Tuesday, December 29, 2015


 WELL - Christmas 2015 came and went quilting with my sister, Robin.  She came in from Arkansas and brought a few jelly rolls.  She said she wanted to "whip up" a quick 1600 inch quilt for a friend.  Great idea, but I couldn't let it go at just a 1600 inch quilt in straight lines - no - not me.  She thought she was going to sit down and sew a whole bunch of strips together and Ta Da! an instant quilt!
Right. Like I am going to let that happen? No - I just had to put my two cents in and I convinced her if she was going to make a 'strip' quilt, to at least put a little style into it.  I showed her some photos from Pinterest and she relented to a "V" strip quilt.  That's when the fun started.

FIRST - she explained she had no pattern. I told her to just sew strips together on the diagonal.  I forgot that although she is a fantastic garment sewer, she doesn't know that much about making quilts. I think that was a mistake. She had no concept of what a rectangle should look like made out of fabric strips.

EASY, I said. Just like this . . . and I printed out a diagram and taped it to the window above the sewing machine. Just sew them at a slant.  I soon found out beginners have issues just sewing strips together, let alone on the diagonal. Turned out this whole idea wasn't the best thought out idea I've had.

So, here's a picture of the diagram from which I figured she could get the idea after I sewed the first couple of strips into the beginning block.

I thought this shouldn't be too hard. Easy Peasy. Forgot - forgot -forgot!

First, this is a classy style for a jelly roll. Shouldn't take too long and we can visit and get other Christmas stuff done. I realized it was off-center (which I carefully explained added an artistic element to a quilt).  and I figured she could just start it and when she got about so far, I would whack it off on the sides creating a left and right edge. The whining started about that time, but continued for 3 days! The sounds coming from my sewing room were awful. She kept telling me she knew how to sew (and she really, really does!), all the time explaining she also knew what a rectangle looked like, but this was no rectangle.  "Don't worry" I promised her, "It'll be a rectangle soon."
Less whining and more sewing. Jeeze!

I soon realized beginner's PULL on their fabric something awful. If you add the 'diagonal' component to that - I can only describe it as a mess.  She kept whining it was never going to stop and it was going to go on forever. I gave her a left edge to make one side shorter, but that didn't help a lot with the fussiness. While I like scraps quilts and their originality, beginners tend towards matching and coordinating. So, she spent a lot of time selecting WHICH colors should go where out of a jelly roll! Oh Boy!

I wasn't standing over her since I had things to do, too. She kept pulling those strips and telling me she was going to be sewing forever. When I looked at what she was doing, she was pulling, pushing, and stretching the poor strips into an un-Godly shape! Ultimately, I could only listen to her sewing and whining for so long, and here is what she ended up with AFTER I whacked off the left and right side. Can you see where this went wrong?

Not bad. We can work with that. Of course, not as long as I would like to see it - but let's face it: there was no way I was going to get another whiney row out of her!

So. . .  a little trimming, a little quilting, and a whole lot of stroking (both sis and the quilt), she finally ended up with the  photo at top.

The PHOTO at the top of this post is the great Christmas Quilt on a bed with the binding. Not bad for 3 days of Quilting at Christmas! Now, do you think she is going to ask to do this again?
We'll see. She's back in Arkansas trying to forget (probably involves alcohol), I'm sure.

What's the moral to this story? Think twice before offering to quilt with your sister at Christmastime. Don't try 'thinking outside the box' with a beginner - they don't get it.

Higgly-Piggly scrap quilts work great for some, but a lot of beginners don't see quilts the same as an experienced quilter.
Sewing with my sister - would I do it again? YOU BET!
REMEMBER - it's not just the final quilt - IT'S THE JOURNEY WE ENDURED!

I had a great time and I think after a little time to heal, she will agree with me?
AND HERE IT IS FINISHED and given to her friend!! I still think she should have made it longer-don't you agree?

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