Do you remember that I promised to make Anya a quilt? Yeah, I had almost forgotten, too. I may have even forgotten to mention that here. Anyway, that promise was made several months ago, around the time I finished the flannel one for Daniel. Logically, it would follow that if I make a quilt for Daniel, she should get one too, right? Of course! She picked out the fabric and pattern well before Christmas, and despite all my intentions of getting right on that project, I didn't. Everything sat in a neglected pile until a few weeks ago when I cut out some squares and finally got started.

I don't do a lot of quilting, and there are some good reasons for that. For one thing, I find fabric selection to be a completely and utterly overwhelming process, one riddled with second-guessing and self-doubt.

I love quilts that are sleek and modern and orderly. I also love the ones that are a riot of color and patterns and almost chaotic, but I never make those (see above re: overwhelm). I even like some of the ones in between. What I'm not a fan of are the cutesy, folksy quilts, but I'm not here to judge. Whenever I make something quilt-y (like a quilt…or a stack of potholders out of failed quilt squares, which you'll find out about soon enough…) I tend towards minimalist fabric selection because it feels safe.

Note the square below in all its simplicity. Blue and tan. Those are the colors Anya picked for her quilt, along with a lovely, deep solid red. She chose the block pattern, too, a series of simple, orderly triangles. I have a print that would make a gorgeous border but I don't know if she'll let me use it. When it comes to style, I think she loves simplicity more than I do.

So far, so good. Those corners match pretty well, etc.
The way I make these blocks is to draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on a square...

...then sew two squares together 1/4" on either side of that diagonal line, then cut along the line to get two sets of triangles. 

 After about 5 blocks, things were well on their way. Or so I thought. Last week I cut out some more squares and sewed them together along the diagonal for some more blocks, and…uh oh. See there how the half-block on top is a little smaller?

Yeah, that's what happens when you're not being extra careful that all your seams are exactly 1/4". You may not be able to tell from the picture below, but my seams were too wide and the resulting half-blocks are narrower than the original ones.

This brings me to the second big reason I don't do a lot of quilting: the precision required. I have some perfectionist tendencies (have you noticed?) and sloppiness in my own work drives me crazy. I've learned (mostly) not to let perfectionism get in the way of actually doing anything. Some mistakes and imprecision I can live with. I certainly can't live with quilt blocks that are 1/2" smaller than their counterparts!

There are five of these botched blocks, or will be once I finish sewing up the halves, and on their own they look fine. Five isn't enough for a whole new quilt, of course, but I can put a narrow border on them, back them with some insulated batting, finish them off with a bias binding, and voila! Someone in the family might get a nice stack of matching potholders next Christmas. 

Meantime, I've figured out how to sew 1/4" seams on my new machine and the stack of blocks I sewed up over lunchtime turned out much better. I may get the hang of this after all.


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