Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Way of Working on Jane

Guess I should get back on my blog.  I have gotten side tracked with genealogy.  I have been into that for years.  History and a good mystery all rolled into one.  Actually that is kind of what working on Jane was like since there were no instructions.  You have the history of the quilt and letters from Brenda to Jane and then you have that mystery of figuring out how to do 75% of the blocks.

That is where my process started.  As I said, I started with hand piecing as I knew how to do that.  Not fond of it but I can do it.  I knew there would be several blocks that I would not attempt to machine piece so I thought that was a good place to start.  Then I moved on to other blocks that I knew I could piece, but not easy ones.  I saved the easy ones for times that I didn’t have to think like at retreats or times I was doing things wrong, to get my confidence back.  Or times I just wanted to increase my piece count FAST!

As I did each block I glued a fabric swatch on a copy of page 12 out of the book, like many do.  I also kept a list of block number, number of pieces, date completed, color and How?  That how is a biggie in why this quilt is called ‘In Changing Times.’  This list was my version of a journal.  I have tried to journal at various times, even on my trip to Paducah when my quilt was there and I just don’t stay with it.  My mother and youngest sister journal.  You would think it would come naturally.  But no.

dj swatch sheet

Now how pretty is this?  I even went to the trouble of cutting out triangle shapes for my triangles.  Mine is not as neat as some I have seen, but it is mine and it does have the triangles on it.  Mine is the first one I have seen that have the triangles on it.  One reason I used a swatch sheet is to make sure I didn’t repeat fabrics.  I failed.  While I was hand quilting my quilt I found 2 blocks where I had used the same green print, a Benartex leaf print.  I got to looking further and found that I had put the same print together, both in red and green, right next to each other in my quilt.  I think you can see that I-1 and J-1 are the same print in the swatch photo.  And the other print that is next to same one in the opposite color is the print that I repeated and they are in the positions on M-1 and M-2.  M-1 is repeated in    B-2 I believe.  So since I have those unexpected puzzles in my quilt, I put one more in on purpose.  My husband and I played a game of Tic Tac Toe for I-3 and I quilted in when I did the quilting.  The actual game is stuck in my book.  Actually there is one more thing I need to tell you about my quilt.  I will try to remember to tell you next time; part of it I did intentionally, the other part was pure accident.

One note, as I pulled fabrics that I had put back for this quilt; I picked as I did each block based either on something that would complement the block design, reminded me of something in block design or had to do with the name of the block.

DJ Journal

Back to my process.  Here is my list of blocks and triangles as I did them.  I played bingo with the blocks.  I did all the triangles essentially like they are presented in the book and 98% of them are paper pieced.  I don’t enjoy paper piecing and I personally did not enjoy the doing the triangles.  I know others say they like doing them more than the blocks.  I did not learn anything on the triangles other than it reinforced my dislike of paper piecing.  l learned a lot in doing the blocks.

What did I learn?  Just about everything.  I learned lots of new things to me and I came up with new ways  for me to do things.  Easier, time saving ways for things to be sewn.  I did not come up with the bias square technique, but I used it on several blocks in this quilt.  My students were amazed.  I came up with several methods of what I call strip piecing shortcuts, even for a 9-patch and those corner units on like on D-5 or L-3.  Those are easily paper pieced, but remember I don’t like to do that, so I came up with a method to do that without paper piecing just using an ordinary right angle ruler and it works for me.  Most of my students are not sold on it but it’s because they don’t understand the ruler.  I don’t mind if they paper piece if that’s what they want, it’s their quilt just like this was my quilt.  I learned (figured out is more like it) how to do reverse appliqué.  I  had done some of the easy blocks with reverse appliqué but when you get to blocks like I-5 and M-7, I just couldn’t see it.  I had completed blocks like B-2, B-3 and then C-5 with the background reverse appliquéd on top like Jane did.  In fact, I have 3-4 series of blocks that involve appliqué and reverse appliqué that works its way from easy to difficult.  For some reason, after I completed C-5, I finally figured out how to do those other multilayered blocks like I-5 and M-7- it just clicked.  It probably took close to a year, but it finally happened. 

I am sure there are other things I learned; I know there is- like prepared appliquéd.  My whole quilt was done with prepared appliquéd with Mylar and starch.  I have tried back basting on some blocks since, but still prefer starch and glue on these small blocks.

I have gone on long enough this time.  Next time I will write about where all this has taken me.

Sew Having Fun,


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