Sunday, November 17, 2019
This project has been a joy to work on; offering just the right challenge to my skill level. I believe this project has enhanced my skills because I nailed it. Though it may not be my design, I have certainly made it my own by choosing some of my favorite colors using fabrics I have been collecting for years. I love the round blocks, the points, the shapes and overall symmetry of its elements.
This quilt, designed by Becky Goldsmith as the 2019 Block of the Month for The Quilt Show co-hosted by one of my favorite quilting instructors, Alex Anderson (and Ricky Timms who I have only recently become acquainted with), is called Sizzle.
The best part about this quilt is that it reminds me of my father. I was drawn to it the moment I saw it.
While sewing the seams together, I thought about that. My father died at age 79, in 2003. This is the time of year I’d always thought about him. His birthday would have been in two days.
My father was the smartest man I’d ever known. He was also the most tolerant, patient, and easy-going person with a delightful sense of humor. He loved a challenge; the harder the better. And he was a bit of a mathematical genius. There wasn’t anything my father couldn’t do, and I’m not the only one that says that. Everyone who knew him sang his praises. He taught himself everything he knew, and in my view, he knew just about everything. I remember one year at Christmas time, when I was just a little girl, maybe five or six-years old, he made a three-dimensional star for the top of our Christmas tree out of cardboard, meticulously gluing each piece together. I can’t recall how many points it had, but it was certainly more than the typical five, six, or even eight-point star. He meticulously glued red and green Christmas wrapping paper onto the points. It was beautiful, and it was perfect.
Another year, he decided to learn woodworking. As was his habit, he sat down with a few books and taught himself. He also did that with photography, computer programming, playing the organ, and so much more.
He was a machinist by trade, so mathematics and using tools was his thing.
So stars and points, intricate design, and challenges will always remind me of him. The moment I saw this quilt pattern, I was completely taken by it. I had to make it, even though I questioned whether or not I could. And I’m glad I did.
I think my father would have loved everything about this quilt as I do, so I am making it for him, to honor him. Happy Birthday Dad.
Monday, November 6, 2017
At left is the quilt Lynette Jensen designed. At right is the actual quilt top I completed. There are so many reasons I wanted to make this quilt, but the most important was that I knew it would be a challenge. It was!
I chose different colors, but I followed every direction exactly as written. She did a beautiful job of explaining details, by the way. But, I will admit, I struggled with this one. I’ve always had a problem with anything to do with triangles. Of course matching points is always tasking. My biggest issue was the border in the center—the purple border in my quilt—which was a bear for me. It included sewing lots of tiny little pieces, including lots of squares cut into tiny triangles. Speaking of which, I had a few issues with the hour-glass shapes in the very center, for that very reason. But, I got through that after a few tries.
The purple border would not have worked if my life had been dependent on perfect ¼” seams or else. I’m not sure where my hang-up was, the sewing, the pressing, the cutting, or perhaps a little of all three. I made it work and if you didn’t know I varied a few seams to make it work, you would never know. I definitely went from below scant quarter-inch to way beyond chunky quarter-inch seams.
Because I was so bothered by this, I decided to make a little table runner out using the same pattern. I wanted to diagnose where my problem was. This is the result, at left.
I concluded that I have a long way to go to be as proficient at quilting as Lynette Jensen, but that gives me something to strive for. This is just a matter of practice needed. The points are good. The seams are all in the right places. It is definitely not perfect, but I can live with this. So, I guess the old adage still applies, practice, practice, practice.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
This was a free class offered as the 2016 Block of the month from Craftsy. Since I wasn’t able to participate when the class was first offered, I am glad to be able to catch up.
This quilt looks complex, so I’m really anxious to get started. I do love a challenge. The first class was to make the hourglass blocks in the center along with the first border.
I had a heck of a time with all those points and bulky seams. It occurred to me that I have spent so much time practicing my skills in piecing and cutting, that I have neglected part of quilting that is really helpful—the pressing.
As I was putting my rows of three blocks together, I could hear Lynette Jennings' words echo in my head, “Press the rows in opposite directions.” Unfortunately, I heard her voice only after I finished putting the entire center together. I was not happy with my results, so I decided to take apart all the pieces and sew them again, pressing each row in opposite directions.
Here are the before and after photos:
A big improvement! Clearly, the before and after show that this little exercise was well worth my trouble. And despite my husband telling me I’m crazy for ‘unsewing’ that entire middle section, I’m glad I did. Besides, that is just how I roll.