Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A week of travelling and tiny quilts

Do I need help? I flew across the country to attend a two-day meeting for work and when I checked into my hotel I saw that it was only 7:30 so I hopped back in the car and drove about 30 minutes to G-Street Fabrics in Rockville MD. Never mind that I'd just spent all day flying and hadn't had a decent meal! I had an hour and a half to shop before they closed! I actually was on a mission. I wanted to find buckles for the purse I'm making with the leftover black and white skirt fabric. I thought for sure they'd have them but they didn't. So I looked through their pile of $2.77 fabrics instead. In the past, I've found that they mostly have cottons in this pile but this time I found some good deals. I found a yard of a buttermilk knit in a paisley pattern - it actually was 1 1/4 yards, so enough for a Jalie T-shirt. I also scored a 2-yard piece of a beige poorboy knit that had decent recovery. And the final catch of the day was nearly 7 yards of a sheer polyester to make valences for my kitchen windows. I could tell the green/gold/browns would go well in there and how could I pass up the price? It was also suitcase-friendly thin fabric. Tally: 10 yards

I flew home Friday and then spent the next two days in a quilting class...working on a miniature quilt. Yikes. The course, taught by Sally Collins, can be considered as a way to learn how to improve your accuracy at cutting and sewing on "normal" size quilts, since accuracy is key when dealing with 1/2 inch blocks, or one can take the class to learn how to make a very small quilt. I took it for both reasons. I've only taken one other quilt class and I've only made one pieced quilt - well, actually just the top. I have made two small "quilts" - the top blocks are appliqued using Heat 'n Bond. I don't really think of them as quilts. I also have a small paper piecing project begun. After two full days in Sally's class I have 270 tiny pieces cut and only 8 pieces sewn together. The first day was spent learning about color and composition. Twelve women used the same Circle of Stars pattern and turned out 12 very different looks simply with different color choices. My quilt is a greenish-brownish background with yellow stars and brown centers. It reminds me of sunflowers or black-eyed-susans. Not at all what I thought the fabric would create. I simply started with a set of 8 fat quarters that ranged from gray to brown to green and pulled a few fabrics from my stash. Most of my fabric stash is fashion fabric for garment sewing but I have been accumulating quilt fabric - at an all too rapid pace, I'm afraid. I mostly collect cat prints for a "some day" cat-themed quilt. I'm pleased with the color choices of this quilt and hope to someday actually finish it. Yeah. Right. Famous words of a novice quilter. I also stopped at Joann's that night and buoyed by the thrill of taking fabric colors and combining them into something special, I bought 30 fat-quarters (it "helped" that Joann's was having a sale: $1/fat quarter). I'm not counting the fat-quarters in my stash. I don't think I will count (or have every counted) quilting fabric in my stash because it's not used up in the same way. Quilt fabric is like an on-going resource - like paper or pens. Hey, it's my stash and I can make the rules.

Anyway, the class was really great and I highly recommend taking Sally's classes if you ever get the chance. My husband actually saw the announcement at the quilt store and suggested I take it (yes, he actually goes into fabric stores with me). I thought it was too expensive and out of my quilting league but my husband persuaded me. Yes, he persuaded me to take the class. No I did not slip him a drug and yes, he was my husband and not an alien. Another customer happened to have taken the class and was planning to take it again. She told me how good it was and I relented. I had my husband, the store owner and the customer pushing me to take this class! How could I not? I am really glad I did take it, even though I spent more money on notions during the class (needed just the right pins, scissors, thread, needles...) and of course the fat quarter buying spree at Joann's. Expensive class indeed. But it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I really do hope to finish the quilt...and make a few more.

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