Monday, January 28, 2019

I Cut It Twice and it's Still Too Short: Let's Pretend I Meant to Do That

I should not have set foot in my sewing room at all yesterday.  If there was such a thing as a Quilter's Horoscope, mine for yesterday would have said "Avoid rotary cutters and scissors at all costs!  Spend the day looking at other people's quilts on Pinterest and Instagram!"

New Emergency Plan for Outer Borders: Pieced Corner Squares
So you may remember that I had my outer striped border print strips already seamed together along the stripe line, ready to be cut to size and attached to my quilt top with mitered corners.  I sat down to do the math after church yesterday, using the same instructions from the same book I used to do the mitered corners on the borders around the medallion for this quilt, but when I got to the part where I was supposed to pin the first border strip to the quilt I discovered that I'd cut the strip too short to do a miter.  I went back to check my calculations, and this is what I saw -- in my own handwriting:

63 1/2" minus 1/2" equals 62"??!

I swear, you guys -- I wasn't even drinking!!  Ugh...  It took me SO LONG to cut those border stripes single layer along the stripes and piece them together to get the borders the way I wanted them, and I cut ALL FOUR of them too short.  I didn't have enough of that border print to start over, and I'm pretty sure I can't get any more of it, either.  And of course I don't want to order fabric and then wait for it -- I want this project DONE already!!

Well, there's no use crying over spilled milk or butchered borders, is there?  A bunch of different ideas occurred to me and were abandoned for whatever reason, and I decided to make pieced corner blocks from the scraps I'd trimmed away from my pieced border lengths.  And here's where my EQ8 software came in handy yet again: My pieced border stripe finishes at 3 3/8" wide, so I needed my corner blocks to finish at 3 3/8" square.  My quarter square triangle ruler has lines printed in quarter inch increments, not eighths, and I wasn't going to be able to cross-cut an oversize square like you'd do in regular rotary cutting.  I also wanted to fussy cut those stripes to create the effect I wanted, so I decided to make myself a see-through template and cut these odd-size triangles out the old school way.

One of the cool things about EQ8 software, and why I recommend it for EVERY quilter even if you have no desire to ever design a quilt in your life, is that the software allows you to print out any of over 6,700 different blocks in any size your heart desires, either as foundation paper piecing patterns, traditional piecing templates, applique templates, or rotary cutting charts.  If you add the additional Blockbase (which works as a standalone piece if you just want to print patterns and don't want to invest in the full software package), that gives you an additional 4,300+ block patterns to choose from.  All copyright free, just about every block you can imagine, and you can easily make it whatever weird size you need in order to fix the border you cut too small... 

I located the 4-X block I wanted from the EQ8 Block Library.  This is one of those basic blocks that is already included as a default option in the Project Sketchbook when you create a new project:

I selected the block I wanted and clicked the Edit button, which brought up the Block Worktable screen:

Then all I needed to do was change the finished width and height of the block from 6.000" x 6.000" to 3.875" x 3.875" for my 3 3/8" corner block.  I clicked the Print & Export tab at the top of the screen next and printed a paper template for this resized block, and then I traced the paper template onto gridded template plastic since I wanted to fussy-cut my pieced stripe.  If I didn't need to see through my template, I would have just printed directly onto cardstock and saved the step of tracing.  Ta-da!

Odd Sized Quarter Square Triangle Template Printed from EQ8, Traced Onto Gridded Template Plastic
Next I just traced my template onto the pieced border stripe and cut each one out with a scissors, like the quilters used to do in Ye Olden Days...

Fussy Cutting Quarter Square Triangles From Pieced Border Stripe
And of course, I was cutting these triangles out of the SCRAP pieces I'd cut off when I cut my borders down to the (wrong) size, right?  RIGHT?!!!

-- WRONG!!!  AAARRRGH!!!  In yesterday's brain fog, it wasn't enough that I cut all four border strips too short to be mitered.  I grabbed one of my actual borders and started cutting triangles out of it, thinking it was a scrap.  I cut three triangles out of my border before I noticed that it was an AWFULLY long scrap...

Okay, so this was a really upsetting discovery to make, but I dug around in the studio and found that I did have a long, skinny scrap of the border print left, enough to make one more replacement pieced border.  There is not enough fabric left for any more mistakes!!  So today I've got some interior design work to catch up on in my office, and then I'll be heading up to the studio this afternoon to hopefully get these borders done and this quilt top finished once and for all!

Four Pieced Corner Blocks, Ready To Go
I have to admit, though -- I think I like my accidental corner blocks better than I would have liked the mitered corners I had originally planned for this border.  Aren't they cute?  They remind me of carved millwork rosettes like these:

Rosette Ornament for Woodworking from Decorator's Supply
One more photo, to give you an idea of how the scale of my corner blocks relates to the rest of the quilt top:

My Happy Accidents
Love, love, love!  All's well that end's well -- and this quilt top DOES need to come to an end today!!  

Meanwhile, back to work!  I'm linking up with:


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I hope it works out - I like the way those look

Lynette said...

Whoa!! These mitered cornerblocks are fabulous! Sometimes mistakes are serendipitious, because the fix is so superb. Certainly the case here. Your technical work on them is meticulous, too. Perfect matchings. :) Great fix on the tree block, too.

Chris said...

When all is said and done, I really like you nails.
But seriously, it looks amazing this way.

Ramona said...

Rebecca Grace, you get an A+++ for perseverance with this quilt! If I had had all of the issues you've had, I'm not sure it would still be in my house. It is going to be STUNNING with your new design. What a great idea making those gorgeous cornerstones. Here's to a calm and no nonsense finish!

chrisknits said...

OMG!!! It is perfect! What a way to end up with the perfect mistake.

Quilter Kathy said...

No use crying over botched borders! Your corner blocks are lovely!
And your nails are very pretty too!

Louise said...

The road to those perfect corner blocks was paved with a bit of cursing, I'm guessing! Glad you ended up with something you love so much. It really does look great :)

time4stitchn said...

Charlotte does not have the many layers of snow in Wisconsin. But it does have a beautiful Christmas quilt. Sorry for your adjustments; you have had this waiting so long to finish. It will still be amazing!

Jenny K Lyon said...

I love your "mistake"!

Susie H said...

Wow! For it being all "wrong" that day, you sure ended up "right"!!! I absolutely love your cornerstones and the peek at your quilt had my oooooh-ing & aaaaaaahing!

Tracie @ Riceford Streams said...

Oh, the agony and the ecstasy! I’m so glad you were able to achieve an even better outcome. Dang those brain-fog moments — or in my case, general math phobia.

Rebecca said...

Love the fix!!!
Among other things in my world we call that "Design on the fly"
cause your doing it in the moment and only you and the fly on the wall know that it was not intended to be that way. Ok You and the 500 readers you share it with

Janice said...

Now that is the sign of a creative mind. When you can turn mistakes into victories!