I was almost ready for Christmas. I had a quilt done for my brother Ron, and another done for brother Rick and his wife Susan, but I still needed one for my brother Mick and his wife Colleen. Earlier in the year I had purchased a kit from Connecting Threads that had colors I thought would work well for Mick and Colleen’s house. The pattern, Spinning 4-Patch Blossoms, was interesting and didn’t look like it was beyond my capabilities. However sometime after that, Colleen had mentioned that it would be nice to have a quilt that included an animal print fabric. This pattern didn’t really lend itself to that, so I shelved the kit and bought a 10″ stack of animal prints from Keepsake Quilting, and found a new pattern called Slide Show that I thought would showcase the prints nicely.
I bought some background, border and binding fabric and started cutting. The pattern called for twenty 8″ squares and lots and lots of 2″ squares. My plan was to use the 10″ stack for all of the squares, and it came out just about right. The background fabric made me nervous though. After cutting out the required strips, I had one tiny pile of scraps leftover. Yikes! But once the blocks were all done, I still had one strip left. Phew!
I took the blocks to work with me and had friends help me with the layout. More planned randomness. Unlike the fabric for blocks and background, when it came to borders I had plenty. I had enough that I thought I could cut them out parallel to the selvedge and not have seams in my borders. And at this point in my quilting I was still cutting long borders, sewing them on and then cutting off the “extra” instead of measuring and cutting to the correct length. These two methods turned out to be a bad combination. I learned:
- Cotton quilting fabric stretches differently parallel to the selvedge than it does across the width of fabric. Cutting strips along the selvedge gave me really floppy borders. My longarmer was able to deal with the “fullness” without getting folds or tucks, but it wasn’t easy.
- The right way to add borders is to cut them to the correct length first. When I sewed my borders on, I had them on the bottom going through the sewing machine. Since I didn’t pin, the feed dogs pulled in extra fabric over the long stitch lines. This added a lot to the fullness of the borders. It may have even been more of the culprit than the direction of my cutting.
Since then I have stuck to cutting across the width of fabric and I cut my borders to length. It’s worked out much better. I picked the pantograph Rotorua, which I had used previously, and a nice animal print minky for the back. Karen did a great job as usual and I was ready for Christmas 2011! Sadly, I still have the unfinished spinning 4-patch quilt kit to this day. Every now and then I think about sewing it up, but something shiny usually comes along that’s more interesting. Someday, little kit. Someday.