materials or any example of what you'd like to achieve, and say the same thing as above. Use the hashtag #BraveQuilter, and tag me @PINKDOXIES. 

Then DO it! Try it. If you wind up making something fabulous, cheers to you! If you try it, and maybe it's just so-so, cheers to you because you still worked at it. Maybe someone else will have some good words of advice to help you out. These do not have to be finished projects. We are taking small steps together to become better quilter, sewists, artists. We are celebrating the learning process.

The link party will stay open for one week. This one will be open today, and close March 10, 2016 at midnight EST. When you've completed your own challenge, write and publish a blog post or Instagram post. The link up for finished projects will be April 1-3. I will draw one winner to receive a small bundle of vibrant, hand dyed fabrics from Pink Doxies Studio. You must link up both at the beginning and end of the month to be eligible for prizes. 

Remember: No one is asking you for a finished project of any kind. Pick something that is a personal challenge, and take it on. 

Be your own inspiration, 
and grow this year!

Life begins outside your comfort zone.

Linking up with~
Bits N Bobs
Patchwork Times
Podunk Pretties
Off the Wall Friday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict Sew Fresh Quilts
Crazy Mom Quilts


Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

What a great idea!! I just finished quilting a quilt, and I was definitely brave and tried something new. Your quilt is awesome.

Susan said...

I agree, that we should all challenge ourselves to try a new technique!

Teje Karjalainen said...

Great idea Julie and your quilt is becoming very beautiful! I like that every project teach me something. x Teje

Jayne said...

Thanks for taking us through your process! Math makes me crazy, but it doesn't stop me! Your quilt is beautiful and kudos for learning new things...Brave indeed! I've been fiddling with a design pattern the past couple days trying to get measurements just right, pain in the butt yes...but it will be worth it!

Mari said...

The piano key borders look great, even if they were a pain. (Actually the whole thing looks great, but you know what I mean!) Sometimes it works on paper but not in fabric. Fabric doesn't know math and can be stubborn and uncooperative! Looks like it was worth the work, though!

Mari at The Academic Quilter

Jill said...

Wow! I love how you lay out your work. Thank you for sharing your process. (The quilt will be beautiful!)

Sharon - IN said...

It grows! And looks great! Interesting linky party, I'll have to think on that one.

Mina said...

That is a really pretty piece. I love the color combo

HeathersSewingRoom said...

It was truly worth the effort as I love the result. It is going to be an awesome quilt.

Stitchin At Home said...

As you know I love this Julie.

Unknown said...

Wow, I love this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and you are right. Always try something out of your comfort zone to grew, even with quilting. Have a nice weekend.

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

This is such a fabulous quilt - I just want to lick my computer screen!!! ;) Seriously, I'm crushing hard on your quilt and appreciate you sharing your creative process with us. I also think the linky party is a fabulous idea and can't wait to join in.

Amy DeCesare said...

You are brave enough to earn a medal! I really love the mitered piano key border.

Podunk Pretties said...

I like to see brave quilters, and I love to hear their thoughts while designing. You slayed those corners brave gal, congrats!

Cath said...

I am terrible at Math....really terrible! I always knew it but still persevere....adding piano keys to a border was one of my biggest challenges....took me ages but the outcome was stunning. Great new linky...I will add it to my linky list and pop over when I have something to share.