Sunday, May 20, 2007

O Hai

Well, will you look at me, all not posting for days on end.

Anyway, I finalized the layout for Carolyn's quilt. I did go back and rearrange the background colors because...well, because I had to.

But I couldn't do what I said (in comments) that I was going to, which was to sew the borders onto those blocks that simply had to have a given color. Having some of the blocks assembled would have made it easier to rearrange things, but as soon as I started to do the first one I realized that half the blocks are slanted in one direction and half in the other. Until I finalized the layout, I might know a given block's background color, but I wouldn't know which direction the slant should go.

So oh well.

What I wanted was a layout where the five background colors were well distributed; as in, no repetition of any color in any given row or column. That much wasn't too hard to achieve, but I ended up with big diagonal runs of several colors and, since I didn't want to to full-on diagonals, I needed to get rid of the nascent stripes.

However, moving ten pieces every time I wanted to swap two blocks got old fast, to say nothing of the times I needed to rotate three blocks or some such thing, so I Googled "magic square" to see if I could just find a formula for a good distribution of five variables in a 5x5 grid.

But it turns out that's not what a magic square is.

So I went back to figuring it out for myself, but this time in a more portable format:

This layout does have three mini-diagonals, where two blocks of the same color are touching at a corner, but every time I tried to get rid of them I just ended up back where I started, so I decided that my Type A side had gotten more than enough play and I went ahead and rearranged the actual blocks to correspond to that layout. (White is Orange and Green is Purple. War, however, is still not Peace.)

Once I was satisfied with the distribution of background colors, the blocks themselves had been shuffled, losing their original layout, so I needed to rearrange them to improve the distribution of color and value across the quilt. At that point, I had already assigned each block to a background color, so I could only switch a given block with one of the four others that shared its border color.

With fewer choices, it wasn't too hard to arrive at a decent distribution. I put some of the visually "heavier" blocks out toward the edges, and ended up arranging the blocks that had white or tan backgrounds in a kind of sweeping curve. Well, I can see it.

Once I had the layout all planned, I started sewing the borders onto each block. Aside from having to reverse engineer one of the seams in the very first block, and another one in the very last block, applying the borders was actually very straightforward.

Squaring up the blocks and trimming them to a uniform size was less so, at least at first. But fortunately after taking excruciating care and quadruple-checking every aspect of the first two or three, I got the hang of it and was able to trim the rest without incident.

Except for the two or three blocks with three-dimensional embellishments. The picture below shows the actual system I had to use to measure and trim this lovely block - there were no fewer than four rulers involved, but in the end it worked out:

Once trimmed, I arranged the blocks back on the wall and, once again, decided that this quilt really doesn't want sashing. But since I had the sashing fabric right there, I figured I would lay the blocks on top of it just to be sure.

Here's what it would look like (more or less) if I used the yellow sashing fabric as planned:

And, just to be sure, I even laid them out on the green/blue-green fabric that was intended for an outer border. Nope, that doesn't work either:

So it was confirmed that this quilt most decidedly does not want sashing. Tomorrow I'll sew the blocks directly together, which will look something like this:

Oh, and too? Scraps are pretty.

(Remind you of anything?)


Dad May 21, 2007 4:33 AM  

Okay, okay, NOW I see the compulsive Tucker genes at work!
Except that you've carried it far beyond anything of which I would ever, ever be capable!

(Do you remember how you and Lisa - as children - used to say that I was "excessive compulsive" before you had any notion of what that meant? (BTW, readers, I've never been so diagosed. It's just that I like things to be the way they should be!!!)

What a beautiful, beautiful job! And I clearly like it better without the sashing. (I had to ask Mom what "sashing" was.)

Love you...

juliloquy May 21, 2007 8:35 AM  

You are awesome and amazing. You have made something lovely and unified. I am sure the outgoing president will love it!

Sandy May 21, 2007 12:13 PM  

Most EXCELLENT work. The yellow sashing didn't look too bad after all but I'm glad you are not using it. As for the "remind you of anything...", does it always come down to candy with you??? I'll admit it's usually chocolate, though. :)
Your president will be thrilled.
PS-yet another thing in common...I would have struggled with the placing just as hard as you did. Love the leggo idea.

Jennifer May 21, 2007 12:50 PM  

Does it always come down to candy with you???

Pretty much. That or cookies.


theotherbear May 21, 2007 10:10 PM  

The yellow sashing didn't look too bad, did it. I think you made the right choice though the way you decided. Oh, and by the way - using the lego was a brilliant idea!

Lisa May 21, 2007 10:28 PM  

Okay, I totally got the mints. I read Remind you of anything? and asked, aloud, Those mints? as I clicked on the link. I think they've added the orange, though.

Actually, I really like the green sashing. Definitely not the yellow. But I like it lots with the green sashing, even better than without any sashing. I like the way it makes the blocks kind of float there, and also it defines them and lets you notice and appreciate each one. Maybe that's not what you're looking for. And maybe it's just me, since there seems to be a consensus against the sashing. So, with all I've got, yay, sashing!

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