Friday, September 9, 2016

When It's Super Hot Outside, How Do You Cope?

Living in the high desert of Southern California means that we have beautiful weather seven to eight months of the year and miserably hot weather the rest.  This year was a little different – I’m usually totally over summer by the end of May, but this year we had a real spring!  It stayed cool until around mid-June, so I wasn’t sick of summer until the end of June.  Doesn’t take me long.

We’ve had a couple of 100+ heat waves and now it’s settled back into the low to mid 90s for a couple of weeks, a welcome respite.  But I am ready for cooler weather and ready to think cool thoughts, so what did I decide to do to beat the heat?  Make a Christmas quilt and focus my thoughts on winter!

I ordered the “Christmas Cheer” kit from Craftsy; the pattern and fabric are from Robert Kaufman.  I just ordered it a couple of weeks ago; it was on sale and might be still available.  One comment I have to make about the pattern, though, is that it advises the quilter to sew on the various strips of border fabrics without measuring -- for instance, “Sew a Fabric C strip to either side of the quilt top & trim the excess.”  That’s not the way I roll!  I measure through the center, cut the borders to that exact length and then pin them to the quilt top, easing any fullness in as I go.  This is the method I teach in my Borders & Bindings classes and on my video of the same name and it ensures I get a flat professional looking quilt.  That particular directions problem aside, I liked the pattern and the fabrics and found it really easy to piece.  Started it the day before yesterday and will finish today; I would like to add it to the quilts I take everywhere with me and use it as an example of a medallion style quilt, meaning that when I do the machine quilting I will quilt it from the center out.

Here’s a picture of the pattern in the red/silver colorway that I purchased:

I happily put on border after border – there are 6 borders before you get to the final one – measuring, cutting, pinning and sewing away and everything is fitting perfectly and life is good.  Except – I’m not really crazy about those light colored cornerstones in the corners of the very last borders.  First of all, it’s my least favorite fabric of the group and there wasn’t enough there to fussy cut those cornerstones so that a pretty snowflake would end up there.  Second, I just thought it was too light and attention grabbing out there in that last border.  If it’s going to draw that much notice, it should be prettier.  So I sewed up the final borders for the sides and attached them on the quilt, then found a vacant space of floor and auditioned some other options.

Here’s what the quilt would look like with the cornerstones in the fabric that the kit directions indicated:

Then I grabbed some leftover four patches and striped squares from the pieced border, border 3:

Then I paired the same four patches with a different background fabric:

Next, the fourpatches are rotated – I think they look like little bows! – with those same striped squares:

Lastly, I put the print fabric from the second picture back in and arranged the four patches on top of it.  That’s what I decided to go with; the four patches reduced the brightness of the print and I like that.  Now to go make a few more four patches and cut some squares.  Next decision:  If you look carefully at the corners of that pieced border, you’ll see that they are rotated differently.  Top left and right have the red squares at the top left of the four patch while the bottom corners have the red in the top right position.  So I rotate the four patches to reflect that in the final border?  Or make them all look like bows? 

Hmmmm……I’ll let you know when I complete it and post the pic later!

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