Friday, February 24, 2012

Fixing a non-flat quilt

"Easing in" creates hilly quilts. Easing is necessary when stitching curves, but the phrase, "Just ease it in," strikes terror to my heart when it is recommended for rectangular pieces that should fit without easing. If I cut my pieces and stitch my seams accurately, I will not have to ease.

This log cabin quilt top (without the borders) was discovered in the church quilts-for-kids donation bin. Oh, good - easy project. I can finish this in a day, I thought. I took it home, added borders from my stash, laid it out on the table, and found a mountain range in front of me. It was so discouraging that I put it back on the shelf for six months. Last week I pulled it out and prepped it for becoming a quilt, laying out the backing, the batting, and the top. I tugged, pulled, and finally decided the quilt would have to have darts (!) in it to flatten it out. I would just cover the darts with applique, I thought. I went to Joann's and bought a half-yard of puppy-printed fleece. I'd cut out the puppies for the applique, and not only would the cute puppies cover the darts, they'd be nice and fuzzy.

The more I thought about it, the more the dart idea seemed like a bad one. I got out my seam ripper (sigh) and unstitched all (double sigh) the log cabin blocks down to their centers, while watching screechy singers on American Idol get standing ovations. I restitched the blocks, trimmed them so they were all the same size (no easing needed, see?), sewed them together, and voila! The quilt was perfectly flat, no easing, no hills, easy to quilt, no tucks or gathers. No puppies needed.

But when I stood back and looked at the finished quilt. It seemed a little somber for kids. The puppy appliques now seemed like a great idea. I fused on five fuzzy puppies (fusing is not easy with fleece, but I did it primarily for basting, so a good solid fuse was not needed), added free-motion reinforcement on the edges, and now I'm happy. On to the next non-flat fix-a-quilt project.

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