Tuesday, 25 May 2010

It's Quilt Show Time

It’s an even year. This means it’s a Quilt Show year!

My youngest kids are in their last year at our little local public school. This school has a thriving and active P&C or Parents and Citizens Group. They do a great job raising much needed extra funding for the school which goes towards purchasing extra equipment, providing additional events such as whole school participation dance and drama activities and artist in residence programs which would not be possible without the extra injection of funding raised by a small group of dedicated volunteers. I put my hand up right now and admit I’m not one of them. I tend be a sideline sitter, helping out occasionally. The magnificent people to whom I take off my virtual hat spend long hours and many early mornings manning markets and barbecues so our kids can have the extra facilities their hard work provides.

But one thing I can get involved in is the raffle quilt. Each alternate year our school holds a quilt show and invites entries from the talented local community. I am always amazed and awed by the quality, imagination and skill displayed by the dozens of entries our show receives.

It has become part of our quilt show tradition to create a quilt to be the raffle prize at the show. Preparations commence six months out with a get together to agree on fabrics and block patterns. Since most of us are inexperienced quilters this is more of a social coffee gathering and most of the crucial decisions are made by the skilled few among our number. We have had some fabric donated to us in a mixture of stripes and checks in six colours. During our first meeting we decide that this year we will go for more of a freestyle design. The only stipulation is that we are to create strips 2.4 metres in length. The width can vary and what goes into the strip is entirely up to the individual. Our first task is to sort out the fabric and make up identical bundles to give to each sewer. We will meet again in a few works and bring along any finished pieces.

I have decided to use mainly triangles. The fabric we have been given is made up of rectangular pieces 15cm wide so I flip a corner diagonally over and cut along the edge it creates cutting a 15cm square then while it is still folded I cut the square in half diagonally along the fold. As you can see I am using a pretty imprecise technique. Once I have all my triangles I place them not altogether randomly, I try not to have the same check pattern next to each other for example but I am not following a precise order. Then it is time to sew. Because the fabric is a fairly loose weave I firstly stitch a 3/8” seam rather than 1/4” seam and then stitch a second time within the seam allowance to help avoid fraying. I then press the seams as I go.

I have completed my strips. I have managed to produce three plus a skinny one of just joined squares from the leftover scraps. Time to go and hand in all our handiwork and see what everyone else has produced.

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