Saturday, May 19, 2007

The 'Libby-style' can get a girl into trouble. Luckily for me, I have lived with Libby my entire life and can usually figure out a way to get her out of a jam.
I like to just get in there and get to work. I don't normally spend a huge amount of time trying to figure out to get to the end result . . . I just go. It has always been this way. When I was around 12, I wanted to bake cookies - from scratch. I found a recipe that included ingredients we had in the cupboard. I called my mom for permission. Then I got to work.
I started at the beginning of the ingredients list, carefully measured each one and added it to my mixing bowl in it's turn. When the ingredients were all assembled in my bowl, I began reading the body of my recipe where I discovered that they were not all to be in the same bowl yet. Yikes!
About that time, Mom came in and discovered the huge mistake I had made. Having grown up during the depression, she was none too pleased at the thought of possibly wasting all of those ingredients. With tears in my eyes, I worked and worked on that mess in the bowl until I finally got it to look like cookie dough. They baked up just fine and they were delicious, too. Crisis averted.
Fast forward 35 years . . .
As I was surfing around the internet looking for the book and the special ruler, I came across this free pattern by the same designer. I studied it for a bit and realized that if I became 'one' with the 30 and 60 degree lines on my rulers here, I could probably make these quilts. I could get some instant gratification while waiting for the book with the Serendipity patterns.
In true 'Libby-style,' I just dove right in, selected my fabric and got ready to cut. My sensible side took over at the last moment and I pulled a couple of scraps and did a test strip first. Not to be a waster of good fabric, you'll see the evidence of the test strip in the second photo.
It was like magic - 2, yes TWO quilts at one time. What fun.
Clearly studying the pattern and making a test strip was not enough to keep me from making a mess. The pattern clearly shows that 2 separate and distinct quilts can be made from one set of strips. Following the instructions, I cut the strips, sewed the strips and re-cut the strips at the proper angle. Going to my 'design floor' I carefully laid out my pieces according to the diagram.
That's when it all began to fall apart. I decided I didn't like the look of the pieces laid out in the pinwheel pattern so I rearranged them to form the hexagon. But wait, I was supposed to get to different quilts from the strips. I rearranged the pieces in the other set to be the pinwheel. Those are the pictures that I shared in my previous blog.
I started sewing. I chose the pieces of the new hexagon to piece first. Why? Because they were closer to the door on the 'design floor.' A shorter distance to walk to my machine. I stitched up the first row and had a look. There wasn't a single point that was anywhere near were it should be. (Let me point out here that I avoid pinning if I can. Surprised? I didn't think so.) I picked the seams apart and restitched them using pins to make the points connect as they should. I had the largest seams you have ever seen.
I looked at my pieces and determined that I could trim down the blocks before I stitched them together, reduce a lot of bulk and have a much more pleasing result in the end. During all the time I was trimming and all the time I was stitching, I mulled over and over in my head how this went wrong. I decided that it must have to do with not having the proper tool to make the cuts. The pattern was designed to use a particular tool. Yeah - that was the problem . . . It couldn't be me. When all the the trimming and assembly was done, the result was this cute little top.

Now on to the next problem. Another set of pieces waiting to be stitched. How would I figure out how much to trim from those pieces to make them fit? I spied the pattern on my sewing table out of the corner of my eye. I noticed that it clearly said to use the triangles with the dark strips at the base to form the hexagons. Is that a flicker of light somewhere in the back of my head?
The key is: While the triangles, themselves, are the exact same size - the components used to make them are not. That means that they MUST be laid out as the pattern directs in order for it to work. Hmmmm - what will they think of next?
I went back and re-arranged the pieces to form the hexagon pattern and started sewing. My, oh my. Those pieces just went together - easy as pie. No trimming, no fudging. Will I ever learn? Probably not.
But I did end up with two separate and distinct quilts from the same fabric strips. They should be the same size. They are not exactly like the pattern showed. But they are uniquely Libby.

27 comments:

Judy said...

Yes I noticed when I **read the entire pattern** that you used 2 different sized strips, so I wondered why that was and that it had to have something to do with the way they laid out.

Now I am the opposite girl! I sit with my patterns and read the entiore thing front to back before I ever start anything!!

Whatever you did, they turned out very well! Job well done!!

Screen Door said...

Totally dis-com-bob-a-lat-ing... I'm totally bewildered, you're way over my head. I like the end results though. Cute table toppers. Hey - you roll with the punches...I just get flustered. Love your attitude...

dot said...

Two distinct beautiful quilts. You certainly went through alot to get these two beauties but well worth the effort. I might have to try something like this.

Rabbit Stitchings said...

and thus, the "thinker" libby appeared....I congratulate you on thinking this thru! Lots would have said oh shoot... but not you!
I myself love a good brain challenge, apparently you do too!

Susie said...

Sounds like you developed your persistence at a very tender age. I sometimes jump into a recipe without reading it through also, but then have to figure out a way to "make it work"
:)

Jenny said...

Sounds like the way I operate. Im not interested in planning, even though I know it will get me into trouble. Maybe I (we) just like to see how we're going to get out of it!
Jenny

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

The scary...and perhaps not so surprising thing if yopu read by blog.....is that that all makes perfect sense to me and I can't see any other way to do it that dive in "boots and all!"

May Britt said...

Reading patterns are just for sissys :) Sew first and read later.
Love the tops. The first one is my favorite.

atet said...

Heee -- I'm glad I'm not the only one things like this happen to. But what lovely results.

anne bebbington said...

I'm just the same as you Libby - jump straight in there with both feet confident in the knowledge that I can do anything - then stop part way through when it becomes apparent that not all is as it should be - then read the instructions and figure out why your flat pack cabinet has 6 extra screws NOT! However 99% of the time I manage to work a way through everything so seldom is there any real damage :o) Wouldn't do for us all to be the same would it?

KCQuilter said...

However it happened, those are two very gorgeous quilties!!!! Way to go.

Knot Garden said...

I think you've got a mathematical brain and don't realise it! The result is two very lovely quilt designs.

Dawn said...

I love them! You'll be surprised how easy the serendipty blocks go together, they just work!

They are beautiful!

Dawn said...

Oh my gosh - I just read May Britt's comment! That is too funny!

Jeanne said...

Libby, your way gave you two different, yet equally great quilts so it can't be wrong. I like both of them.

Chris said...

Libby style is just wonderful and I don't think you should ever do it any other way. It's probably how great inventions come into being. Love both quilts.

Bonnie said...

Your story made me laugh. Unfortunately, I read the pattern, study it thoroughly, and do the exact same thing you did. The learning only seems to come through making mistakes.

The outcome of your two little quilts is great. Good job!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Great post! I applaud your persistence and your style... there's a lot of Libby in me too! I'm forever diving in before I look for the ladder, or the lifeguard! The quilt tops are wonderful. Pat yourself on the back.

Carol said...

I laughed and laughed Libby...we are just alike...I jump in with both feet and then try to figure out how to get out. I would probably save lots of time if I just thought it out in the beginning, but silly me I always think I'm saving time my way.

Wendy said...

You are too funny...I do the same jump in before reading the pattern. These turned out great in the end, wonderful job. Love them both. Maybe a tutorial will be next...hint hint

McIrish Annie said...

Welcome to Ann's "fly by the seat of your pants" world.! I have done that more times than I can remember. I am like a man in that I don't need to read the directions, I just look at the pictures!! LOL

Both quilts are cute and you did get two!

Patti said...

They look great, especially considering everything you went through. What a great story! I think I'm a cross between you and Judy. I read all the pattern - more or less - and then get to work. The problem is sometimes I think I remember what is supposed to happen next so I don't check. That's when I get into trouble. You'd think by now I'd have learned I can't trust my memory!

Quilt Nut said...

fantastic! good for you to figure out how to make the 2 quilts!

Nadine said...

Libby, dear, your post is sooo funny ! (I could see myself, at some stages) ! Thanks for that ! Isn't that what they call "liberated quilting" ?
Your quilts are beautiful, and it's all that matters !
LOVE the unique Libby style !
Hugs & smiles,
NADINE

GemmaG said...

they are so beautiful!! I really love the second, more colorful.
I have a little of Libby style in me, too, but I never get the same results! well done
Gemma from Italy

Diana said...

Isn't it funny how those 30 and 60 degree angles all can go together so nicely and then NOT go together at all? I admire your persistence on this--I might have balled the whole thing up and put it in a bag to marinate for a week or so.

The tops look great, though. Thanks for sharing that website.

sara, the house of charm said...

Oh I'm pretty impressed by your efforts! I tend to do the same thing, I jump in and wind up making a cutting error and its back to the fabric store I go. You pulled your self through it, and both quilts are so charming!