Monday, February 18, 2008

Of borders and backings

Quilt top (on over-sized batting) you've seen before.

ME (on the phone with my Partner-In-Crime): I finished the quilt top for that baby quilt.
PIC: That's so exciting!
ME: Now I just have to figure out how to finish the whole thing.
PIC: That is not at all exciting.
ME: I know, right?
PIC: Right.
ME: Oh, shit. I think I have to make borders for it.
PIC: Why?
ME: Otherwise the blocks will just run right into the edge, and it'll look fucked up. And I think you're supposed to do it for stability maybe, too. I don't know.
PIC: What does the pattern say?
ME: There is no pattern, really. I just got the Rail Fence block pattern from this site that has a million quilt block patterns on it.
PIC: Hmm.
ME: And I wasn't really thinking about the borders part.
PIC: I don't know what to tell you.
ME: At first I was thinking I could just do the birthing thing and be done with it, like I did with that last baby quilt.

Finished baby quilt you've never seen before.

PIC: That looked really good. Do that.
ME: That was different, though. That was just two pieces of fabric stuck together, and this is a bunch of pieced blocks. I don't think it'll look right if I just sew the back to it.
PIC: But it would be quicker.
ME: Yes. It would. But--
PIC: You know what I'd do.
ME: Grrrr.

As you might imagine, I tried approximately twenty-nine solutions to this "finishing" dilemma, starting with trying to find the right fabric for the back of the quilt. I bought an orange-colored fabric and immediately hated it (too slippery), ordered an espresso-colored fabric (not slippery, but way too dark for a baby quilt), bought yet another fabric -- flannel this time ("too thin for quilts," said the Internet Genius Pool. Note: While I am very grateful for the IGP, I wish they'd been with me at the store. Woulda been nice, IGP, is all I'm saying).

I almost gave up at this point. Really. Almost.

But I kept at it.

I took lots of deep breaths and tried a different approach. Instead of focusing on the back of the quilt, which I just couldn't figure out, I tried to figure out the borders for the front.

OK. Now, this would be cute! The ruler is really cute for a kid -- kids like numbers, right? -- and the orange of the "64" will bring out the orange in the quilt! Yay!

Oh. Wait. That actually looks like shit.

ME (on the phone again. staring at the quilt): Dude. I cannot figure this out.
PIC: You'll figure it out. And it'll look great.
ME: Why are you mocking me? I am so going to ruin this whole thing.
PIC: You are not. Don't be ridiculous.
ME: You don't know. I could totally ruin all this work.
PIC: Good lord, lady.
ME: Grrrr.

My PIC is right about quite a few things in life. She is very clear that: (1) when stressed out, always consider directing the anger outward not inward ("Why suffer more?"), (2) when feeling twitchy, strongly consider using pharmaceuticals ("Why suffer more?"), and (3) when thinking you're going to ruin something, remember that you're not actually going to ruin anything ("It's crafting.").

I did, eventually, figure it out.

From each of the fabrics, I cut long strips that, when finished, would each be half the width of the strips in the main body of the quilt (finished strip widths were 2" in the blocks and 1" in the border).

And then -- riding the high of what appeared to be a border-making success -- I took that slippery orange fabric that I'd originally hated and birthed that quilt like no quilt had ever been birthed before.

And what do you know? I haven't ruined it yet.

(Please note: I still have to machine-quilt it. Still plenty of time for ruining. Er, I mean, directing my rage outward and taking some tranquilizers.)


bluecat said...

That was a great idea for the border. Its a pretty quilt. If I ever have a baby (so not in the picture now!) I'll have you make me a baby quilt.

Ashley said...

I love the border. Me, though, I'd tie it, with the birthing and all, so that I wouldn't end up with weird bubbles that can't be pushed out because the edges are already sewn up. But then, I don't have a waffle-making sewing machine. Or a crafty PIC, for that matter.

Stacey said...

what a great solution! see, it all worked out!!

Stella said...

I fully approve that solution. Crisp and pretty and coordinated and non-visually-confusing. I also admire your persistence, as I'm personally way to prone to go with my first idea purely out of laziness.

Felicia said...

The colors are beautiful and the ruler detail is groovy :)

Courtney said...

It looks great, you always figure it out. (I'm Courtney by the way...long time reader, new commenter. 'Sup.)

Kim said...

I too have a triple rail fence quilt that I did a triple border on it. I still have yet to sandwich and quilt it...

Rani said...

It's gorgeous! And the border is perfect. I haven't turned on my sewing machine in a very long time.

In fact, we were at Boyscouts last night and some kids asked my boys, "Why don't you have your patches on your shirt?" And I heard my oldest say, "My mom is scared of her sewing machine." From the mouths of babes.

Carol said...

Stop this instant! You will NOT ruin it. It will be fine. Just take you rtime and do it. BTW, I don't think an expresso coloured back would be too dark for a baby quilt. Just sayin'

Cactusneedles said...

I like the way you finished it! I think it looks great!

tiennie said...

It looks fabulous! You will not ruin it, silly girl.