Thursday Throwback – there’s always a way

I’m not sure why, but this blog post has taken almost as long to birth it as April the giraffe – without the video cam. I am as fascinated as the rest of the world, but I can’t help feel like we’re putting a little pressure on her collectively.

This is a thank you to the girlfriend squad over on my Facebook page who responded to a query last week about a favorite go to jelly roll strip pattern. I loved the ideas (some of them were new names to me – Lasagne quilt?) – and most of all I loved the responses to my plea for help.  Quilters have always been generous souls, and this was yet another example of that fact.

So, let’s start at the beginning – my March 1 draw for the #APQresolution was (just like everyone else’s) # 12 – tagged on my sheet as the Hoffman Jelly roll project.  This is THE jelly roll that I absolutely adore – so much so that I’ve bought it 3 different times (discovered in the Great Sewing Room Clean out of January ’13) when I actually put all my precuts in one place.  I actually destashed one of them to a quilty friend, and then I made a tote bag (left – it’s the Hadleigh bag when we have her) with some of the remainder. I have a lot of fabric left, and when I made up my list for the #APQresolution challenge, this was a natural addition to the 2017 list.

My only issue with this  project (and it’s me, not them!), is that I didn’t put all my projects for 2017 into my list. I’ve not counted new designs, or class samples, or anything else.  As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t invent sewing time. When the lottery drew this number, I looked at what I already have committed to doing – and promptly freaked out.  I have 2 other quilty projects due by the end of this month and neither of them made the list.  So besides the overload, I didn’t have an idea in the world as to what to do – you probably heard my whining all the way from NH. One of those two quilts is another once in a lifetime quilt – for my soon to be here grandson – I won’t rush through that one!

Then I took a breath, and claimed the term rebel. If the goal of the list is to reduce the number of UFOs in the closet, then the number is a tool to accomplish that goal – but not the only tool.  I took another look at the list, and made an ‘executive decision’ to swap in my #4, my Take 4 placemats.

You may, dear reader, be wondering why placemats wound up on my UFO list…really, how hard can they be?

It’s an easy pattern, and I brought it, and the fabric to a guild retreat several years ago – one where I was juggling way too much on my plate, and packed too much to do in one weekend. I could do a whole blog post on how to pack realistically for a retreat, but I digress.  I decided to make the mats, and to use a piped binding technique to finish it off.  I pieced the 4 mats, then tried the technique on the first one.  I flubbed it, and spent an hour ripping it out.  Remember, they’re placemats.

Asked for help, tried again, more ripping.

Dinner (and the requisite before dinner cocktail hour)

I tried again after dinner, and I flubbed it again. Rather than simply make another one and give it up, I took my rotary cutter and applied it (with all my frustrations) to that poor placemat. I’m pretty sure I scared the onlookers – a crazed woman with a rotary cutter can be scary.

The next morning, I pulled out something else, and quietly pieced it until it was time to go. Truthfully, no one dared mention what had happened the night before, but the trash had been emptied. There was no evidence.

For the next several years, I picked up the remaining package of 3 mats (plus extra fabrics) and moved it several times. I even brought it with me to a few sewing nights – but somehow, they always seemed too tough for me to finish.

So this year, I pulled on my big girl pantaloons and put the project on the list. I toyed with the idea of making a set of 2, and doing something with the extra mat, but last Friday night, I put on some quiet music in the sewing room, and pulled the project out.

In 15 minutes, I had the 4th mat replicated; in a half hour, I had fused each of them to a Craf-Tex foundation.  By that point, I figured I could conquer the world, but I decided to invoke that age old addage “done is good” and made a plain vanilla bias binding.

Voila!

My Placemats are done!

Done – and it’s a pattern I would make again, with much less drama – like maybe finish it in a weekend or something.

I’ve not yet tackled a piped binding (when they are shown at open sew, I do admire them)…maybe that’s something for another time.

If you’re wondering what I will do with #12 (which is still on my list!), I have decided to play with Jaybird’s Boomerang pattern once again – the fabrics are really this beautiful, and if I resize the directions one more time, I can do this – hopefully in a short month.

The fabric on the left is from the last time I played with Boomerang…and I’ll tell you that story in the next blog post. This is beginning to read like War and Peace.

Until next time…

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