Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Retreat - Day 3

Usually by Saturday of retreat, I'm sailing through projects or my brain is stuck. Plans were to use the morning to work out and cut the pieces for the bee block I'm responsible for this month. It's a Carol Doak paper pieced pattern with four sections.

Since I am the first one to make this block for the bee, I decided I would do the math and make templates for cutting. Then everyone else could use what I figured out if they so choose. And it would make it easier on me, too. It just took me forever.

I never got to making the block at retreat, but I did finish it last night in time for bee tomorrow.

One of the projects I took to work on was my first-year president's blocks quilt border. I had designed a paper-pieced pattern based on the cover quilt of a book I bought in Japan a few years ago. Members were to use Asian fabric in the block and also turn in a 9" block of the same fabric for me to use in the border. I put the blocks together last year at retreat.

I found the perfect pattern for the border blocks in this book and found a great technique in this book. The trick was figuring out how to cut my 9-inch blocks of matching Asian fabrics so the resulting border piece would equal the width of one of the blocks. And I couldn't cut anything until I was sure because I really didn't have any squares to spare.

My first calculation had me using a 1.6666...." cut. I don't have a ruler that has markings in thirds (as if one existed,) so my math next yielded the measurement of 1 and 13.3/16". How's that for a measurement? By this time, people were looking at me as if I had lost my mind. I heard "Just use 0.75" and call it a day," more than once.
But I was not convinced. So next I borrowed what I call "junk" fabric to make some samples before I cut (no insult intended toward the friend who loaned me the fabric.) The final cut was 1.875" strips and I would have to watch my seam allowance.

I barely scraped by with the black fabric I bought a few years ago and got all the Asian bits cut and sewn to the black. All I have to show for the entire day and evening are two blocks.

I got the biggest chuckle late in the day listening to my friend Gail sitting in front of me quilting on a beach themed quilt. As she worked out shapes of sea life and shells, I heard her say, "Ah, it's the newly discovered bulbous nosed dolphin only seen at Camp McDowell." "What animal do I want to screw up now?" and "This shell looks like a hamburger bun." She wasn't really talking to anyone but herself and maybe you had to be there, but I found it really funny.

Retreat chairmen Ruth Ann and Jan got enough really fun door prizes for everyone this year. I usually come away with a new rotary blade or a tape measure or the like which is fine. But this year I have to say I scored big. Look at the jelly roll I won - Cotton Blossoms by Moda.

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