Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Storm at Sea is not a Sailor's Delight

I finished a couple more blocks for the corners of the pixel quilt. 

I thought I was going to get all three of the remaining blocks done. Do you see what colour I am typing in? Red, as in "I was so angry I saw red." Well, maybe not angry, just frustrated. But right now I'm not sure where the line is between angry and frustrated. I wanted 4 quilting blocks with a nautical theme for the corners of the pixel quilt. I had already chosen Ocean Waves, Storm at Sea and Sailor's Delight, but wasn't sure about the fourth one. Then I found Lighthouse Tower on Jinny Beyer's website. Jinny does some incredibly complex quilt blocks, but I guess I just didn't look carefully enough. I think it might even beat Lena's Choice for complexity. No, on second thought, I do believe Lena's Choice was even more difficult. I think it's just that with everything going on in my life right now, I really wasn't patient enough for a block this complex. I got this far:
But when I started assembling it, it just wasn't going together well at all. Sixteen Y-seams. Yes, that's right - 16. And I didn't want to do them. Add to that the fact that I hadn't bothered using the templates provided, except for one. I'd rather just measure and cut than fiddle with templates. And that had worked fine for the Storm at Sea block. But the problem was, most of the measurements for the Lighthouse Tower were rather bizarre, like 'not quite' 8-1/4", or 'slightly over' 1-7/8". Really hard to be precise unless you use templates. And precision is very important with a block like this. I was so frustrated that I fed the template printout sheet through the shredder. Well, now that I've had a chance to cool down, I realize that it really was my fault: first for choosing such a complicated block to begin with and second, for not being more careful with cutout and assembly. Maybe I shall try it again some day, but not now. I don't need the extra stress. Meanwhile I've decided to try the Time & Tide quilt block from 365 Fun-To-Stitch Quilt Blocks. And this time I intend to use the templates!
Time & Tide is similar to Cynthia Ann Dancing, a block I drafted from Jinny Beyer's book, The Quilter's Album of Blocks and Borders, and then created templates for it. It only required 2 templates and that was great. And it turned out much better than Lighthouse Tower! LOL!
I also used 365 Fun-to-Stitch Quilt Blocks as my guide for the Storm at Sea block.
Like Lighthouse Tower, I only used one template - the one for the diamond because it was too difficult to get the right size and shape without one. I have so many funky-angled quilting rulers that I didn't figure I needed templates. I even have one with the correct angle for the end points on the diamonds, but trying to get a diamond shape from a triangular ruler was more than I wanted to think about. Storm at Sea was my consolation prize because at least I'm happy with how it turned out. 
I'm not so happy with Sailor's Delight:
Sailor's Delight is a block from Craftsy's Quick Strip Paper Piecing Class. I am happy with how it looks, but, because so much of it is bias cut, I ended up with a wavy block. And I don't mean wavy as in ocean waves, but wavy fabric. And that in spite of the fact that I used spray starch on each section before I assembled the block. 
Sailor's Delight Sections after Starching
Maybe I should have starched the fabric strips before doing the paper piecing. Hopefully I can quilt the ripples out. In spite of the waviness, I'm quite happy with this class so far. In addition to this block, I also completed the Dreamweaver Quilt for my daughter.
Well, it's time to head for bed. No more quilting for tonight.