Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Piecing Puzzle

I have been thinking about making this quilt since 1989 when my friend, Lynn, in Florida, sent me Trudy Hughes' book Template Free Quilting. Lynn had taken a class with Trudy and liked her and the method. This particular design fascinated me because I love optical illusion quilts. But the piecing seem so daunting I kept thinking "later." Later arrived a couple of weeks ago.

Let me explain that the picture is of the top only so it doesn't hang well but the reason it looked daunting may be clear to those who do fairly intricate piecing. It is the specific placements of pieces that I had trouble with, the actual sewing is simple enough. Below are the four basic 6" blocks that make up all the quilt, except for the setting pieces around the edges.
Two of the blocks are simply "snowball" blocks, the other two have all the five fabrics but are set together differently. These blocks can the sewn turned in different ways and therein is a challenge. I will admit that when I'm just sewing straight seams my mind wanders. I day dream about how interesting this quilt will be and what the next one will be and what's in the fridge for dinner, and much else. I make mistakes because of inattention. I knew that was a serious possibility with this quilt as these blocks as well as the snowball blocks are set different ways to make the pattern work. I'm happy to say I only had to take out two squares in the whole thing to turn them a quarter turn and that was almost immediately after I'd sewn them in wrong.

I have set a good many quilts with the blocks on point so I wasn't daunted about doing this one starting at a corner and moving diagonally as in the last picture. EXCEPT I got ambitious. The specific 5 color pattern I chose was not shown and diagramed with the setting blocks that make the neat little points, that was only demonstrated on a three color quilt. But I love those little points like the clipped ends of ribbons on a package. So I had to figure out how to fit them into the border setting and I had not presewn them but did two for each row of blocks as I added them.

Just laying the blocks out row by row when I was sewing the quilt together took a lot of time, studying what I needed to do and then whether I had laid everything correctly before I sewed. I'm happy to say that of the setting blocks I only made two mistakes, one of which I corrected before I ironed the whole to photograph it and one I only discovered as I was hanging it to photograph so I have to go back and fix it.

This won't be quilted until the weather turns cooler. I have a warm fuzzy sense of accomplishment after so many years of hesitation. I kept a log; so far this top has taken me 22 hours, from beginning to cut to photographing the top. And, yes, while I was sewing, I decided what I will do next. By the way this was a stash buster. I had all these fabrics. At this point I'm not sure what I will use on the back.


Vicki Lane said...

I've admired this pattern myself but haven't tried it yet. Maybe someday...

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Diana said...

Congratulations on getting it finished! I think I have a pattern for a version similar to this. Maybe I should take a second look!

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

Wow! you always wow me June. It is so intricate.

Journaling Woman said...

This is so beautiful.