19 May 2016

Colorworks Concepts

Have you ever bought fabric that made you want to sit down at the sewing machine right that very instant?

I think it happens to me just a little TOO frequently. But this time, oh, was it ever difficult! I was in California to shoot the wedding of my niece, and this fabric (with a price even better than the colors) made me want to squeal with joy like a little kid at Christmas!

I even put off editing photos the first night I returned home just so I could dive into this new acquisition. Fabric like this shouldn't be on shelves at all. It should be beneath the presser foot, and RIGHT NOW!

Then came the moment of grim reality. I opened the package and pulled out the cut fabric. I'd resisted pulling it out of the package all the way home! As I prepared to slice off the selvedges (because I actually save selvedges and either craft with them or sell them on Etsy), I realized the drop-dead gorgeous panel that caused me to fall so head over heels wasn't printed with a seam allowance.

What the heck?!?

According to Northcott's website, "ColorWorks Concepts is a completely innovative program featuring colorful panels.... printed to look like complex piecing projects."

So here's this irresistible big piece of fabric that's supposed to make it easier for me to whip up a quilt for a kid, and the manufacturers forgot to include seam allowance?!? Or cut corners, or in this case, a quarter inch on each side of each panel, to cut costs?!?

Other panel connoisseurs might not have noticed. Still others might have caved and used the selvedge as the seam allowance. (I've done that in the past as a single parent when my budget was much tighter and I regarded every single inch on a scale equal to or greater than gold or even chocolate, and I was NOT happy with the finished results.) For me personally at this time in my life, I’ve worked very hard to improve my matching points and corners. It's a very big deal to me in every single project.

So how in the world could I make a quilt with this panel and expect a cousin, niece or nephew to drool over the imperfect points?

I stewed for a while and even considered incorporating the selvedges and making due with the teeny, scant 1/16th-inch-if-lucky seam allowance before realizing this quilt, when finished, will indeed be going to a kid, and therefor needs to be sturdily stitched. I decided to bite the thimble and cut the panel as planned, then make the planned quilt with unmatched points along the edges because most kids will not care, and some might not even notice.

Until they are adult quilters. Inspired by their doting aunt, whom they one day realize made an entire quilt with uneven points. And then spend the next week laughing because they'd grown up worshiping the skills of said aunt. "She used a panel! (Emphasis added to imply cooties) She didn't even bother to cut the sides accurately! What a cheater!"

I had to study the panel again for a while to remember why I initially was so drawn to it. Will it really be so awful to be seam up 1/4 inch all the way around and cause block points to be off? Will that really ruin this otherwise gorgeous fabric?

Yes, if I was entering it into a competition, but who in their right mind would enter a panel quilt into a competition?!? (I know, it does happen.) Yes, if it was going on my bed. But I wouldn't be making a panel quilt for my bed. I would piece the darned thing because I enjoy piecing, and I want it to be as perfect as possible. Perhaps no if the intended recipient cares more about video games, dance or piano recitals, fingernail polish or baseball games.

I need to be finished with 13 more kid quilts by Christmas (and the possibility of four more). I want the kids to love them, but I'm not so sure they are going to care about the seams as much as they care about the size, colors and designs. Especially after they spill hot chocolate all over it while telling ghost stories, let the dog use it, take it camping, and use it to wipe up the eggs, chili and ketchup they spilled on their Mom's brand new carpet because they were eating in the forbidden living room while she was shopping.

"It will be okay. It will be okay. It will be okay," I kept telling myself as I cut off the selvedges (which, by the way, are equally as gorgeous) and squared up the sides.

Once I began piecing the coordinating charm squares for an impromptu border, I thought about the mismatched panel corners only as I attached the sashing. I held the finished top up to get my husband's opinion. He'd heard tolerated me bellyache about the absence of seam allowance the entire time I was cutting and sewing. He would give me an honest opinion, and he would do it in a delicate way if he didn't like the edges.

"The kids will love it. They'll be fighting over it," he smirked.

Fighting over it... I hadn't considered inevitable tug-of-war battles as an additional reason the seams need to be trustworthy.

I pulled in some stash fabrics to spread the charm squares thinner, so in the end, I will need another panel to use up the rest of the charm squares. Yes, you guessed it. I ordered another one, a different one. Hopefully not as errant along the edges as this one, which I do still love as far as color and block placement.

I guess I need to piece my own bright rainbow-themed sampler with perfect points when I get done with all the kiddo quilts. If I can ever get done with all the cousin quilts and the rest of the next generation stops having babies! (Just teasing! I love all the new little bundles of joy in the family!)

My Colorworks Flimsy

And now, I have a little giveaway. I have anxiously bought each and every issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks for the last six years, as well as each and every issue of Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. I've found the 100 Blocks special issues more and more difficult to find the day or even week of release for the last couple of years as bookstores have been closing right and left in my neck of the plains meet foothills. The most recent magazine volume, Issue 13, was released at the beginning of this month, and I STILL don't have a copy! I am Woman, Hear Me Whine!

I decided to go ahead and sign up for the auto ship subscription for the special issues only. I expected to have the newest version of 100 Blocks by now. Imagine my surprise when the magazine finally arrived in the mail yesterday, and it's NOT 100 Blocks! Instead, it's another copy of Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, which I already have.

I have the option of returning it, but I thought I might as well give it away to someone who'd love to have it and continue to sit and wait patiently for my 100 Blocks to arrive. Fingers crossed it will eventually arrive and not take three months...

So, if you'd like to take this extra magazine off my hands, please leave a humorous quilting-related anecdote in the comments below, and a winner will be randomly selected. US recipients only, please, because I'm footing the bill for postage. I'll announce the winner and ask for delivery information next Thursday, May 26, 2016.

Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. Wow, got a lot of kiddos to make quilts for. Yeah, I'd bet they'd like the color and size over the seams more. I hope you hide behind closed doors before you squealed over the fabric hahaha

    1. Why, Pat, you don't think a woman shrieking in a fabric store would cause massive sales?!? :)

  2. Oh my. I am having trouble coming up with something humorous. Your story has me all anxious. heehee. I know the frustration that comes with loving something so much and then having it not live up to your expectations. This will be a bit of a long comment, but it reminded me of a story.
    I once bought like 7 yards of this beautiful yellow/green print. I loved it. As it was sitting in the pile at the register I saw something in the print. Not intentional, but all I could see was little grotesque hanging skeletons! It was just a swirly pattern for goodness sakes! I have been forcing myself to use it little by little, but those darn skeletons are always looking at me. How disappointing. :(

    1. Thanks, Jan! Wow! 7 yards is a lot to try to use up when you're no longer in love with it!

  3. It's gorgeous and he's right, they will definitely be fighting over it! As for a humorous quilt relating anecdote - hmm, well every time I've been pregnant I've had a quilt I was trying to finish while waiting for the baby and every time I've wondered whether I'll finish in time, but the babies have always had the last laugh and the quilts have always been finished before they make an appearance!

    1. Good for you, Carie, for taking on such projects while pregnant, and beating the births to boot!!!

  4. The kiddos will wrestle over the quilt, there's no doubt, as pretty as it is! My humorous anecdote happened a few years ago when a friend called to say she had some "very nice quilt stuff" from her late mother-in-law and I could have a box of fabric if I helped her organize the rest to sell it online. Of course, I agreed to help, jumped in the car and raced over. It turned out that none of the "stuff" was quilting cotton. Her MIL made drapes! Yes, I still helped and learned a lesson--some people don't know fabric. (Imagine that!)

    1. You really got me tickled with that story, Mary! Quilts from drapery fabric... Now that would be interesting!


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