Monday, September 29, 2014

Not enough border fabric -- no problem . . . . .

. . . all right so it is a problem but it doesn't need to be a BIG problem.  It could be a creative challenge. 

I hit a writing lull a couple weeks ago, so all has been quiet on my blog horizon.  However, I was not in a quilting lull!!  I finished one of my big UFQ's over the past 10 days.  The deadline for entering a local quilt show was looming and when I looked through my recently finished pieces for a possible entry -- nothing there.  So I looked through my UFQ's to see if there might be one that I could finish in time.  Sure enough, there was a lovely basket sampler -- about half quilted -- and I felt confident I could meet the deadline.  One of the good things about having to submit an entry form and fee ahead of time is that it galvanizes me into action!!

So began an all-consuming push began to finish!   The quilt started as a set of 12 pieced basket blocks made with Marti Michell's Set M (all the shapes needed to make 5-patch 12" blocks) from Volume 4 of her Encyclopedia of Patchwork Blocks.  That was perhaps eight years ago.  The plan was to lure students into a workshop where they would learn to plan their own unique setting for a group of blocks.   No one was interested, so the blocks and all the fabric went into a pile on the UFQ shelves

Fast forward to 2013.  I was on a quest to finish thirteen of my oldest UFQ's (that wasn't as successful as I had hoped) and a new tool set had arrived from Marti -- the Long Skinny Stars Sashing set.  I wanted a sample using the new set and went to the UFQ shelves first to see if I might already have a set of blocks that could be a starting point.  There were several choices, but the baskets caught my eye and I (mistakenly) thought they were one of my "oldest" UFQ's.   So I designed a setting in EQ5 (I need to update that one of these days) and set to work. 
While I was at it, I decided to quilt the piece "in sections" since I didn't have a current teaching sample for my workshops based on Marti's book, Machine Quilting in Sections.  It was a win, win idea.  I got an old project off the UFQ shelves and had an attractive sample with multiple workshop applications -- using one of the template sets, a new tool set, and quilting "in sections".  

To function as a teaching sample, I also only needed to go "so far" with it but now it's time to finish it!  I was confident that I could finish it in time.  I had left everything together with notes about what to do at each stage and it was easy to get back into the quilting.  I piled up some tissues (yep, a cold descended on me), a fall teacup full of warm liquid, and some munchies.
I set the timer for 32 minutes and went to work three or four times a day.  In a few days, the central section of the quilt was finished and it was time to add the borders. 
I had cut strips for an inner border of blue, 1 1/2" wide, and an outer border of the setting fabric 6" wide back in February, 2013 when I organized the quilt.  The blue strips had to be pieced together and once I did that I started to add them to the quilt -- oops, I was 14" short.  How did that happen?  Surely I figured out that I had enough before I cut it.  Measure twice, cut once?
Fortunately the leftover fabric is still together.  So I went through it -- none of that blue. 
Would one of the other blues blend in with it -- no?! 
Did I have enough of another blue -- no?! 
There is a lot of brown -- enough of any of those -- no!?   
How about a scrappy brown border or a scrappy blue border?  I didn't care for the look of that. 
I need a cookie!!   )-:
Because the fabric is older it's unlikely I'll find more and I really don't have the time to go on a big search among the stashes of my friends or shopping to find a completely new fabric. 
 
Actually a pause (and a cookie) in the face of a dilemma gives the brain a chance to contemplate all the (panicked) brainstorming.  It was a good pause because when I returned to the studio (the cookies were just the ticket), I decided to try one more idea.
I split the blue I had into four lengths and added a bit of brown to each end and laid them out for a visual audition.
Fortunately, Coal arrived just in the nick of time to help me maintain a positive perspective!! 
Once the four strips were laid out, it occurred to me that if I realigned the miters, it would look like those little black paper corners used in old picture albums.
 
Coal thought it was a good idea too and allowed me to continue in that vein.
All four border strips are ready to add to the quilt and lined up in the correct order. 
By the end of the afternoon, they had been added to the quilt and it was ready for the outer borders and the final hours of quilting!!
So while it is a problem to run out of border fabric, it's not a disaster -- it's a creative challenge and I think the solution is more interesting than the original idea.  I love it!!
 
Next stop -- my UFQ Journal -- I get to cross one off the list!!
 
Mary Huey
 
P.S.  When I sat down at my machine to start quilting the borders, I reached behind the machine and  pulled the pin basket closer and there was an 18" strip of the blue -- do I have a creative fairy messing with me?
 
 
 




 
 
 

18 comments:

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    1. Thanks for the visit and the compliment!!

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  2. I love how the quilt turned out - the colors are peaceful and the star sashing really makes everything sparkle. Sometimes 'forced creativity' makes things turn out prettier than if you had enough of everything.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! Frankly at this point, I actually am delighted when I run out of fabric because I know the finished results will be better than I imagined!

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  3. The quilt is beautiful! Love the pointy star sashing -- I never think to use something like that. You made some really sweet lemonade with your border, too.

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    1. Thanks, Libby! I have to admit that coming up with samples for Marti Michell's new tools (I'm a certified educator for her company) has inspired some of my best quilts in the past 8 years!

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    1. Thanks for the visit and the compliment, Deb!

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  5. I love the blues and browns in this quilt...so peaceful and restful. And your blocks are gorgeous!!!

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    1. Thanks, Andrea -- I'm very pleased with the finished results!

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  6. Aren't you pleased that you didn't find the strip blue until it was too late! The effect of the brown at the corners is wonderful.

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    1. Yup, I'm good with the missing strip dilemma! Thanks for visiting!

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  7. Just beautiful, Mary! I'm so glad you are finishing this one. I'm starting to acquire a few MM sets due to your gorgeous piecing and I am getting better results. Now if I could just make the great contrasts and color/fabric combos! I don't recognize the acrylic ruler (?) with knobs in one of the photos. Is that to use on a long arm machine?

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    1. Thanks, Tammy! Glad to hear you are having a good template experience! I have to give credit for much of my fabric combo savvy to 26 years of working with customers in my shop -- lots of practice!! The ruler with the knobs is a long arm tool to help one guide the foot for a straight line.

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  8. what a great solution to the border fabric shortage..... the brown corners look perfect.

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  9. Beautiful quilt Mary and it was fun to read about your creative solution to the fabric shortage. Of course now you have that extra little piece of blue to use in something else!

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    1. Thanks, Connie -- I put the extra bit into a scrap bag and sold it this weekend so it can't haunt me!!

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