Sunday, May 6, 2007

Mt. Everest Without a Guide

No one can claim I'm not adventurous. I'm typically terrified of new adventures, but I try them anyway. Another personality characteristic is that I'm not patient. I really want to take a quilting class, but it seems I'm destined not to.

After having no success finding a class in Austin throughout the entire month of April, I checked the Salado quilt shop and saw that they had a class on the 2nd Saturday in May. Since that was only a week away, I thought that would be fine. I would be willing to drive the 50 or so miles each way for the full-day class. I called the Saturday before the class to see if space was still available. "Oh," the woman on the phone calmly informed me, "we moved that class to today. I guess we forgot to change it on our web site." Since it was nearly noon and I had missed almost half the class, I didn't even contemplate speeding to Salado to try to catch the class. I also managed to avoid screaming into the phone.

Instead, I contemplated my small but lovely collection of fabric. I don't have a quilting wall or a flannel board, so I just laid the various fabrics out on the floor of my craft room (after clearing a space on the floor, of course. I'm also not terribly organized). I found a combination of hand-painted and commercial fabrics that I really liked. Sadly, I pondered how I might create a quilt top if only I had some instruction. Then I thought, what the heck, and I started to do it anyway. I knew that I wanted the quilt to be usable, and so the yarn flower stem I had used for the design layout would need to be replaced with fabric. I didn't like any of the fabric I had on hand, so I headed to the fabric store. I found a beautiful batik that had colors similar to the yarn, so I bought some of that. I also bought what I hoped would be enough solid black fabric for the backing.

I started by making sure the center, orangish panel was even. I cut borders from the the blue & green dyed "landscape" fabric and sewed those onto the center panel. I turned the edges under on the 3 strips (the blue at the top of the center panel, the green to the left, and the orange to the right), then sewed those onto the panel with straight top-stitching.

I created the floral stem from the batik by cutting a thin strip, ironing under the edges, and stitching it onto the panel. Originally, I had intended to create the flower by cutting petals from white fabric. I started looking at the batik, though, and saw floral petals in it, so I cut those out and fused them onto the panel. I cut and attached the purple dragonfly border and coordinating purple squares in the corners, then attached a black border. I scattered a few more batik "petals" on the black border by fusing them and then free-motion zig-zag stitching them. I applique-stitched around the flower in the center of the panel. Whew. I was ready to create my sandwich and start quilting.

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