Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Dragon Quilt - Part 1

Compared to some of the help I've received
this is looking good...

As as aside, I'm not sure why I stress about having everything ready and all the pictures uploaded before I start writing a post.

Over the past two weeks, I've been hard at work on the second quilt top - the Dragons - which is based on Carrie's Cowboy Corral.  In an earlier post, I described the process of selecting fabric for the rails to go along with these wonderful dragons. The dragons take up roughly 6 to 7 inches of space depending on how you frame them.  I decided to reduce the quilt to 7 blocks by 9 blocks as compared to the original 9 by 11 in Carrie's as the quilt would be proportionally larger - and I'm not confident in my ability to quilt something too large just yet.

I sewed the strips for the rails in one evening, and spent two more leisurely cutting the blocks. I did take the time to ensure that the blocks were properly squared this time, so there would be less lopsidedness. For the last three blocks, one side was mysteriously narrow - so I stuck a pin in the narrow strip to remind myself to adjust the seam allowance and that worked.

It did take me some time to get started on the dragons, as I fretted some about fussy cutting the dragons.To add to this, I only had two yards of the dragon fabric, and Thimble Pleasures sold out - though it is still available online.  As it turns out, 2 yards yielded exactly 32 usable dragons.  It might have yielded more if I'd been a little more methodical in the cutting, rather than trying to get certain colors first, and I was very worried that I'd be short a dragon or two as I already knew the fabric was gone.

The end result was 8 green, 7 purple, 7 red, 6 blue and 4 orange dragons.  I have now made a strong note to myself to never again use 5 colors when the yield is not divisible by 5.  I suppose I could have skipped using the orange ones (as I detest the color orange), and tried to cut 8 of the other four colors - but the orange dragon is cool - and adds a bit of brightness.

Once everything was cut, the next challenge was to lay it out and decide on the color pattern.  I used the 2 yard flannel backed vinyl that I got a JoAnne's recently - and laid it on the bed. I'm looking forward to having the wall space to hang it as the bed has the hazard of plucking Corgis off of it and involves too much stretching and bending.

My initial goal was to create a random scattering of the dragons with a few simple rules:  1. Orange cannot be next to blue; 2. Orange cannot be along an outside edge because it would be next to the blue border (I'm a FSU Seminoles fan - nuff said); 3. Purple dragons should not be in the purple frames and red dragons should not be in the red frames; 4. Same color dragons should not be side by side or above/below in relation to one another and if possible also not on the diagonal. 5. Avoid too much red & purple together as the colors are of similar intensity.

So - an hour or two later, every time I thought I had the dragons organized, I would find a patch of three of one color in one of the corners - and switching dragons would just switch the cluster to a different color in a different corner.  At this point I started looking at placing the colors on the diagonals and still tried to keep the orange and blue apart...  Eventually, I settled on this one. And then called Mike in for his opinion. And yes, I did have to drop some of my restrictions on where the orange dragons could be placed.  This might have been easier in the 9 by 11 layout - or might have been even more frustrating. I ended the evening by rolling up the design wall and heading to bed.

1 comment:

Quilterrits said...

I love it, my son and I just finised a book called my Dad the Dragon. I am skipping the quilt that requires fussy cutting. I may come back to that later. You are so brave!