I took a class with Linda Ballard (http://www.letsquilt.com) in November, using the “Stars Over St. Louis” pattern. A very traditional pattern, I decided to do the quilt top from my stash (i.e. not buying fabrics for it) and so I chose non-traditional colors for a Christmas quilt — reds and chartreuse green. I did have to buy more fabric for the outer border, because what I had originally chosen from my stash didn’t look good. At all. It took a while to find this green — I had a small piece of it but not enough to do the whole border.
I ordered what I thought was the same fabric from my favorite store, http://batiks.com, and when it arrived in mid-December it was the same light chartreuse that all the little diagonal squares are — not a slightly darker green that would frame the quilt a bit better — and not what I wanted at all. So I used it as the bias edging on Helen’s kimono shirt instead.
We went to Virginia for Thanksgiving, and went TO the batiks.com brick & mortar (and took the quilt top with us), where I purchased two yards of two different greens that I really love. When I got them home and on the design wall, they were OK but pulled too much focus away from the center because they were too dark.
When Mom and I drove up to Knoxville a month ago to pick up my car from the Subaru dealership (we had to leave the car there when it started overheating on the way home from Thanksgiving), we stopped by a couple fabric stores on our way out of town. I found the exact fabric that I had been trying to get at Gina’s Bernina, but didn’t buy it because the package with what was ultimately the wrong color hadn’t arrived yet — and I didn’t want FOUR yards of the fabric (even though it is awesome). So I just left the store without buying anything (horrors!).
The next week, when the wrong color fabric arrived from batiks.com, I called Gina’s back and asked them if they could send me two yards of the right fabric that I had seen in their store. She asked me to send her a swatch and a check and she’d cut the fabric and send it if it was indeed a match. I did, and she did, and I FINALLY had the right fabric.
I put the borders on the other night, and decided to try mitering the corners… I haven’t been successful at mitering corners before. Seriously. Never. They always stretch as I’m sewing them and then the corners curl up and won’t lie flat and the quilt looks stupid and I get mad and decide not to do borders at all or do some other kind of border treatment, etc. Well, mitered corners are what this quilt needed with all of the strong diagonals.
Linda Ballard’s instructions in the pattern included directions for left-handed people, unlike any instructions from mitering I have ever seen before. That and she didn’t have you cut the diagonal until AFTER the fabrics have been sewn together, so you don’t have as much risk of stretching while you sew.
Result? ALL FOUR corners mitered perfectly on the first try. I was SO excited. The corners all lie totally flat and there’s no puckering or bunching or stretching at all.
The corner of the quilt in the above photo is sinking into the grass a little bit so it doesn’t look square, but it actually is. Completely and perfectly square. Yay!
The whole world has opened up into this lovely, lovely vista of potential for me.