Improvisation #5: More Progress


Last Wednesday, the day before I was supposed to leave on a sewing trip to San Francisco, I came down with a dreadful gastroenteritis (norovirus). I was violently ill for two days and a zombie for three more. My brain ground to a halt. All I managed to do was watch “Lie To Me” – a TV series from 2009-11 on Netflix – all 46 episodes (worth watching, BTW!). Not kidding! All I could manage was to sit there immersed in the story and characters (I took small breaks for a bit of soup and ginger ale/water). I couldn’t even think about walking into the sewing room.

This morning I got up, showered, dressed, had a small amount to eat and sat down at my sewing machine – and began framing the blocks I’d made. I got two rows done, with sashing (and one longitudinal outside border), before stopping for the afternoon.

There are a ton of things to keep track of here and I’m controlling most of it, but not all of it: colour arrangement, block orientation, frame orientation… I had laid out all 20 blocks on my office floor and carefully picked them up in order (I’d added masking tape with row/column identification on each block), but once I started adding the framing I kind of lost sight of block orientation and when I went to add the sashing I found I needed to change block position a bit to be able to match up the framing seams. To use the framing fabric efficiently, I stitch two sides (10 1/2″ in length – these become top/bottom) then add the two longer pieces (11 1/2″ – these become the sides) – so a 45″ strip (with selvages cut off) gives me exactly 2 shorter and 2 longer pieces. As I work on the next two rows, I will try to keep an eye on block orientation as well when I add the first framing strips to the sides. Lots of variables to keep in mind on this quilt.

I have fabric for the backing and five blocks already made for the insertion so I’ll be able to move on quickly with the sewing here. A couple of days and the top and backing will be done. I created an embroidery for the quilting before I closed down to travel – my intention is to edge-to-edge quilt this using my embroidery machine – the embroidery has been set up to allow me to align ending and beginning. That’s because my framed block is 11″ and although I have a 360 X 350 mm reversing hoop it limits the kind of design I can create – can’t have any overlapping in the center because the bulk of the quilt creates just enough distortion that it’s impossible to get a decent alignment across the center. So my plan is to use the 360 X 200 hoop and quilt from edge-to-edge! That will be toward the end of the week.