Monday, March 21, 2011

Two Strikes... and a Home Run!

The quilt on my "design wall" right now (thumbtacked to the eaves in the attic) is a graduation quilt for my nephew, a graduation quilt with a story. (Are you comfortable? Got your coffee? I can wait a few minutes... OK)

To start at the beginning - the fabric in this quilt (the light and medium blue - not the borders or the muslin) was previously owned by my nephew's grandmother (my husband's brother's wife's mother) - who used those types of fabrics to line steamer trunks when she refurbished them. These were leftover pieces that I acquired from her in a community wide yard sale - probably about 10 years ago.

The fabrics then sat in my drawer for about 8 years, until one day I decided that all the nieces and nephews on my husband's side of the family would get graduation quilts from me. Unfortunately, I was already one quilt behind - so thought it would be fun (and thrifty) to get caught up and make a quilt for the oldest nephew out of the fabric from his grandmother.

My first plan was to make Buzz Saw blocks - using this pattern that started out with half square triangles. So when I went to the quilt retreat in Ohio in 2009, this was one of the projects I brought.

However I forgot how monotonous it can be to sew nothing but 2 color HST's all day - so it got put aside.

When I picked it up again, I stitched all the HST's and then proceeded to stitch my first buzz saw block.

FAIL!!! Not sure where I erred, but the components ended up as rectangles rather than squares, so the block was very wonky. Very very very wonky. Unusably wonky.

By this time the 2nd nephew was fast approaching graduation, and it was his grandmother, too - so I thought I could use the HST's in 2 groups for the centers of 2 quilts, and then add borders round and round to make them a usable size. I even reversed the settings so that they would be similar - but not identical.

FAIL! The one I worked on was ugly, unbalanced, and about the size of a table runner. And I was rapidly running out of fabric. The border fabrics I had - the bits and pieces I was trying to stretch out of the remaining fabrics from "grandma" - were just not enough. I was sewing without a real plan - and it was showing.

So back in the drawer these went -I would think about them from time to time -but I was not ready to face all the unstitching I imagined was ahead of me - and I still did not have a plan. To be honest - I think I was really afraid, but unwilling to throw these blocks away. Until about 2 weeks ago at Shellie's, when I FINALLY pulled them out to evaluate and regroup. I ripped off all the extra borders from the one "center", and put the two centers together. OK - now I was seeing something in proportions I liked. I also figured out the pieced border with the medium blue blocks, and found a dark blue that would work as an additional fabric (that was sadly lacking in my previous efforts).

So now I am closer to having my "Home Run" - although it is a quite a bit longer proportionally to it's width (again - the results of not totally planning the entire thing through. I think I should have removed the 6th row instead of just putting the 2 squares together. Oh well...)

The second nephew is getting a quilt with different fabrics and different colors -but ones I think he will like - and who knows, I may just sneak an extra HST from this quilt in as his label.

And we can cross another one of those pesky PIGS off the list!


Suzan said...

I love a quilt with a good story. I think it looks great - very masculine and that is not easy to do unless you are using sports or hunting themed fabrics!

Jennifer said...

Wow, this quilt is fantastic. Enjoy hearing that you put the blocks away but we able to resurrect them finally...I have some that will need that one day.

jillquilts said...

Way to go on powering through and finishing the top! You rock!

Deanna said...

Sometimes the only solution is to just keep going. Nice looking finish!

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's a really tall man and needs a longer quilt. I love the positive- negative aspects of it. And a story! Yay!