The Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop is an excellent book for novice quilters (and experienced quilters, for that matter). It’s full of the sort of fun, modern projects that the Fat Quarterly e-zine is known for, as well as an excellent selection of modern blocks. The book is organized by shape, so quilting bee participants (or, for that matter, people who like a particular shape) can easily find what they want.
I admit that I didn’t consider making the Orange Soda quilt when I first saw it. Broken down into bits, it’s not that difficult–sew together a bunch of 5″ squares, then use fusible applique techniques to apply a bunch of petal shapes to the patchwork background. But all that fusible applique was intimidating to a novice like me, mainly because you have to sew over the petals once they’re fused to the background. And that means sewing curves. I can barely sew in a straight line, much less sew curves, so I was all, “this is great, but this is not for me.”
Then Allegory started the Soda Pop Quiltalong. Right after it was announced, I was at my parents’ house, showing off my copy of the Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop to my mom and grandmother. I was talking to my grandmother about the projects in the book, and I showed her the Orange Soda quilt and asked, “do you think I could make this?” She looked at the pattern and said, “of course you can!” And that was enough for me. When I got home, I signed up for the quiltalong.
I had a fat quarter bundle of Lucie Summers’ Summersville, as well as a coordinating green sold (both purchased from the awesome Pink Castle Fabrics). I got to work cutting my precious, precious Summersville into 5″ squares for the patchwork background. This took me a while, since I’m not the fastest cutter–at least, I’m not fast if I want to actually be precise about it. Tim would hang out with Lenora while I cut fabric. It took me several sessions to get all of the fabric cut. Then I started tracing petals onto fusible interfacing for the appliques. I invested in an acrylic template from Katy’s Etsy shop to make the tracing easier. Because I am a dumb-butt who doesn’t read directions properly, I actually cut out some of the petals before pressing them to the green solid fabric. This means that I got to cut those petals out TWICE.
Like many quilters, I consider piecing to be the “fun part” of quilting. Cutting fabric is OK, and I haven’t done enough hand or machine quilting to have a serious opinion one way or the other, but piecing is fun fun fun. Since I have five basic colors of Summersville (red, green, aqua, orange, and black) with seven or eight different prints, I decided to start my piecing by choosing one color (in this case, black) and matching the black squares with the other colors, being careful to mix up the prints. Because of the leaf appliques, you’re supposed to press the seams open, so I chain-pieced a whole slew of two-square units, then pressed them, then chain-pieced another square on either side of the two-square units, then pressed those. So it’s piece piece piece press press press, ad nauseam.
I dragged my feet on this for a while. I finished the piecing of the top in one huge burst when I was visiting my parents–they entertained the baby while I spent hours and hours in front of my mom’s fancypants sewing machine, assembling my gigantic quilt top of 5″ squares. And that was five months ago. My mom (who seriously should be sainted for this) traced and cut 500+ leaves for me. She volunteered for it, saying that it gave her something to do while she was waiting to pick my brother up from work. I’ve mentioned this before: the woman likes cutting fabric. With scissors or a rotary cutter. She’s flexible. And I am plenty willing to take advantage of this. because the leaves I cut out were pretty janky. I always did get “needs improvement” for scissor skills when I was young.
So I have a completed quilt top and 500+ fused-and-cut-out leaves. The latest block? I know that once I fuse the leaves to the quilt top, I’m going to have to sew the leaves on. And I am nervous about this because it involves sewing in something other than a straight line. I’ve finally gotten (reasonably) good at sewing in a straight line, now I’m going to have to do something different? Yikes. I think this is one of those situations where I am terrified that I’m going to mess something up, so I don’t want to do it. I don’t know what my problem is. IT’S JUST FABRIC. NOBODY’S GOING TO DIE*. But whatever. I think Curves Class should help with this particular mental block, so soon I should be unstoppable! (Well, until I find something else to fret about quilt-wise.)
The quilt will be not quite large enough for my bed (husband and cats are blanket hogs) and too big for Lenora’s bed (which is a crib for now), so I think it’s just going to be a lap quilt when it’s done. A very large lap quilt. It will be nice for those cold winter nights where everyone’s just sitting on the couch together, watching a movie. Just thinking of future snuggling under my Green River quilt makes me want to finish it as soon as I can. That’s why I’m linking this up to the Finish-Along–I’m hoping it will provide me with the motivation to get this one done. Yes, just in time for spring, where nobody will want a quilt to snuggle under.
What’s left, in brief:
- pressing and sewing the leaf appliques
- deciding if I want a border, and adding the border if needed
- quilting (I’ll use my mom’s longarm for this task)
I’ve got until the end of March. I think it’s manageable.
*I should make a wall hanging for my sewing area that says “IT’S JUST FABRIC, NOBODY’S GOING TO DIE.” Or maybe a decorative embroidery hoop.January 13, 2013
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