April 20, 2007
Measure twice, cut once?
You know, sometimes I don't make any sense.
You'd figure that with all the gorgeous, modern, inspired, colorful quilting popping up on knitting and crafting blogs (and Etsy), I would have checked out Denyse Schmidt Quilts by now. But it wasn't until last week that I finally took a good look at the projects. I'm embarrassed to tell you that I bought the book only to bring up my total to $25 on Amazon. Well, there's also the matter of being 47th in line to borrow a copy at the library...
I started scheming no more than 8.2 seconds after looking through DSQ. Don't you love the rush of planning a new project? The need to get started regardless of previous commitments, weather, work, hunger, pets, laundry, personal hygiene, etc.?
I was primarily captivated by the Any Way You Slice It quilt.
I love the random regularity of it, if that makes any sense.
But before launching into something so big and elaborate, I decided to make a smaller project: I've never done piecework, or used batting, or attempted to combine more than three colors/patterns. The Mix It Up cocktail coasters seemed like a perfect choice - functional, and constructed using the same methods as the Any Way You Slice It quilt.
And let me tell you, I'm so glad I didn't jump into the deep end of the cold pool head first. Because those little coasters took three full nights to perfect, probably 4-5 hours each night.
What you see there is a whole lot of trial and error. My problem was that the coaster tops kept coming out too small, no matter how carefully I sewed the fabric pieces together. I ended up having to modify the DSQ pattern, enlarging the final layout by 4.6% in the vertical direction and 6.9% horizontally. Many trial coaster tops were stitched, pressed, and 'squared up' to come up with those numbers.
All's well that ends well: I'm absolutely thrilled with my first little quilts!
Allow me to ramble some quick and dirty facts.
- The fabric is from Winmil, except the burgundy print (leftover from this skirt).
- To me, chain piecing is like a cold glass of water after being lost in the Sahara. By the time I was putting together my third (ahem) set of coaster tops I figured out how to sew in one continuous line - looping the finished pieces from behind the machine to my lap, cutting them off one by one as more strips were added.
- I don't have a point of comparison, but the Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon cotton batting I got from joann.com (always check for a coupon!) is very soft and lovely!
- The quilting was of the "stitch in the ditch" variety, though I tried to quilt each coaster in one continuous line, skipping some seams and making sure to go over the opening left for turning.
- Did you know that Clover makes quilting supplies? In order for each coaster to be a perfect 4" square, I traced a cardboard template onto the top using the cutest little Clover chalk wheel.
Okay, enough. It's Friday, I have coasters, let's have a drinkie before I start cutting more fabric. Cheers!