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Friday, July 17, 2009

The Saga of Rachel's Star . Part One

So folks, the saga of Rachel's Star begins. I tell myself, and others, that I'm dyslexic. Officially undiagnosed but there's enough familial history and loads of daily situational examples to convince me this is probably true. It helps explain why I'm always accused of being impetuous and can't follow directions well ...
Anyway, it's a convenient label to use to explain away all the stupid annoying crises I can get myself into, especially in sewing where I all too frequently do as much un-sewing as sewing!
So, given this why the heck would I take on the challenge of paper piecing such a challenging wall hanging? Well, because I love a challenge, because many of my quilting friends keep reassuring me that paper piecing is a "piece of cake" and because I really want to make this for my friend and colleague who is retiring.
So, last post you were introduced to the pattern (above) and the fabrics I carefully chose. Now I know I didn't get exactly the same fabrics (how could I- the pattern is 7 years old ...) but I thought I had done a pretty good job, especially since these are not really my colours ... Anyway, off to a pretty good start, cut the centre hexagon and sewed the alternating dark/bright gold pieces to it. Mistake #1. I'd like to blame poorly written patterns for most of my un-sewing adventures but this one was just plain ol me being a dullard ... instead of sewing the long edge of the trapazoids to the hexagon I start off by sewing the short sides. I quickly figure out that this is wrong, unsewed it and looked more carefully at the pattern (a picture is waaaaay better than 1000 words, especially when there is a paucity of words). So, sewing the long sides makes the instructions leave the first seam half done (as in partial seam) a whole lot more meaningful!

OK, now on to step 2 ... This involved making the 6 Star Points units and attaching 3 to the centre. Ok, how hard can that be? Well, I made the star points, all the while wondering why the heck the B**** who wrote this stupid pattern would tell me to cut a strip which is obviously not big enough to make the centre triangle in the star point and have ANY seam allowance .... Mistake #2.The pattern, if I had read/reread and then read again ... did tell me to cut a strip big enough .... Duh! Step 3 was to attach 3 of the 6 Star Points to the Hexagon ... but to which side???? (Hint = Mistake #3 not discovered until much later!)

Ok, so I'm well on my way but something doesn't look quite right - I wonder what it is??? Step 4 is to create the side log cabin units. Now one of the fabrics is supposed to visually recede, but I don't like my first choice of fabric (too muddy) so elect for another rather lovely teal/blue green batik. It matches wonderfully when you're working up close. Mistake #4. Now the log cabin blocks appear as a BIG BLUE thing in the centre. Not the look I was hoping for..... But I carry on (Mistake #5!)

So the centre section of Rachel's Star is all put together, but ... there's something wrong ... What is it??? YIKES, the Star Points are attached incorrectly therefore the interweaving effect of the 2 different golds isn't happening ! ARGH! So, late at night I hop into bed accompanied by Iris the cat, the ill-fated Rachel's Star and my seam ripper. Some bed mates eh? Anyway, approximately 30 minutes later (why does it take 1/10th the time to un-sew that it took to sew in the first place???) Mistake #3, remember it? is completely undone.

Onwards and upwards .... everything is sewn back together again and the interwoven effect of the star now shines through. YEAH! Triumph, no wait ... I still don't like the BIG BLUE thing in the centre of the log cabin side units, but I carry on, Mistake #6 .

Next I proceed to the Star points in the outer side units. I make the one on the right first, looks good doesn't it? Mistake #7 .... the colours are A--backwards, so I proceed to throw the thing across the room and make another! Let's see if I can get this one simple unit right! But in a fit of momentary insanity (momentary ha!) I decide I must correct Mistake #4 and exchange the lovely teal/blue green batik from my original choice (oh, why didn't I just leave things alone in the first place?) Mistake #8 results below.
OK, it doesn't look too too bad. Except for the 8 mistakes so far, and I'm only half way through ! The BIG BLUE thing is still way tooooo prominent for my liking. What to do, what to do?
I give up totally. First I consult with at least 2 colour experts then return to the fabric store and, while retaining the focus fabric of the centre hexagon, choose all new (muddier) teals. This should fix it...

Stay tuned for Rachel's Star part two .....

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