Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An Adventure Quilting in the Pink

A while back, I read about the Quilt Pink initiative, by which quilters the world over either make quilt blocks or entire quilts, which are then auctioned off to benefit cancer research via the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Being a quilter, I thought this was a pretty cool idea, and when I read that October was Quilt Pink month, I made an effort to help out in some way.

I knew that I didn't have enough time in my life to make an entire quilt, but I could at least do up a block or two. Browsing around the 'net, I came across a website that collects blocks and then makes them into quilts, to be auctioned in May on eBay. This sounded right up my alley, so I read the requirements and got to work.

One of the requirements was that the block could use predominently pink and white fabrics, neither of which I had (is that weird? About a hundred different fabrics, but no pink or white). This necessitated a trip to the local fabric store, aptly named Villa Telas (or Fabric Village), and a session rummaging through the off-cuts bin. I love the off-cuts bin, because I 1) do mostly piecing projects and don't tend to need yards and yards of the same fabric, and 2) find some great pieces and don't spend much money. Unfortunately, they had not much in the way of pink, and only three small scraps of white-ish fabric. I asked esposo if he thought one particular fabric was white, and he said, no, more like cream. How about off-white? Could it pass for off-white? Let's compare it to cream. Ok, comparing it to that makes it look off-white, but I'd still call it cream. Great, off-white it is!

I then had to find a pattern that would give me a 12x12 (or 12.5x12.5 unfinished) block. I'd just found the CUTEST Hawaiian shirt paper pieced pattern online, and started making Hawaiian shirts with it. But, it was for an 8x8 block, which meant -- MATH! I had to figure out how much to enlarge the pattern to get a 12x12. Me to esposo: How do I figure out how much bigger to make an 8x8 block to get a 12x12 block?
Esposo to me: Well, 4 is half of 8, so multiply that by blah blah blah blah and you get a 12x12.
Me: What? I have no idea what you just said.
Esposo: You know, if 8 plus 4 is 12, then blah blah blah and you get a 12x12 block.
Me (simply not getting it): Ok, so you're saying that 4 is 50% of 8, 8 is 100%, then 12 must be 150%, right?
Esposo: Yes, that's what I've been telling you all along.
Whew. Math. Brain hurts.

Sure enough, I blow up the pattern 150% and it's a 12x12 block. Yippie! I then use my off-white (NOT cream) and pink fabrics to construct the block. The off-white, I swear, must be the wrinkliest fabric on the planet. I begin to wonder if it's even 100% cotton (which the rules stipulate it must be). I iron and iron, I steam iron, I throw water on it and iron some more, still the wrinkles persist. I begin to get irritated. Still, I have finished half of the block and refuse to stop there, so I use the rest of the wrinkly fabric on the other half. The shirt part is perfectly pressed, but the background OFF-WHITE is wrinkled beyond belief. Esposo offers this kind word of advice: You can pretend it's part of the design.

Ok, so that was not very helpful on his part. Meanwhile, I realize that spraying and steaming the block has produced some side effects: the ink on the page is now running and seeping into the fabric. I briefly consider throwing the whole thing away, but remember that I do have Oxy-Clean in the laundry room, and decide I will spray it and wash it, and try to iron out the damn wrinkles again. Incredibly, this works. When I show the pressed, lovely block to esposo, he offers another valuable piece of commentary: It looks, well, kinda... gay.

Me: It is a block for charity! Breast cancer research! You know, as in, women?
He: Oh. That explains all the... (waving hand over block) pink.
Me: Grrrrr....

I realize he is probably imagining it should look more like this block that I'd done the night prior:

But of course it does not look anything like that. I had to remove the pocket and the collar, in case the group would end up doing machine or long-arm quilting on the final quilt, and I did not want those to get in the way (though I do prefer embellishments). Instead, it looks like this:

I am, at least, hoping it does not recall a hospital nurse's uniform, which is the opposite effect I'd like the block to have.

Hmmm, maybe I should make a second block after all. This time using the cream fabric?

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