Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ready, Set, Argyle!

Well, it's begun! I spent quite a while a few days ago cutting little fabric triangles so that I can begin assembly of the argyle baby quilt I'm making.

I'm following this tutorial, more or less.

Except my triangles are 4.5" x 3.5" cut size. And then I'm making vertical columns instead of horizontal rows of triangles, because I want my diamonds for the argyle to be horizontal instead of vertical.  Yes, that makes sense; trust me.

But I did use the tutorial to understand how exactly to line up the triangles when I get ready to sew them into pairs. You can't line up point to point, or they won't be right when you unfold them. You have to scoot the top triangle down just a bit so that your seam allowance falls in the right place. I only had to read that three times and look at the photo for five minutes and then scoot, measure, scoot, measure something like four or five times before I got my first pair lined up correctly. The mechanics of sewing do not always come easily to me, what can I say. Luckily, once I got the first one I figured out what to do so that the rest of my triangle pairs are nice and properly pointy when unfolded.

What I didn't see in the tutorial is a much needed admonition to make sure that if your left hand triangle points up & your right hand triangle points down, that you keep it that way throughout. Because if you just go all willy nilly, grabbing a triangle, plopping one down the opposite way, without paying attention to if you have a Down-Up or an Up-Down arrangement, you wind up with pairs that don't go together.

on the left, an Up-Down arrangement;
on the right, a Down-Up
See how the Up-Downs cannot be paired with the Down-Ups? Oops.

Fortunately I only had 5 pins in my little needle book at the time, so I only sewed 5 pairs of triangles together. Three of them wound up as Down-Ups and the other two were Up-Downs, so I quick decided the rest of that row would go with majority rule and be Down-Ups and set the errant two couples aside. I think I can use them in the next row if I do all Up-Downs for that row, though I'm not 100% sure that will work and I'm a little afraid to risk it.

However! I got enough triangles paired up to make the first row. Woot! This is double exciting because I needed that so I can figure the math that I messed up earlier.

all 20 pair; 40 triangles
takes most of the length of my dining room table
pardon the mess....

See, as I was deciding on size for this baby quilt, I remembered to subtract seam allowance and shrink each triangle from the cut size of 4.5" x 3.5" down to what will likely wind up being 4" x 3". Which means my rows, or rather columns, will each be roughly four inches wide, and depending on the size I make my argyle diamonds, I need either 12 or 18 columns.

I was originally thinking 12 and used that to determine -- aha! Twelve columns times four inches per column equals a width of roughly 48 inches. Perfect!  I say roughly because I learned on my first quilt that my seam allowances tend to be a smidge wide and thus my quilts tend to shrink a bit and be a little smaller than intended. Since this is not a pattern anyway, it's whatever I decide, so no problem.

Then I figured the length. I think I want somewhere around 45" x 60" more or less, so I divided that length of 60" by the width of each triangle, three inches. Lovely! I need 20 triangles per strip to have a strip that's 60" long!

Except, no. Because the two triangles go together topsy-turvy, so the base of one overlaps the base of the other. So the two triangles together are more like 4" (and really this will shrink more, I think, as each pair goes together....) when all is said and done. So I need forty triangles, twenty pairs. To make my sixty-ish inches. So I have a LOT more triangles to cut and then sew.

But! Still and all, today I paired up the first twenty pair of triangles (does one say pair or pairs for plural???), including the one that will be the point of the very first diamond for the argyle. Does it give you enough to see how the quilt will go together?

close-up of the bit that has the 1st diamond point
and so you can see the coraly-orangey-salmony color that I might match
I'm not planning to assemble the rows/strips/columns yet, as I'm still undecided on exact size of each argyle diamond, and also the color of that pesky center diamond. I had ruled out the green, thanks to a friend's suggestion, but then the more I look at it, the less sure I am that using the 2 purples I have will be enough contrast. So instead I might go with a perfectly splendid coral sort of color that matches the orangey-coraly-salmony color dots in the background, and is the print of the green floral I posted before. I'll post pics of that later; I forgot to take pictures of the fabric while I had the camera out.

Whew! My brief little update got really long! Sorry 'bout that! Wish me luck as I keep cutting and sewing, cutting & sewing. My machine goes to the machine doctor this weekend and hopefully I'll have it back soon, which will speed things up considerably. Meanwhile, it's fun handwork and easy to do a bit here & there.

Stay tuned for further updates as things progress! And soon a picture of The Writer's quilt progress, too.

1 comment:

  1. Complicated and yet I mostly understood that.... you are so much more braver than me! Pretty colours too.