Quilter's Math

Does it seem to you that the days go by faster and faster all the time? Honestly, I feel as if I've just gotten up, but then I look at the clock, and it's time to make dinner. It makes me think of something one of my social work professors said once. Before moving into academia, she'd worked with the "frail elderly." She told our class that she'd asked one of her clients if time just kept going faster and faster as they got older. They said it did. Oy. I suppose it's like sand through the hour glass. If you've ever watched the last granules as they flow through, they do seem to move faster than when they started. So, while I hope I haven't entered the category of "frail," I'm getting used to the idea of being "elderly." It's this time-moving-so-fast part that chaps my hide. And, I suppose focusing on this gives me something else to think about aside from the election. But let's not go there, okay?

Instead, let's just talk about sewing. I finished up the ninth block for the Dancing Chickens and Flying Pigs block. This one didn't have a lot of embroidery, and so it was pretty quick:

Here are all the blocks I have for this quilt so far.

Next, I'll get back to the hand quilting for Mulligan Stew. I swear I'm going to finish this quilt if it kills me. When I last worked on it, the areas inside the pink line were finished. I've been quilting around the edges, and so I'll choose one of the two remaining sides for this go-round. There are a few blocks that are still unquilted, and so I'll work on those as I come to them.

And speaking of killing me, let's just talk about my visit from Sue yesterday. Sue isn't the one trying to kill me, though. You might recall I had a couple of skin biopsies recently. One on my shoulder turned out to be nothing. Sadly, one on my nose turned out to be something...a small basal cell. I've had so many I've lost count, and so I don't get real worked up about these. I just sigh and submit to whatever torture my doctor wishes to administer. This one, being on my nose, means a rather painful Mohs procedure. It'll be the fourth I've had done on my poor nose. Aside from the numbing injection, the procedure itself isn't painful, but the recovery is. That is scheduled for the 10th. Sue kindly brought me my drug of choice, candy corn...

She offered to bring wine, but I suggested this particular procedure requires something stronger. She brought me a bottle of tequila. Perfect.

And one needs a receptacle to pour it into...although I'm not above drinking it straight from the bottle. So, Sue, smarty pants that she is, also brought a lime and a shot glass decorated with a picture of my nose. Here's the bottom of the glass.

What are friends for, right? We stood outside and chatted for a little while...COVID precautions, you know. As usual, there was a lot of laughing. We haven't seen one another in months, and so it was nice to get together, however briefly.

Since then, I've been breaking my brain trying to figure out this Appalachian Memories quilt. (And I feel I should point out here that I have not yet cracked the bottle of tequila. I broke my brain even though I was stone cold sober.) So here's my dilemma. Let's just take a look once again at how the quilt looks on the pattern cover.

And I like that setting, although I have different ideas about fabrics. Recall that I'm going to fussy cut these little quilt blocks for the cornerstones. I can cut them to 2-1/2 inches to leave room for seam allowances.

Only, here's the problem with the pattern instructions. The center cornerstones are pieced, not whole. Here's how the blocks are set according to the pattern instructions:

When they're sewn together, there are two seams running through the centers of the cornerstones.

Smitty and I had a long conversation about this.

Oh, meow...that is purrplexing.

So, first I was thinking I needed to make these like a square-in-a-square block, or an "economy block," which I've only just learned is another name for the same block. Only, that didn't seem right. So then I told myself it was actually just a block set on point. So I selected this fabric for the setting triangles.

The rest of the block setting can just be sashed, and so I selected this branding iron fabric as the darker of the sashing strips.

And this barbed wire fabric for the lighter of the strips. Also, I don't need a seam for this part of the block. I can make it from just one strip, omitting the center seam. (If this is all very confusing, don't feel badly. I'll demonstrate eventually when I show you a finished block.)

But then I woke up early this morning (4:30 a.m.) thinking about the quilter's math, and that was when I broke my brain. I had to get up and figure this out. I was thinking the cornerstones came out to 4-1/2 inches (unfinished). Actually, they need to be 8-1/2 inches to accommodate the width of the sashing. So then, I was really confused, and I started looking at tutorials both for figuring setting triangles and for figuring "economy blocks." Without going into all of that, I'll just end the suspense by saying I found a tutorial that addressed all my questions. Thank goodness. Rather than bore you with the rest of my broken brain and sleep deprived thinking, I'll just make a block today and show you how it works.

Also, I settled on this pretty fabric for the outer border. I'll probably need to add a narrow stop border too. I love this fabric. It has the prettiest flecks of metallic gold in it, which is hard to see in a photograph.

I remember purchasing it when we traveled across the Montana High Line back in 2014. It came from a quilt shop called "Quilt with Class," in Shelby, Montana, which is one of the friendlier shops I've visited in our travels. You can read my blog post about it right here. And looking at that post, you'll see that the branding iron fabric and the barbed wire fabric came from the same store.

Also, you might remember when I purchased this fabric for the back when we visited Cortez Quilt Company in Cortez, Colorado, last year. I have six yards...plenty to make a back for this rather large quilt.

Okay, so now that I have my brain squared away about the cornerstones, I'll probably be adding one more fabric to this mix, but I'll have to take a look at the ones I've pulled again. Decisions, decisions. 

Today is a grocery shopping day, but there should be plenty of time for sewing. Now I'm kind of curious to see if I've got my quilter's math straight. Nothing is certain until the piecing is done.


Barbara said...

Life is a math equation. In order to gain the most, you have to know how to convert negatives into positives. ~ Anonymous

Julierose said...

[Darn it all]Life really can throw things at you fast--my hubs had
"Mohs on his nose" (poetry?? ) last year. I hope yours isn't too deep...sending good thoughts and prayers...[also that Tequila may just come in pretty handy;)))his drug of choice was beer!!]

Love that Dancing Chickens piece...really neat blocks...
I sure am looking forward to seeing how those barns get wet...
hugs, Julierose P.S. It is SNOWING here..and only 33 degrees--Whaaa the f&%$--it's way too early for this!!)

Cathy Smith said...

I hear you about COVID socializing. I live in a townhouse complex with quite a few dog owners who get out twice daily for walks. If I'm feeling the least bit isolated all I have to do is hang out on my driveway for a few minutes and someone will be along. We all keep our distance and I (being an old Girl Scout) am always checking to make sure I am upwind!

As for "elderly"? That term really grinds me, too! I keep forgetting (intentionally?) that I'm going to be 68 next month. I explain to anyone willing to listen that the brain is 30 years younger than the body it's trapped in!

gpc said...

My brain is ready to crack from all the info in your post. First, the elderly thing -- you are only creeping up, you are definitely not yet there. I know this because, when I turned 70, I realized, smack in the gut, that I had finally crossed that border. Now, at the end of next month, I will have to adjust to being officially OVER 70. So trust me, you are just a wannabee so simmer down, little one. And yes, encroaching age coupled with Covid has helped by having thoughts of death battle with thoughts of election possibilities, so it is something of an ugly blessing that way. But that was also the inspiration for getting those christmas quilts done and wrapped early, so silver lining.

Your quilt is going to be amazing, as they all tend to be, and you have once again amazed me with your foray into quilters' math. I would have ditched the pattern and just come up with a simple square and stip border. (Brushes hands.) Done.

Still love love loving that hobo quilt.

Oh Moh! (I knew you would appreciate that, with your inclination toward terrible puns.) I am sorry you have to go through this again.

So I am not jealous of that. And, old news, of course I am jealous of your skill. But I am also deeply, painfully, (almost but not quite bitterly) jealous of Sue. She is the BEST friend. I want her, or one just like her. She will have to show up, ready made, without any effort on my part, and I would appreciate it if that could be arranged quickly. I hope the Universe is listening, for once.

Lynette said...

Oh, Pooey! sorry you have to do another Mohs procedure. :P But, wow!!! Sure do love those 9 blocks!! Your Mulligan Stew is so close now - it's going to be a great quilt.

Quilting Babcia said...

Bummer about the mohs news. But you my friend are definitely Not in the "elderly" category, and neither am I, even though I probably have around ten years on you! In my book anyone under 85 is merely late middle-aged.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh Mohs! for your Nose! You will need that tequilla and love that sense of humor with the shot glass. DO NOT put that hobo quilt away again. It definitely has to be a finish this year ,, so stay with it.

QuiltShopGal said...

What a fun, yet purrplexing post. And what a great friend to bring you special medicine (numbing treatment) for your MOHS procedure. Here is wishing you an easy overall experience and a quick recovery where you soon feel this is just part of your history. As your history has many more adventures, creativity, yummy cooking and great fun ahead and waiting for you.

MissPat said...

You definitely lost me on the quilt math explanation, so I'll wait for the picture version. Sorry about the needed nose surgery. Doesn't sound very pleasant. Hope it goes smoothly. Yesterdays barn quilt tour was delightful. Imagine being able to see Mt Hood outside your windows.

piecefulwendy said...

Only a good friend would make you the perfect shot glass for your tequila - haha. Love it. Hope the procedure goes smoothly and quickly, and the recovery without too much pain. I know how that block turned out and it's a beauty! Will enjoy watching this quilt take shape!

Diane Wild said...

Oh, the dreaded Mohs procedure. I have had those also. Most recent one was in February before the Covid shutdown, fortunately. What I thought would be just a small incision (after all,it was only a tiny spot) turned into a 3 incher down my cheek. But, no scar. Sending good thoughts and prayers. All will go well.

Rosyquilter said...

My husband is on a first name basis with his "Mohs" surgeon. He has had many of these surgeries on his face and ears and some in Vancouver,(BC) and some in Mesa, AZ... and now a little closer to home in New Westminster (BC). I don't like being the nurse for these surgeries but after one particularly ugly surgery on his ear which involved skin grafts, I actually got a good report card when the surgeon saw him on a follow up visit. The beauty of the Mohs is that when you leave the room after surgery, you know it is gone.. vanished from your skin and body. And, after all the ugly healing, in the case of my husband, you would never know that they dug out a lump of flesh. Their stitching skills are perfection. So, hang in there... and I hope Mike is a good nurse who can deal with applying bandages that stay stuck in place. I also think that vacuuming, dusting, cooking, grocery shopping and cleaning toilets are tasks that you cannot perform while recovering... give Mike a head's up about that!

Auntiepatch said...

My grandmother said. "Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the center, the faster it goes."

Judy1522 said...

Hope all goes well with your procedure. I think you have picked some great fabrics for your quilt and looking forward to see the finish.

Stephanie said...

I love seeing the Barn quilt coming along. I feel that it was me that may have recommend the pattern to you a few years back. I used to work for a Bank call centre from noon to 8 supporting branch staff only. Let's just say I used to explain my job as being paid to surf the net, IE boring. We were not allowed to surf social media sites but blogs were fine. 1 PM was always my let's see what Barbs up to today, so thanks for the consistent daily posting. I'm retired now, at 47, (good planning, or extreme luck, in finding a hard working life partner) and find myself often looking at the clock thinking how did I get stuff done while I was still working? -- Sorry about the nose diagnosis but your friend is a gem! I have such a friend named Marilyn who will send me funny stuff in the mail addressed to Tequila Tammy. I often wonder what my postman thinks. Will close by saying Espolon reprisado is my tequilla of choice when I'm not lucky enough to have Cassimigos. All booze is expensive in Canada :-(

QuiltGranma said...

What a fun bunch of fabrics are in your stash!

dq said...

Barbara, the Appalachian Memories quilt will be fantastic! I just love barns!

The quilt you mentioned with the chickens and pigs block is amazing. I want one.