Tuesday, March 11, 2008

About a UFO

Last summer I decided to make a turning twenty quilt. I was in the midst of hand quilting a rather large baby quilt and I was also handpiecing a fun but rather fussy project. I imagined a project with long straight seams and no points to match would be a kind of relief to work on.

I bought the Turning Twenty book. I bought some beautiful fabric. And I decided ahead of time to limit the color palette, since I thought the fabric was so beautiful I wanted it to take the center stage, rather than the pattern block.

I cut, I sewed, I was....underwhelmed.

The blocks, when put together were just sort of blah. I rearranged. Still blah, now rapidly turning into blech. Re-rearrange. Still blech. No matter what I did, the thing would not be right.

I was really disappointed, and I was mad at myself because what had started out as a simple no-brainer kind of project had turned into what looked to me like a giant waste of time and, I might add, a great deal of fabric. I still loved the fabric--and I seriously considered taking the whole thing apart and just doing something else with it.

But I didn't. I just put the whole mess in a bag and stuck it in the corner of my sewing room unofficially designated as the UFO corner.

Then, this January my guild started a UFO finishing challenge. We picked out 12 UFO's, decided on what we could reasonably accomplish in a month on each one, then promised to do it or pay up small fee dedicated to buying fabric and materials for charity quilts. I put my turning twenty on my list (WAY down on my list).

Well, this month the TT's number came up and I took out the blocks to see what I could do. Sitting in a corner for six months hadn't improved it. Still blah, still blech. Then it occurred to me that the reason I didn't like it was that the blocks were too large. There was just too much of everything. It also occurred to me that since the blocks are asymmetrical it might be interesting to see what kinds of shapes I would get if I cross-cut each block. I tried folding blocks and sticking them up on the wall to see what would happen.

And then I saw it. With an asymmetrical block like this, if you cut each block diagonally BOTH ways, the four quarters are ALL different. Instead of big puddles of color that just sit there and don't move, I could recombine the blocks and have surprising little splashes of color here and there.

So, I have been cutting and cutting. This TT project is getting more and more enjoyable. There are all sorts of possibilities in joining the finished blocks together.

Stay tuned. I need to finish this before the end of the month!


Marita said...

This looks interesting! Keep us posted as the project moves forward, please :)
How many blocks have you made before cutting?

Quiltdivajulie said...

What an absolutely marvelous idea! When I need/want a no-brainer project, I prefer Yellow Brick Road to TT (for the same reasons you mentioned - too much color in one place, large blocks, not enough movement).

Really looking forward to seeing your re-combined quartered blocks!!

atet said...

What a great way to turn a UFO you weren't thrilled with into a fun project to work on. I can't wait to see how this one turns out!