Feb 28, 2015

Intersections make the piecing!

February has come and gone and now says good-bye with a beautiful snowy day; I was able to finally wrap up my February quilting homework. Well, I gave myself until the last day of February to post the second February block for the 2015 Craftsy BOM, Ash Basket.

Everything started as usual, in my crazy and year-long attempt to learn new techniques and widen my quilting knowledge - and hopefully, some skills as well!  :)

After cutting and double checking fabric and templates, ...

... I saw that some units didn't seem to match. Instead of tackling the issue, I jumped ahead and whipped these little guys:

Well, I indeed jumped... And far... And not very well... I did not understand a part of the instructions and, instead of verifying information, I went happily to the sewing machine and iron.

But when I started putting it all together, I realized I needed something like the pieced triangles on the bottom of the following picture, not a half-square triangle... (To myself: "Really? It's just a simple instruction, follow it, for once!")

Rip, rip, rip... Cut *right on a second pass, sew, iron, and... They don't fit!

Double check... They don't fit! And nothing else does!

Yes, that was my experience with Ash Basket, and I thought hard trying to figure out what went wrong.  Did I trace the template well? Did I check the printer settings were not changing the printing ratio? Did I cut the fabric well? Man! I even remembered having the same feeling when making the last block!

I was not about to cut more of that -limited- fabric I have, so I decided to research. I went to the class and did not feel that bad when I realized that a lot of people were frustrated because they were having the same problem. However, I also saw that some had been able to finish, and there were some brave ladies that even said that the templates were... perfect! Perfect? Really?

This was a major frustration issue - I had no idea what I was doing wrong and I was not finding useful information in the class. I tried to find information in the internet, blogs, and even library books, but every attempt to figure this block out seemed fruitless. 

I watched the class video again and again, and I couldn't find anything that would shed any light... at all!!  (Big sigh.) (It is actually a good sigh.)

There was only one thing that kept fluttering in my head, and coming back when I was trying to write an e-mail, during a client meeting, at lunch, and even when making dinner one day... The points in the templates... The templates have points... I went to a craft store and look at templates; blouses, skirts, points, points, points...

And then, it happened... Eureka! I was able to see what matters:

The templates clearly show it! None (or practically none) of the pieces of fabric has matching edges with another one; what matches is the seam! 

Up to now, I had always matched intersecting seams and cut units, starting generally by matching the middle of two cuts. Well, when I realized that I had to go deeper this time... To the 1/4" seam intersection - the actual seam! It also dawned on me why so many commercial templates have holes in them - to mark the intersections! I finally got it!

At this point, I even got Mr. Fuzz and told him all about the points, the templates, the seams, the edges that would not match, all the while I'm moving the templates and remaking what you see in the picture above. It was awesome! 

OK, if you have been quilting for a while, you may find yourself rolling your eyes, but it took me a while to actually "see" the complexity of quilting. That's what makes an art quilt - precisely pieced units and matching intersections. WOW! It took me a major roadblock and a simple basket to advance a leap when it comes to the understanding and appreciation of the beauty and art of quilting.

But to finish this block, I was not about to buy a set of marking templates, but I did go ahead and marked all the 1/4" seams in each piece, like so:

... and instead of trying to match edges, I made sure to pin the exact places where the 1/4" seams intersect, and little by little, precise shapes started to emerge.

I almost started happy dancing when I saw that triangle tip touching the horizontal fabric... I knew I finally was on the right track! 

Ah! That second of satisfaction when seeing precise points and piecing well done!

And (drum roll, please) here is: Ash Basket!

Oh man! I have so much more to learn!

After so long figuring out each piece and intricacy, I feel accomplished. It's almost as if I had advanced to the next quilting level, whatever that is...

Once more, an opportunity to learn and grow in so many ways. Yes, there is the aspect of the piecing technique, but just stop and think for a second - how many opportunities like this one come along our way.  It's up to us to make the most out of them!

Stay blessed,


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