Thursday, July 15, 2010

Squaring Up

Hello to the three of you who read my blog.....While I love reading other people's posts about anything and everything, I kind of feel like I need to have something to say before I sit and begin to type. So, I've not had any real inspiration until today.

One of the new adventures I'm on is to try to develop some new quilting patterns to possibly sell in shops, etc. I've begun with a few based on the incredible mosaics in the architecture of Italy which have inspired me so. I've made a few blocks and am working on what could be a book of those.

I'm also inspired by the Civil War reproduction fabrics and quilts inspired by this era. I love all the history and stories surrounding them. I've almost finished my first one, Miss Carrie's Crosses or Crosses at Carnton (not sure which name yet. Your suggestions are welcome!), is a scrap quilt made of cross-like patterns set on point. I used a tiny 1 inch border to set the center off from a flying goose border, followed by another 1 inch border, thus setting this border off, then finally a wide print border. Did you notice I added four, yes FOUR, borders? For those of you who know me, I don't like adding borders. There are technical reasons. You don't just plop the border down and start sewing.

To make sure your quilt is and remains absolutely square (not in shape, but in "plumbness" or flat!) before you add borders, you measure the quilt at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom. In a perfect world, these measurements would be the same and your first border cut for those opposite sides would be easy to cut and stitch on. However, I don't live in heaven yet, so that rarely happens. The more seams you have in the center of the quilt and the more you put things on the diagonal, thus the bias, the greater the chance of a variation in those measurements. As a result, you take an average of those three measurements, cut your borders that average and ease the sides of the quilt to match. Fortunately for me these days, my measurements rarely vary more than 1/4 inch or so, and easing this in is not too difficult. However, it HAS to be done. It is critical to do this for each side of the quilt for every time you add a border. If it starts off crooked, then you add more crooked borders, you will end up with one very crooked quilt. Not to mention that by this time the quilt has become large and unwieldy to deal with under the needle.

Now back to my design. Yes, I added FOUR borders. One of them is pieced with flying geese. Lots of seams means lots of chances for variation. Being off a mere 16th of an inch means after 16 seams you can be off an entire inch! There are 128 geese in the borders, thus LOTS of chances to be even slightly off. Not to mention in the design, I forgot to make allowance for setting the quilt on point and that adds in hypotenuse measurements.....oh my, it gets complicated for a 2" goose to fit and odd-number measurement!

So, I was squaring up; making sure the quilt was square before adding the first border. Really having to ease the geese onto the 1" border to get them to fit. Calculating how many geese for each side so they will come out even. Easing it all to fit. Measure, measure, measure. Average, average, average. Four borders, sixteen times to repeat this process. What was I thinking?

It came to me. I have the opportunity to do this with my life. I mess up, sin, am downright hateful sometimes. All I have to do to "square up" or get right, is to turn to my loving Creator, my heavenly Father, my Savior, my Rock, my Redeemer, and He will ease me back in. He squares me up not only daily, but minute by minute. He even does it gently. Stretching me when he has to, hemming me in when he needs to, gathering me up when necessary. Reminding me that in His hands, He can make me right. I can accept His gentle urgings or ignore them. It does take more work to make me into His image. When I succumb, I'm righted without too much pain or embarrassment. When I continue in my wrong ways, I really get out of "plumb," only increasing and magnifying the sin. As amazing as it is, He longs to have a right relationship with me. Even more often than daily; minute by minute, second by second, border by border. He even takes the time to do it every step of the way.

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift."II Cor. 9:15