Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Barstools, Whirligigs, Distractions

"Sometimes ya jus' gotta stop 'n think!" 

I made good progress last week on those barstool covers, then lost a bit of momentum with having to stop and cut out more seat backs. I eventually located the misplaced cover fabric, cleared my cutting area – again –  and cut out the remaining backs.

Looking ahead, I started to think about adding the tabs for the Velcro. I realized their position is not as flexible as I initially thought. The Velcro from the Seat Back Back and the Seat Back Front both grip to the Velcro on the underside of the seat. I need to get the length just right so they can each reach and align with the mating strips of Velcro on the stool itself without interfering with each other. This is not a show stopper but, as I said "Sometimes ya jus' gotta stop 'n think!" Having to explain it by writing it here with photos helps.

There is a  lot of Velcro - 30 feet of it – so I need to think this through. I will measure the sewn barstool cover and compare it with the one I used as a model and use that dimension directly. That way I will not risk the two halves of Velcro failing to align due to accumulate offsets from the seam allowances.

While I was pondering the Velcro, I assembled the remaining four seat backs. The tricky part was rounding those upper corners and matching my registration marks but I went slowly and eased it in. Those red arrows in the next photo had to align. The top stitching took even more care to assure the seam allowance on the inside was directed toward the back while stitching around the compound curve on the two corners from the top on the outside.

All my top-stitching is complete and I next I need to joint the seat top to the seat back. The covers do not fit my dining room chairs at all, but I had to see what the five of them would look like. Since the amount of fabric was a limitation – as was the thinking capacity of my brain  – they are not identical in fabric matching. I  may play a few games with how I pair the seat tops with the seat backs before I sew the joining seams.

Even with a view from the back, I think the pattern is carefree enough in appearance that a formally aligned look is not necessary. Those dark starbursts and airy loopy circles look relaxed just scattered about. But I did pay attention so that all the dandelion heads on stems point up. Next to do are those four short seat-to-top seams and then the Velcro.

My barstool progress was disrupted, although very pleasantly, by taking a class from Sandy Klop last Thursday. I could not resist cutting out a bit more of a grey neutral to lay out a whirligig block in dark on light versus my one in class that was light on dark. I call them whirligigs because to me a pinwheel has four arms and these have six. Besides whirligig is such a fun word! Here are the two whirligigs side by side. The left one has not been seamed yet and so looks larger. It really is bigger on the design wall and not just an optical illusion.

But this raises the question if both whirligigs should spin counter clockwise, if both should spin clockwise, or if there should be one of each? Here they are as one of each.

I like one of each better because the blocks that have non-neutral colors can be perceived as stars or whirligigs if you stare at them long enough. If viewed as whirligigs, color choice can make them appear to rotate either way. I am opting for similar variety in spin direction in the neutrals; but I had to think about that.

My fabric choices were directional so that leads me to more opportunities to think. This reminds me of a quote of anonymous origin, "You can lead a man to knowledge but you can't make him think". Directional fabric makes me think. (By the way, that barstool cover fabric was directional, too.) Both the white hearts and the grey crowns in this block are directional so I need to be careful how they are cut, stacked, and assembled. In the next photo all the crowns are consistent but two white heart fabric pieces in the lower left triad were cut with the hearts pointing away from the triad center and so must be swapped out before I sew this block.

The crown fabric was cut from a fat quarter and so I did not get as many pieces as I would have from a full width strip. Never the less, I layered three strips in the same orientation, stacked the cut pieces in like oriented piles, and at least will aim to be consistent within a block.

While I am thinking about sewing, and preparing to sew, I am also distracted by what I would love to to knit.  My daughter wants this Debbie Bliss designed jacket for her son, now six months old. I haven't started yet. I have not yet succeeded in finding the right weight, machine washable, yarn in a color combination that wows me.

I also just bought a book of baby knits and discovered this set of book buddies when I cleared my cutting table. These little sticky note are just too cute for words. You can write notes right on them and pretend those chubby, chatty kitties are whispering to you. In case you can not read their names in the photo, they are Benny, Henrietta, and Milo!

This trio makes it so easy to mark way too many items for future projects. I have a granddaughter due in May, so the wheels are turning and my fingers are itching.

Have you heard the phrase "His eyes are bigger than his stomach?" There ought to be a similar phrase and sentiment for wanting to quilt and sew and knit and crochet too many other things. I guess I will nurture that craving by cruising on over to this week's Works In Progress at Freshly Pieced and look at the work of others.


  1. I cannot believe how much work those barstool covers are. I'm so sorry!

    1. It is only a lot of work because I am figuring things out as I go. Believe me, the workers in the factory that makes them can spit them out quickly once they know what they are doing. I am in the home stretch now. Barring any disasters you should have them by Valentine's Day. And please do not be sorry. It is a growth opportunity for me and I have been fascinated by the cleverness and subtleties of the Danish design. Seeing them lined up on my dining room chairs has given me the idea of making Santa hats for the chair backs for next holiday season. See? You inspired me!