Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sneak peak - wip

The past two Tuesdays, I have taken a quilting class at my local quilt shop. Both days, class was from 10:30-12:30 and I got to work around 1:30, taking a half-day of vacation.

I had a blast and can not wait to take another class.

In the first session, we discussed our color choices, in terms of what types of themes and combinations tend to work with the pattern being used for the class. I had already picked my theme and fabrics ahead of time, based on the instructor's recommendations on the class reminder so I was glad we didn't spend too much time on the topic.

Next we moved on to the cutting. This quilt is easy in that you start off cutting all the same size strips, in pairs. Then you cut some of the strip pairs into smaller pieces and sew some of the others together, then cut. I sewed almost half of my strip sets together and had already created one block when I realized my needle position was off and my seams were 3/8", not 1/4". That may not seem like much, but when you have multiple seems, it adds up quickly.

After moving my needle, and double-checking the seam width BEFORE sewing anymore, I completed sewing my strip sets and it was time to leave. The instructor mentioned that we were not expected to finish all of our blocks prior to the second class but the more that was done, the more time we could spend on the quilt layouts, which for this quilt pattern are numerous.

I spent that evening ripping out all of my wrong seams while watching TV.

Seems odd to say this, but I felt so energized all day by the creativity (I think because it occurred in the morning, not at the end of the day when I'm already tired), that I was really hyper (and productive) all day at work and even had a hard time sleeping that night.

I spent the next couple of days resewing the corrected strip sets and the messed up block, creating blocks from the strip sets, and cutting additional strips sets. By the time the next class rolled around, all 64 of my blocks were done! In less than a week! I can't even believe it myself, the blocks go together so quickly with this pattern and the results are so beautiful, I can't wait to do another quilt in this pattern but using different fabrics.

I picked this quilting class and the fabrics with a particular person and gift already in mind and since the intended recipient may be the only person who actually reads my blog and the quilt is supposed to be a surprise, I'm not going to show much.

Some of the fabrics, in stacks, before class
As I started working on the blocks, I added some fabrics and removed others.

Sneak peak of blocks

I spent the ENTIRE second class, yes, 2 hours worth, working on the layout of my quilt. At first, I thought I would follow a very uniformed pattern but was surprised when it felt dull and too ... well ... blockey, which is funny to say since its a quilt, made of blocks put together to form bigger blocks.

After trying a couple of other semi-patterned, semi-random layouts, I was feeling overwhelmed and a little lost. But, that's the nice thing about a class - you can ask the instructor and your classmates what they think and maybe, if you are lucky, the ladies working in your shop are nice enough to offer their opinions as well and help you rearrange your blocks. In the end, I decided on a completely random pattern, but getting it completely random, making sure that colors and combinations are spread evenly throughout, was hard.

I carefully stacked my blocks and pinned and labeled rows so I'll be able to duplicate the layout at home before I start sewing the blocks together. Luckily, one of the ladies in the class finished her layout a few minutes before class ended so the instructor had her sew one block of four blocks together so she could show us a few tricks to handle the seams - which will make a very big difference, especially when I start quilting. With her method, I won't have to deal with a terrible amount of bulk, right in the middle of each block.

After its been delivered, I'll post more about the completed project.

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