Monday, October 26, 2015

Primitive Piecing … part 2

Since I posted part 1 a few weeks ago, it seems only fitting that part 2 should follow. As you may recall, at the close of the last post, I had created some rows of pieced blocks and a center. The center included three pieces of homespun that had been sewn together.
The next step was to begin work on the "picture" that would emerge on this center. This meant the addition of three pumpkins, each in a different pattern of orange fabric. I used a turned edge, or needle turn, appliqué technique to secure them to the background. Alternatively, I could have used a fusible technique and machine stitched around the edges. Given the primitive style for this piece, I felt that the turned edge technique would be more consistent with the look I was trying to achieve - more about the turned edge technique later in this post.
Now it's time to add the lower border. What do you think?
Next, I cut out the cat and stitched him on the "ledge" sitting in front of the pumpkins. The wool stars actually weren't added until the very end, but I had forgotten to take a picture of just the cat in front of the pumpkins. I used a turned edge appliqué technique with the cat as well.
Next came the task of creating one final border. This vertical border includes five turned edge appliqué stars. I will just say that working with pieces such as these stars can be quite daunting and is not for the faint of heart. These stars feature some very tight angles that can be difficult to navigate. I will attempt to illustrate in the next few pictures.
This picture shows step 1. The white line indicates the actual finished shape of the star. The task at hand is to turn the edges under and to stitch the star to the background fabric. You can also see the short appliqué pins in the picture. I like this shorter length as it helps avoid getting stuck multiple times while working on a small piece. At the same time, they are somewhat heavy and will easily leave holes and snags in very fine fabric. For pieces such as this one, they do just fine.
This next picture features a star that is in process. You can get the idea as to how the edges are turned and the need to clip some of the fabric to allow the concave angles to turn under as they should. The points are where things get tricky. As you turn the fabric under, you also need to manipulate it such that it tucks under at the point. With these narrow angles, that is no easy task. While the top point of this star turned out pretty good, you can see that the two side points are somewhat rounded and the one on the left sort of swings upward. Let's just say that I am still very much in the process of developing my skills.
Here are some pictures of a completed star block as well as the vertical row to be attached to the left side of the quilt. You can see that, in some of the blocks, the right point ended a little close to the edge and got a bit "chopped off" once it was sewn to the quilt.

The final step in completing this quilt will be to get it quilted and bound. I'm actually thinking that I am going to be brave enough to attempt the machine quilting on my own using the walking foot for my machine (perhaps my adventures in machine quilting will be a future post). 
As I look over some of the challenges and my perceived inadequacies in completing this piece, I am also reminded that, in life, I am inadequate in my own strength. At the same time, I can be confident in the One who has made me adequate. My adequacy is not based in the accuracy of the angles on my star points or whether the points escaped being chopped off by the seam allowance. My adequacy is based solely on what Jesus has done for me. 
The verses that I am sharing are ones that were included in a Student Week talk by during the summer of 1988. They continue to to shape my perspective today:
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6.