Saturday, May 8, 2010

May Quilt Day: Fair Block

I got an early start on my May Quilt Day, switching it on Saturday this month.

With the "Spring to Finish" list breathing down my neck, it was pretty obvious that I would be working on my county fair block.

First thing to do was to retrace the design onto paper foundation. I mentioned last time that I needed to buy some specialty paper for this because regular bond does not work well. Fortunately, before I went out and bought some, I found a pack of foundation papers as I was looking for something else. Apparently I had already bought some for some other project--good for me!

I mixed the designs of the two previous blocks, choosing the taller "windows" of the first design and the spikes with different heights from the second.

I was worried about having enough fabric as the main colour was just a 14" square and the accent fabrics were 10" squares. Taking the time to trace each piece directly onto the fabric (with white chalk or blue water-soluble pen), I ensured there would be enough for all the pieces. I had enough (thankfully) but not enough to make a mistake...no pressure!

So once I had them traced, I went ahead and cut them out. Laying them out in the order they would be used, I was all set:
I won't go over the paper piecing process as I think I've covered that in enough detail already. I will say that I went ahead and bought some new thread: thinner cotton thread just for piecing.
Even a average weight thread can make your seams too thick which may cause them to throw off your block measurements, never mind being "unsightly." I was happy with how it worked. (You'll also noticed it's not the colour of any of the fabrics: a good neutral is all you need for any of your piecing.)

There were a few hangups and rip-outs along the way, but I got the block together. Then it was time for a soak to make sure to remove all the water-soluble ink. I laid it out to dry, but then got too impatient. So I did a load of laundry so I could throw the block in the dryer with it, because I couldn't justify running the dryer just for this block!
(Well, that's one way to motivate myself for housework!)

After drying and a good ironing, cropping the edges to a clean 12.5" size gave me this:
I'm pretty happy with it. Whoever picked out the fabrics did a nice job.

You can see I carefully lined up the stripes on the black fabric in the windows:
Reflections? Glare? Miniblinds? Take your pick.

The only thing I'm worried about is this one edge:
The part that's circled is not quite the full width. I don't know how this could happen with two practice pieces under my belt, but it happens. (I mean, obviously, I was the problem, but I don't know on which step the error occurred.)

It's not off by much but it might be enough to cost me big. If it were in a quilt of my own, I'd go along merrily and hardly notice it. But if the judge is a stickler, I may be disqualified just for that...I guess we'll see in August!

Meanwhile, I am happy to have a finished block that I think looks good. And one more thing off the list!!

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