Mmmmm, sounds like a good name for a quilt! But what I really was getting at is how much finagling do you do to solve a problem? When I first began making quilts I fudged quite a bit. I was quite good at it in fact. Fabric got stretched or eased into place as needed. Between that and the steam iron, everything seemed to work out fine. Granted, I really didn't know what I was doing, and I wasn't a very good judge of quality, but dang it, I could get those seams to match! I have to admit, that was back in the day of cheap fabric too. Obviously that was a good thing. If you are going to learn the process, you may as well do it on cheap fabric! Now I am paying for the good stuff and I want a good quality product.
The beauty of rotary cutting equipment is that your cutting can be very precise. You must make sure that you don't let that ruler slip around. In the past I would put a piece of rubber mesh shelf liner under the ruler to hold it in place. Seriously! Now there is a filmy product you can stick to the back of your rulers that I really like. I especially like it on small rulers. For some reason they seem to be more slippery. Better yet, the Omnigrip rulers have the non-slip surface on them. Also you need to learn where to place your fingers to hold the ruler in place...and that is out of the path of the cutter!
I was thinking about all this yesterday as I sewed blocks together. I love to make scrap quilts, and so I can't help but make a mess as I drag out fabrics from various boxes in my sewing room. I love to mix up the fabrics into several different configurations. If there are three or four fabrics in a block, I try and dream up three of four possible scenarios. I cut up all the pieces and make nice little piles for each block. I have discovered of late that it is best to do the fabric coordinating in the daylight. So that is when I do my cutting. The light is good, and I am better able to focus on the process.
Blocks are finally completed and scattered over the surface of the quilt to the best of my ability, according to fabric and "heaviness" of the block. In other words, a block with darker colors appears heavier to me. I aim for balance. Next step: Figure the size of the setting triangles. You always want the vertical line of the setting triangles to be on the straight of grain. I always make one tester piece to make sure it is the right size. In this case I make 11-1/4" squares and cut them twice diagonally like an X. Perfect! One of my favorite words! Sew the setting triangles on each block and sew the strips together in long rows. Here is another situation to monitor: Make sure the rows don't curve. This can happen easily because the seams are all diagonal. I pin like crazy to avoid this. As you smooth the strip over the design wall you may see a row that curves a little. Here is where we go back to the Fudge Factor! It is necessary to adjust a seam just a tiny bit to take it up or let it out. All the rows need to measure the same also, which may bring the Fudge Factor back into play once again. Hopefully my quilt won't require too much of this!
I am now at the point where I need to make a final decision on the alternate strip fabric. In a perfect world I would have had this figured out first and then played the block fabrics off of the main fabric. I started out thinking I would use the narrow blue strip. It has been in my stash for years and I want to use it. I had quite a few blocks done when I held up the brown fabric. I love this nice rich brown with red accents. Back to the blue, maybe I would like it better if it is wider? These are the dilemmas I now face. Maybe if I use the brown I will call the quilt Fudge Factor!