Weekend Warrior

Well, maybe not a “warrior”, but I did manage to work my way through a quilt top and back for a friend’s new daughter. And “weekend quilter” just didn’t have the right alliteration.

I so, so want to post photos of the new quilt top and back for everyone to see. But that just wouldn’t be fair to my friend, who hasn’t seen it yet, and may not even know it’s on the way. Well, it will be on the way, once it’s finished.

I finally decided that the garage studio was “done enough” so that I could actually make something. And this quilt was at the top of my list. When I asked about colors, all my friend said was “pink and green”, so I dug through my stash (OK, I dug through one or two drawers of my stash, since I knew where I had put the fabrics I wanted), and pulled out some pre-cuts and a little yardage. I made most of the top (and some of the back) with blocks made from pre-cut 2.5″ wide strips, often called “jelly rolls”.

For you non-quilters and beginners, “jelly rolls” got their name when a fabric company, Moda (United Notions), started selling their fabric in sets of pre-cut strips, about 30 or 40 in a set, and rolled the set into a tight roll, tied with a string or ribbon. Then they made 1.5″ strips, rolled them the same way, and called them “honey buns”. They also sell “layer cakes”, which are sets of 10″ squares, and “turnovers”, which are triangle-cut sets used for making “half-square triangle” blocks. Since Moda apparently trademarked these dessert-themed names, nobody else is supposed to use those terms to describe their pre-cut sets. But like Kleenex and Xerox, those names have become almost generic names for the pre-cut sets.

Another example is Hoffman Fabrics’ Bali Batiks strip sets, which are called “Bali Pops”, their 10″ squares (called “Bali Crackers”) and 5″ squares (called “Bali snaps”). They are packaged 40 pieces to a package (generally 2 each of 20 different fabrics), and come in a variety of beautiful colorways. And they are gorgeous. Beautiful patterns and colors, hand-dyed in Bali, a place I’d love to visit someday.

Yeah, quilters think about food. A lot. Especially sweets. Mmmmmm….  Oh. ahem.

While I was working on the quilt top and back, I was so engrossed in what I was doing, I didn’t even think about food. Or getting enough water to drink. I had to set an alarm to remind me when to change the laundry around. Spousal Unit came into the garage late Saturday afternoon to let me know that dinner was ready and hot whenever I got to a stopping point. Two hours later, he returned to inform me that dinner was now cold, but there was still enough left for me, if I wanted it. The top of the quilt took me about 12 hours to plan, prepare, and create. The back took half that long.

At times, it felt like I was wrestling with the fabric, trying to keep it from sliding to the floor, which is impossible to keep clean, being a garage open to the outside (especially when the big door is wide open, as it was this weekend). At other times, the ideas seemed to flow like the time, effortlessly moving together to create a lovely pattern that I hope my friend and her daughter will both enjoy. The back was a bit more difficult, as I no longer had enough of the fabric I had meant to use for the back. So, I improvised. ‘Cause I’m creative that way.

A technique that I have seen more of lately involves adding pieced panels or strips to the back of the quilt for more interest. So, I sliced and diced my way through the too-small yardage, and pieced together a few leftover blocks from the front. Then, when I discovered that I didn’t have nearly enough extra fabric, I dug through the leftover strips that didn’t make it into the quilt top, and pieced together more strips. After both sides were about the same size, I pressed them, then enlisted Man Child to hold them up outside so I could get photos. Which wasn’t as easy as it could have been, because the breeze picked up and kept blowing the cloth around for several minutes. At which point Man Child complained that his arms were going to fall off. Finally, the wind died down enough to get a couple of nice shots with my cell phone, which I have yet to review on the computer screen.

You’ll also be happy to know that Man Child has recovered full use of his arms and hands.

So, I’ll be taking more photos of the new quilt as it nears completion, and once it is finished, I will take a few photos of the final result before I send it off to its new owner. And I need to get an adjustable rack to display/photograph my work. Once I give or sell the finished product, photos are all I’ll have to show for my efforts. Just as well, though, as my current home simply doesn’t have the space to store piles of quilted things for very long.

Ah, well…  Getting late, so I suppose I must close for now. No quilting tonight. It might have to wait until the weekend, or perhaps the weekend after that. But hey, that’s when the Weekend Warrior is at her best, right?

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