Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fair Weather Friends

A couple of decades ago I discovered that I liked making quilts.  My first quilt was for my son and I made it in a class at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.  It does not exist any more because someone, who shall remain nameless, left it outside in the Texas sun so the dogs would not have to lay on the grass.  For a navy blue quilt strong sunshine is not a good thing.

But I digress.

This post is about my fourth quilt that I just finished piecing today.  

Yup, I think this is the fourth quilt I ever started and I finished it today... in other words, about twelve years after I started it!

The quilt pattern is called 'Fair Weather Friends' and it was a mystery quilt program run by Material Rewards in Dansville, NY.

In a mystery quilt, the participants get fabric and instructions for pieces of a quilt on a monthly basis with the resulting pattern unknown until the very last set of instructions.

What made this a good program was that Material Rewards would design your monthly packages based on your fabric choices rather than everyone using the same fabrics. I chose, I think, spring colors and this is how the quilt top looks this evening:

This project took so many years because I started receiving the monthly packages while in the process of moving to Texas. Hheck, for the first couple of months I didn't have a place for my sewing machine to sit.  In addition, I never married all the monthly packages together into one package but I did work on the different monthly bits every once in a while when I came across them.

With the great sewing space hose out I finally got all the pieces together in one place and stared the process of putting it together.  Let me re-phrase that, I think I found all the pieces of fabric but I only found two of the of the five sets of monthly instructions.  

As I began to work on this quilt I noticed that my early piecing was highly variable in its quality.  Seam allowances varied from about 1/16" to about 1/2" versus the standard 1/4".  My thread tails were four or five inches long per seam versus the inch or less in my current work.  In addition, I obviously had terrible cutting skills as my three inch squares were cut anywhere from 2 1/2" to 3 1/2".

All of which contributed to some of the blocks being joined very, very poorly.

Like this:

rather than like this:

In the end I had to make the top smaller than the original instructions as I had run out of some of the fabrics while having too much of others.  Instead of a quilt top with 35 blocks, I have one of 20 blocks.

I might be donating this quilt, when I get it quilted, to one of the local charities or I might keep it as a humorous remembrance of all that has gone in my life on since I started this quilt.

Thank you, Material Rewards, for a real learning experience! 

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