Saturday, July 5, 2014

An evening at the pond

An evening at the pond
We have a word for it in our language – ‘munthirikottai’ – translated it means cashew nut but it refers to the habit of the nut coming ahead of the fruit. So anyone who is a eager beaver is called that. And that’s what I did when Madhu of Patchwork of my life asked for testers for her Block of the Month. Put up my hand – both hands perhaps. I had a fair idea of the complicated blocks she was planning so I was secretly turning pale ( a bit difficult for me as those who have seen me will tell you) but I was forcing myself to jump into those deep waters. Madhu is planning to drag all us quilters willy-nilly into deep waters and for us timid wannabe quilters that may be the only way.
Anyway, she offered very sweetly to send me an easy one – if this was meant to be easy then I guess I will have more grey hairs by the time I finish this BOM – and I got the evening at the pond. Flying geese circling a pond ready to settle for the evening – that was the block and it took me back to my most favourite book by James Michener – Chesapeake. The book starts with the migration of geese from Canada as winter approaches. They seek the warmer climes of the south and travel long and hard. Their formation is V-shaped to cut through the resistance as they face the wind and the Flying geese block was named so by quilters because of the V shape.

The block kept taking me back to the book and as I mulled over my fabric selection it seemed only right that I should use this fabric that had v-shaped prints. They looked like what else – flying geese of course. And powdery blue for the sky – the polka dots was the snow. Yes I did get carried away and that is because I have reread the book so many times. A dark grey to set the whole thing off perhaps or would white be better.

The block works up to 18” and the circle of geese 15”. The circle is paper pieced while the setting comes with a template.

Madhu’s instructions were to not cut the paper pieces on the cutting line but to leave a bit around. Yeah I know that I could have gone closer to the line but that’s me being safe rather than sorry. And so the geese came to the cutting board.

I had my doubts at this stage but just wait until they get trimmed.

And all done here. I loved it like this - just the geese flying forever in circles!

The pond then was next in line. It was paper pieces in the form of wedges, calling for scraps of course and it seemed that a snow-bound lake in shades of green, aquamarine flecked with snow and broken ice was the ideal choice. That was again an image from Michener!
Pieced they became this –

I  chain-pieced them of course and kept walking back and forth to the ironing board  and my cutting mat to press and trim between every piece. The next part was tricky. I had to join the wedges to the flying geese individually. I was reluctant to rip out the paper – wanted to get perfect seams, so I did some research and settled for ripping out small portions of the paper along the seam line. Machining it was still difficult so I hand-basted them and then took them to the machine.

I paired them up as per the paper piece numbers and the centre was almost done. Before completing the centre, I contemplated Madhu’s suggestion that I do the circle my way. Not that I found it but just followed it in a quilt! Interesting possibilities for a new quilt. The only problem was to find something to draw a 7.5” radius circle. Still looking for that all over my house. The biggest bucket (duly dried) seems to be the best option. 
 I decided to use Madhu's template and test that too. It was a touch awkward joining the frame this way and I am still not sure if it was meant to be done that way but I love this one mistakes and all!

Notes to self - Never, ever forget to reduce stitch length. Had to deal with some stitches coming apart when paper was ripped. And to start stitching a touch before the printed lines for the same reason. And practice techniques for joining the pieces.

So now you know you can also do it - check it out here and do the BOM. I am hoping to do all the blocks. keeping my fingers crossed.