Out of My Comfort Zone
This weekend I took this pile of fabric scraps and strips and worked on a new project for my curves class.
Last week’s lesson focused on improv curves. Improvisation is not a strength of mine. Just ask my friends who have played games with me. I do not do very well without precise directions. However, Rachel was great in showing us the essential techniques and guidelines that one needs to do improv curves. So, here are a few things I learned:
Reading directions multiple times is always a good idea. I read them once earlier in the week and then did not really consult them again until halfway through the piecing. I kinda missed the part where she says to press the seams open. I pressed all mine to the side and that may have had an effect on how the project came together, though I am not certain. I used a bunch of tonal solid scraps. Most of them were 4 inches in length instead of the 5 called for in the instructions. This meant that my curves were skinner. I was ok with this, though, because our dining table is narrow and long.
I loved the stained glass effect of the project before the quilting step. It was tempting to stop here, especially since I had already spent 5 hours on this project that was only supposed to take 3-4.
Have faith and persevere. About halfway through this project I really thought I was going to regret it. The curves were not coming together and I thought maybe it would look really random and bad. I was regretting using some of my most favorite bits of fabric. I also spend a couple of hours just fiddling around with the curvy strips and trying to make them fit together, which leads to
Do not be afraid of the seam ripper. I used the seam ripper more during this project than in my entire sewing career so far. Partly this is because my curves were so curvy that I had to take some of it apart and make it less curvy in order to sew them together and also because I wanted to make the runner as long as possible.
Follow your instincts. I started quilting this with straight lines in ditch for the sashing and found that any little bit of veering made it look not so great. Instead of trying to stitch in the ditch of my curves (my original idea), I decided to just quilt curvy lines down the length of the runner, beginning and ending at the edges of the curved strips.
All in all, I am pleased with the way it turned out and happy that I stuck with the project until the end. The finished runner is about 14″ by 56″. I did a lot of extra piecing to try to make the center portion as wide and long as possible. I am especially happy with the back and the binding. This project has a lot of my favorite fabrics in it and it was scary to cut them up and use them on something I wasn’t sure I would like. It just goes to show that if you love the materials, chances are you will love the finished product also.