Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Square Peg, Round Hole, part 1

At the late-September meeting of our quilt guild, we drew 3 crayons from paper bags which were to determine the colors for our quilt. As luck would have it, I was going with the Memphis Sewing Guild on a day-trip to Paducah in mid-October! I took my crayons along and scoured the isles of Hancock's of Paducah for any fabrics that matched my crayon colors. I scored big! I wasn't sure what I would make yet, but I had the fabrics!

Then, at the next few meetings, the rules were clarified a little...we were NOT to use lighter or darker values of our crayon...this was about saturation. There was some leeway as to, if we drew a red crayon, we could use orange-reds and bluer reds, but not pink or maroon. Don't go lighter or darker...try to match. Hmmmm.... The stripes were ruled out, as they had large amounts of the lighter value. Rats! Actually, I was worried that MANY of my fabrics would be deemed unacceptable!

I had already begun thinking I would do an expanding checkerboard design, but when I realized my fabric choices were growing smaller, I decided to try other designs.

I considered doing a play on boxes...and this is where the original 'peg' was born.

But this design really didn't trip my trigger! It was as if I was married to the idea of the expanding checkerboard...I couldn't fall in love with anything else! So I picked out SOME of the fabrics that I thought would pass and went back to the idea I liked best!

But I DID like the 3-D element I had created for the 'box' quilt.... the 'peg', or 'nipple' as we like to call it around here! ;) The expanding checkerboard would need a center circle, so I decided I could still use this 'box' idea, but make it circular instead!

Also, I made that first box (above) 1" tall and deep and wide. One inch is the maximum amount any embellishment can protrude from the quilt suface. I was afraid that the box might bulge a little after stuffing, so I reduced the size of the next one to 3/4" high by 3/4" deep by 3/4" wide. This way, even if it bulges a little, it will still be within limits.

To create the box pattern, I used the CAD portion of my pattern-drafting software (the Pattern Editor of Patternmaster Boutique). But any cad program would work...turbo cad, whatever.

I first drew the overall square to the size I wanted, then placed the 1" box in the middle. Then I made it 3-D and added seam allowances.

Below, you see the start of the square one, but the finished pattern is the round one...only the outer shape is different.
I fused interfacing to the back of my fabric and cut these pieces out. After sewing, pressing, and clipping the corners, the inside looked like this:

I didn't want this little box to collapse or become misshapened once it leaves my hands, so I needed to find a way to stuff it securely. My friend, Linda Wilson, suggested I use felt. Perfect! I cut 3/4" x 3/4" squares of acrylic felt and ran a needle with thread through them several times until they were stable.

I stuffed the felt stack into the box and grabbed 3 layers of batting...I wanted this area to be a little fuller than the rest of the quilt. I stipple-quilted this area on my sewing machine, getting as close to the nipple as I could (yes, by now I was calling it a nipple!).

When I was finished, I trimmed the batting around the edges, then began turning under the outer edges so I could applique this onto the quilt. Well, duh, it is way too thick around the edges! What was I thinking, using 3 layers of cotton batting and taking them all the way out? I had to start over!
So I cut new nipple pieces and new felt squares and batting...and put together another nipple. But this time, I used only 2 layers of was smaller than the other, and the larger one was stopped about 1" from the outside edge. When I quilted it, I stopped the stippling where the batting stopped.

Below, you can see my nipple collection! The original square one, the newest one with pins, plus the too-thick one, which, BTW, makes a great Frisbee! That sucker will fly across the room better (and more level!) than any plastic Frisbee I have!

Before I sewed the new nipple to the quilt, I added the ring with the bead. I used a monofilament dental-floss threader and ran it through the golden earring (with the ear wire removed) and used it like a needle-threader: I put thread through the loop then pulled the thread through the ring. Then I put sewing needles onto the ends of the thread that was sticking out each end of the ring, and pierced the nipple, stitching through the felt stack and tying the threads securely on the back.
Now the new-and-improved nipple was pinned onto the center of the expanding checkerboard and I stippled around the outer 1" to secure it.

But there was a visible ridge at the edge of the batting that bothered me. I needed to soften that French knots it is! I did a series of knots around the outer part of the batting area.
This is looking more and more 'anatomically correct'! My DD calls the French knots the 'no-slip grips'...a term that was new to me, but I liked it!

More later, so check back!


Marilyn said...

You are a genius!!!!

LizA. said...

Is this the quilt that was giving you so many fits when it came to quilting it?

Trish said...

Marilyn, THANKS! :)

Liz, YES, this is the troublemaker!

arlee said...

Trish, found your post after a google for "square peg in a round hole"---may i use your pattern for these with your permission?

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