Friday, July 20, 2018

Rookie Mistake

I've had a couple people ask, and yes, my county fair is coming up soon. Check in day is July 28, so I have about a week.

A couple months ago, I started thinking about what I was going to do this year for the raffle quilt block. I couldn't find the kit and then I realized I couldn't remember a theme either. Did I somehow neglect to buy a kit last year???

I contacted one of the organizers and was grateful to be able to get a kit at that late date. The theme was "Harvest of the Grapes", which didn't sound at all familiar to me so I really do think I forgot to buy a kit last year.

Here are the fabrics they included:
plus a light background which didn't get into the picture. The rule is that you must use each of the fabrics included and you may add no more than two additional fabrics to go with them. If forced to say, I would have to admit I was not very inspired by the fabrics, but I really wanted to get a block done.

So I resorted to a technique that would get me guessed it -- English paper piecing! I poked around on the interwebs and found a design for a bunch of grapes using hexies. I adapted this placemat pattern from the "Wild Olive" blog.

First up was to print the pattern on cardstock and then cut the pieces apart. I then chose fabrics for the grapes. I decided on purple grapes and pieced together this bunch:
(The grapes are on a piece of white paper; it's not sewn onto anything yet.) I added a green fabric to the kit for the leaves and I added a purple to give some variety in the grapes. If you have a good eye, you will have noticed that I have three purple fabrics but only added one.

Well, I used the purple print provided in the kit both right side up and right side down! I don't know if the fair judges will consider this cheating, but the rule says I may not add more than two fabrics and I haven't. Whether they approve or not, I thought the grapes looked better this way so I went for it.

I decided one bunch of purple grapes on a 12" block would be kind of lonely, so after trying out some border or framing ideas, I added a yellow bunch of grapes instead.
This time I used two yellows from the kit and added a yellow. But wait! I've already added a purple and a green - how can I add a yellow? Well, the yellow and green are from the same fabric; I just did some careful fussy cutting to get what I want. (I'm going to include a sample with the block so the judges can see that it really is one fabric.)

Do you see anything else wrong with the two bunches of grapes in the picture above? I meant for them to be the same as far as the light and dark grapes, but I sewed the yellow one together in a different pattern! Grrr.

I gave myself a day, and then I took the yellow bunch apart and sewed them together to match the purple.

Once that was done, I settled on a layout and proceeded to applique the grapes to the background fabric.
Instead of using traditional applique stitches, I decided to sew them down using the same method I used for my English paper piecing. It's called the ladder stitch, I think. You take a small stitch in the background (as above) and then take a small stitch along the edge of the grapes, always entering right above/below where the needle just came out.

It made for stitches you can barely see and the back looks neat as a pin:
Here's a detail view from the front: (the blue marks will wash out later)
And here's a shot of the stem I tucked in as well:
I used a short bias strip, folded in thirds to get the raw edges tucked in. The bias allowed me to curve it to the shape I wanted.

When it was all stitched down, this is what I got:
Then I decided to add a loose grape to each bunch:
I soaked the block, let it dry and pressed and starched it. Then I cut it to size and thought I was done.

/ominous music starts playing

A couple weeks later (this week) when I was physically gathering things together to get ready to take to the fair, I thought I should double check that I had actually cut the square to size. It had been a few weeks; maybe I thought I remembered cutting it but hadn't yet. I would hate to be disqualified for such an easy thing to fix. So I measured it, and then measured it again.

/ominous music builds and gets louder

I was measuring 12". It is supposed to be what you call a 12" block, but that means you cut it at 12.5" so you have room to sew it together. My block was useless.

There wasn't too much wailing and gnashing of teeth because I didn't have time for anything but finding a solution. My options were pretty limited because I had very little of the fabrics left and absolutely none of the background because I had thrown out the pieces I trimmed off the sides! After considering using more of my two additional fabrics, I cut the Gordian knot and contacted the organizer for another kit. I got one.

So now all I have to do is take the appliqued pieces off of the too-small background piece and sew them onto the new background square. (Isn't it a good thing I like hand sewing? sigh) And then I have to make extra sure that I cut it at 12.5".

Maybe I'll go put some masking tape on the 12.5" lines of my ruler right now....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated so you will not see yours post right away. Thank you for leaving a comment; I enjoy reading each one!

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...