Monday, February 02, 2009

Virtual Retreat - Day 2

Some quilt retreat attendees hit the ground running, sew late into the night and rise early so as not to miss a single minute of quality sewing time. I am not one of those attendees. I ease into the weekend, more interested in the social aspect of the gathering than the actually work I can accomplish. Not being an early riser at the best of times, getting up early at a retreat to dive into work just isn't going to happen. Ditto if the retreat is virtual. It takes some time for me to sweep away the cobwebs, have that first hit of caffeine take hold. So Saturday morning found me hitting the snooze button and savoring the memory of the progress I'd made the day before. I'd had time to think a bit about those setting triangles and border fabric and of the two I thought would work, both needed to go through the wash. First order of business upon climbing out of bed, then, was to grab that fabric, dump it in the washer and make some coffee.

The upside of going on this virtual retreat is no 26 hour train trip to a part of the country even colder than where I am now, and no distractions as I work away. The downside of this virtual retreat is no distractions as I work away, no laughter in the room, no one to consult with over the inevitable fabric dilemmas, no stimulus from seeing what others are working on. Texting only goes so far. So, remembering how I spent Saturday morning at last year's retreat, I grabbed my coffee, sat in a comfortable chair and called my friends. Ah yes, I could hardly hear the person on the other end of the line for all the cackling in the background. Dang! So I made her describe it all to me, tell me what each person was working on, related what I was getting done. Gab, gab, gab. Finally, we both realized it was time for me to get off the phone and to work. The fabric was ready to go into the dryer and time to take the next step.

Choosing this ombre fabric for the triangles made my job a little more difficult, but I really didn't have anything else that fit the bill. I actually had two pieces of this, one piece not quite 2 yards, the other 5-2/3 yards. Both, I'm sure were one of those deals where I bought the end of the bolt (a sneaky way to avoid having to decide on a specific amount to buy). The larger piece was on heavy discount, costing me about $2.75 a yd and bought, no doubt with the quilter's famous rationalization: "It could always be used for backing." Indeed, in this case, this much yardage will provide not only backing but the border strips as well, while the smaller piece will give me my setting triangles. Normally, setting triangles would be cut from a large square cut on the diagonal both directions producing 4 triangles. There are charts that tell you how big that square needs to be. Unfortunately, if using a stripe, the square method is out because it produces triangles with stripes running two different directions. However, you can cut these triangles from strips instead. Just cut your strip 1/2 as wide as the dimension for the square and make cuts at a 45 degree angle. Here I've used my large square up ruler, placing a strip of painter's tape diagonally to help guide its placement on the strip. You have some waste at either end, but not much.

I didn't think this through 100%. I should have lined up the stripes differently in the strip so they would fall at the same distance from the long edge. Fortunately, I had the proper number so that all the ones on both sides were identical while the ones used at the top and bottom matched each other too. Visually you only notice if you look carefully, and remember, this is not something that will be for show, where if someone does notice it will be a big deal. I'm going for endearing quirkiness here, something that will make a future heir or quilter smile as she/he speculates on the conditions leading to the "imperfections" making this an interesting find. At least, that's the story I'm stickin' with...

I had a harder time sustaining my work ethic this day. I was already feeling the pain from my marathon work of the day before. I was pooped already, and not a little bit bummed at being only virtually connected to my friends at the retreat. There was a fairly big chunk midday when I simply couldn't make myself go back in and sew. But heck, I experience that at real retreats too, so didn't beat myself up over it. A walk revitalized me, and before the day was over, I'd added those triangles and sewed all the rows together. More climbing up and down off that chair. More reaching and stretching at the design wall, more hunching over the sewing machine, and the table too as I now had to do a lot of pinning before stitching. More awkward hefting of the iron as I pressed those long seams. More aches and pains requiring a few glasses of wine and a long soak in a hot shower at the end of the day. But man, was I pleased and excited! This was the point I expected to get to on Sunday, not Saturday. I'd told my friends I'd be happy if I just got it ready for borders by weekend's end. Now it looked like the borders would get on it too.

1 comment:

Katney said...

I really like your setting triangle fabric choice. Well, done!