Saturday, February 11, 2012
Ohio !#@! Star
I have decided that I may not be cut out for quilting. I am good at a lot of things. I can repair drywall, I can tile, I can help frame a house. But those things have a lower level of tolerances. If there is a small gap, you can fill it with grout or cover it with some wood trim. But with quilting, if you are 1/8 inch off you did a bad, terrible, horrible job.
And the hardest so far for me was the Ohio (expletive deleted, thank you Mr. Nixon) Star. In this block the points have to line up on the center square and if you are off by a fraction, it shows.
After ripping out seams THREE TIMES, I finally decided to start over! I re-cut the center and re-sewed the Four Triangle Squares and put the whole thing together again. It is only marginally better, but I decided it was good enough for me! You can see the problems up close, but on a horse going at a fast canter, it looks GREAT!
I love the whole concept of making all the Four Triangle Squares at one time. In this case I cut (4) 5 1/2 inch squares from the background and the border fabric. I placed the squares of fabric with the right sides together. Then draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner, like with the Flying Geese, and then sew a 1/4 from the center up and down on the diagonal. Cut between the lines and iron towards the dark fabric. Then place the right sides together again with the opposite colors facing each other. Pin and check to make sure they line up in the center. Once again draw the lines on the diagonal and sew up and back, then cut apart. Press the seams open and then you should have a perfect square that meets in the middle with perfect points. Then trim to size, in my case 4 1/2 inches.
Lay out the square with the Four Triangle Squares pointing towards the center and then with plain background squares in the four corners. After sewing the three vertical squares into strips, the hard part is making the points just touch the edges of the center piece. THIS is where I had the trouble.
I pinned it as we were taught by putting a pin through the point on one square and lining it up with the point underneath. This, in theory would then hold it while you finish pinning the piece. Somehow I was off each time. It sometimes seems that my sewing machine pushes the top fabric away from the bottom. But they are pinned and I don't see how that works. But that is what I do, so I must be doing something wrong and I don't know how to fix it.
I learned this week in class that the ironing I have been doing is sub-standard. Not that I have aspirations as a perfect ironer, but if all the seams are not perfectly flat and going the right way, you will have difficulty. Especially if you sew the imperfectly ironed pieces together and are then stuck with redoing them or keeping them as they are. Once again, I am going with the view from the back of a fast horse and thinking they are not THAT bad. My current theory is that all this re-cutting and re-sewing and re-ironing is going to impress my poor, weak brain so that the NEXT time I make a quilt, I will be SOOOO much better...or is it SEW much better??? At any rate, that is my goal and most fervent hope.
So far the Ohio Star is the hardest one for me. I am hoping that my technical skills will have improved before I ever attempt it in another quilt. Or maybe, I will never do another one, but this practice will make me better at the quilts I WILL do in the future. I would love to make some for our new B&B. On the other hand, the idea of having a guest ruin a quilt that took so much time and effort is rather upsetting. Gonna have to rethink that...
After all that I then had to make some more Flying Geese for the border. But those went fast and I like them! I like things that go the way they are supposed to! Maybe I need to go bake something.