Well, the top is. And the back gets done today.
It has been intensely satisfying to finish this quilt. We traveled such a distance from our initial dislike of the saris we received, through growing appreciation of the look of small bits of the fabrics cut from the whole juxtaposed with other small bits, to the first WOW! moment when the first green strip was assembled, to growing excitement and eagerness to see the whole thing put together. And then it was done. And it worked. And we love it!
I love this woman. She hardly speaks English and she struggles at the machine. But she's learning.
I practiced a few new things yesterday while working on a quilt square for my guild Block in a Bag project.
-Using spray starch before cutting. You can make your own spray starch from corn starch and water. Spraying your fabric with it before cutting makes cutting more precise and also makes sewing those small pieces more stable. Here's the recipe I used. Such a simple, useful trick.
-Chain piecing. This wasn't new to me, but I haven't done it much. It really does make putting blocks together faster and is so easy to do. It also eliminates that ornery bunching that sometimes happens at the beginning of a new seam. The link is very helpful so if you want to learn how to do this, read it!
-Using a stiletto to guide pieces through the machine. Like this. (Not the best video out there. She needed to move her hand so you can actually see the stiletto. I've seen someone else do this in a teaching video but can't find the link ... but you get the idea). I've done this a couple of times. The first time I tried it I used a dissecting probe. Are you saying "YUCK!" It was well cleaned, I assure you and hadn't touched a pig intestine for a couple of years. But I digress ... Yesterday, I used a #2 bamboo double pointed knitting needle and that worked just fine, too. A little more aesthetically pleasing, perhaps.
These techniques and tools are old hat for seasoned quilters. I've been making quilts for three and a half years now and I love that there is so much to learn. I suppose if I'd taken a class back when I started, I'd have learned these tips and tricks long ago, but hey, there were pig intestines to dissect back then so I'm a little slow to the party.
And for reading this week:
I finished So Brave, Young and Handsome. I really, really liked it. There was redemption for Glendon. Monte didn't get back home, but it was OK. This exchange sealed the deal for me:
"You are so different," she said.
I didn't try to explain that. You can't explain grace, anyway, especially when it arrives almost despite yourself. I didn't even ask for it, yet somehow it breached and began to work. I suppose grace was pouring over Glendon, who had sought it so hard, and some spilled down on me."Little Daughter by Zoya Phan is next. Phan was an ethnic Karen refugee from Burma and now lives in London. This is her memoir.