Sunday, September 23, 2007

Directions? We Don't Need No Stinking Directions!

The NSW Quilters' Guild has a members' challenge every year. The theme this year is Looking Forward : Looking Back. It's been a while since I did one of these challenges, so I thought I'd give it a go. I was on a roll -- I'd finished my journal quilt and posted it off to Houston with time to spare. I grabbed two patterned FQs and a bundle of co-ordinating hand-dyed FQs from my stash and I was good to go.

I took a class from Quilt University and learned to make structured fabric by weaving strips together and using iron-on interfacing to hold it together while sewing and adding additional strips to make a fabric that looks like a tartan (plaid).

I wasn't happy with the fusible interfacing I had used while taking the class so thought I'd try again but using water-soluble stabiliser instead.

So, I wove the strips ...

... and sewed the edges to the stabiliser.

I noticed that the longer the stabiliser was out of the plastic bag that it wasn't lying as flat. I guess that it had started to absorb some of the moisture in the air after the rain during the last couple of months. This caused the woven fabric strips, that were flat when I wove them, to pull in and pucker. But faint heart never won fair lady, so I kept going.

BTW, that is what they call 'foreboding' in literary circles.

Next, I found some flat braid at Lincraft that went with the green and orange in the print fabric and sewed them on the diagonals. First orange, then green going the other way so that they crossed in the squares of the patterned fabric.

OK, now it was time to get rid of that stabiliser. So I dunked the structured fabric into a sink full of water, rinsed it out well and hung it up to dry. And it dried alright ... and the flat braid shrank as it dried. The drier it got, the more the braid shrank. So, instead of being relatively flat, quilt top looked more like Galloping Gertie.

It doesn't look to bad when you are looking at it from above ...

... but it's another story when you check out its profile.

There is a size restriction for this challenge and this piece was just about the right width when I started. Shrinking in any form was not going to be a good thing. The Guild Quilt Police may let me off with a warning if it's a centimetre or two too small, but somehow I don't think they'll be too impressed with my topographical map in three or more dimensions.

So, after I stopped using some rather colourful language (which I won't repeat here), HRH suggested that I iron it once it was dry. She's not just a pretty face, that girl. So I did. I ironed the bejezus out of it with a very hot iron. Front and back. Let it cool and did it again. And I think that it is looking a bit better.

I've just realised that the braid was supposed to divide the printed fabric into squares and not into triangles. Well, I haven't been following the direction so far. Probably a bit late to start now.

Damn the directions ... full speed ahead!

Just for a change, I thought I'd lay out the next couple of layers to see where I'm likely to end up. Here are the brown strips ...

... and the next layer after that with the green and orange strips.

It doesn't look too bad but I wouldn't make book that it will turn out looking like this. With the Friday deadline looming, time to stop blogging and start sewing.

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