Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When the Computer's Taken Away....

...the sewing machine comes out to play?

Well, that's how it's been around here, anyway. Isaac's here and without a computer so he uses mine a lot. I don't like to claim it back from him because he's been working hard all day...alone most of the time...and should get some time for entertainment and connecting with the outside world.

So I find other things to do...eventually. (That is to say, after I realize (again) I can't go on Ravelry, can't check Facebook, can't listen to a podcast, can't watch a movie...)

Knitting is something I usually do while doing something else (see list above!), so I turned to the sewing machine. My poor Big T quilt has been neglected since May. I had the pieces for the final six blocks cut out, and I had made all the individual flying geese pieces.

One day last week, I paired up the flying geese to make squares, and tonight I put together all the parts of the "nine patch" and finished the final squares!!! Woo hoo!! (Whoa, did you see that coming? I didn't; but suddenly I was there.)

I ran much more of an assembly line than I usually do. (I don't usually quilt for efficiency. I think my output makes the point well enough!) After all the parts of the nine patch were ready, I laid out all the blocks on top of each other to be sewn factory style:

Here are the latest (and last) blocks:
I especially like that I made such a point of matching up the direction of stripes on the two striped fabrics:
The bottom stripes don't actually line up with each other, but at least they're all headed in the same direction.

I had to kind of push myself to finish sewing them tonight (fighting some general weariness), but I had a goal within grasp and went for it. Once the sewing (and pressing) was done, however, I had no problem coming up with the energy to play with the layout of the blocks.

First I tried sorting them in general dark/medium/light categories:
And then since there were the fewest of the dark, I put them in the center:
I didn't plan it, but I had matched pairs of all the dark fabrics. (I didn't pay any attention to the light fabric in the layout. It is purely background.) So for each block, there is a mate in the mirror image position. I think it gives it a pretty balanced look, but I'll live with it for a while and see if anything jumps out at me after a while.

(And please, if you see something wrong, an incorrect block, or a better layout, let me know! I won't be putting this together for a few weeks at least. Please save me from myself if you have a chance!)

Then it occurred to me that the lack of contrast of the white sheet really sucked, so I tucked under some alternating block candidates:
First we have a leaf pattern.
I think it's far too light, and even though they are maple leaves,
I think they're far too flowery for a "guy" quilt.

Second is a classical design (for lack of a better word).
I think it is also too light and way too old fashioned. Not old-fashioned-now-it's-cool.
Just out of date. It reminds me of wall paper too. (Why did I buy this?)

Third is a more contemporary brown X pattern:
I think it gives good contrast, has good interest and is plenty masculine and contemporary. What more could I ask.
I bought some of this in my first brown fabric buying spree for this quilt, but did not have enough to do all the alternating squares. And since the T blocks were so scrappy, at some point I decided I wanted consistent plain blocks to go with them. I liked this fabric enough that I spent quite a bit of time tracking it down online and finally found a seller with two yards left. I bought them, and should be all set!

Up next? Squaring off and trimming the T blocks, cutting out the alternating blocks and putting the thing together!! I know, Quilt Purists, I shouldn't have to trim my blocks but alas! I do. In fact, it's a good thing the Quilt Police are not real because I would have been hanged without a trial for what I was doing with some of the final blocks. Stretching, skimming and torturing some of those pieces into place. (Let's be glad, again, that  you never see the seams once the quilt is together!!) All that is to say it has been proven that I can not sew a diagonal seam without marking. At least, not a straight one. (Although I still think it was less time to futz with the blocks than it would have been to mark all those lines!)

I didn't cut off many points in my squares so the Ts are good and strong. I do, however, have a few floating points. But I noticed they aren't really a problem on a background of all the same fabric. Goody for me!

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