Monday, March 18, 2013

The Salt Air Battle

Did you ever have a batch of fabric just wear you out? You bought it innocently enough, knowing you loved it, but when it came time to decide what to do with it, you met roadblocks at every turn. Salt Air has done that for me. The minute I saw it, I knew I had to have it, but other projects kept it on the shelf until just recently.

The whole time I've had it, my plan has been to make the pattern Wedding Bands by Judy Martin:

Salt Air has such beautiful shades of peach and what I call seafoam green that I could just picture the background in 4 shades of one of those colors with the stars made out of the other colors in the line. The day came for me to get serious about ordering some solids, but when I pulled out my Kona card I could only find one or two coordinating colors, finding 4 peaches or 4 greens (or blues, or grays, or reds, or creams, or golds) just wasn't going to happen. I tried googling to see what solids other people used, and that's when I learned that Moda Bella solids are designed to have matching solids for any Moda line. So I ordered a Moda Bella color card, but honestly, the Kona colors matched better. (Still glad I have the Bella card for future use.)

So, I abandoned that pattern completely and went off searching for another. Judy Martin has so many beautiful quilts in her book, Stellar Quilts, and I struggled with a few of those patterns, trying to make this fabric fit, but I finally accepted that it just didn't. Which left me absolutely at square one.

I googled obsessively, and saw some fabulous quilts, but most people treated this line "scrappy" and I just couldn't let go of the fact that I didn't want to do that. One aspect of this line is the huge range of value within each color. I seemed to prefer when the different fabrics of one color line were together to show that off, rather than all the colors mixed together. With all the colors, you just don't notice the shading as much.

(See - aren't they gorgeous?)

Based on that, it took an embarrassingly long time for me to decide to limit the color palate and let go of the idea of using all the fabrics in the bundle. Once I did that, I instantly thought of the hopscotch pattern I bought last year and very happily settled on the grays, blues, and greens for the triangles, and the reds for the diamonds that make up the stars. (The pattern uses blue & white for these diamonds, so the star is not readily visible.)

So excited was I that I immediately settled on Kona peach for the center of the triangles and, wanting a little extra just in case, bought 2 1/2 yards instead of the 1-3/4 yard the pattern called for. Wait, did you notice the dash? Because I obviously didn't. The difference between 1-3/4 yard & 1 3/4 yard is a whole yard, because the first is telling you to buy one 3/4 yard piece of fabric and the other is telling you to buy one AND 3/4 yards of fabric. So, what I have is one AND 3/4 yards too much fabric. Good thing it's pretty.

And in case you think Salt Air is through kicking my butt, the seams come together at an angle rather than straight on, so they don't nestle. It's the same issue I had with the Pam Kitty Morning quilt - without nestled seams, getting perfect alignment is based on nothing other than your degree of accuracy in both cutting and sewing. My results with Pam Kitty Morning were pretty darn close, but since Hopscotch is all biased edges, it doesn't matter how careful or accurate I am, something is going to stretch or wobble and throw me off. I did starch my fabrics very well, but a biased edge is a biased edge. I spent several hours on this yesterday, and while I have some really decent blocks to show for it, it was too much work. There has to be a trick - some way to insure decently matching seams.

Lucky for us, well, for me anyway - maybe you're smart enough to not get caught in this position - there is a trick, called a positioning pin, and Connecting Threads cared enough about us to explain it in great detail.

All of that to say, I think I'm going to win the Salt Air battle after all.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. 


  1. Thanks for the link o the tutorial! Your lock looks perfect, cannot wait to try it out!

  2. Beautiful block - I really like your choice to use the Kona peach in the triangles to set off the Salt Air fabrics. Also your seams look great - I'll have to put that tutorial to good use myself!

  3. I really like the peach with your other fabrics. I wouldn't have thought of that.

  4. Very good article about the positioning pin - thanks for sharing that. Even though I do that sometimes, it was a good read. And your Hopscotch is looking lovely. I agree about the matching being a little tricky but the end result will be lovely! I made one too a while back.

  5. Um I'm so glad you're going to win because that is stunning!!!

  6. Have you ever thought of glue basting your seams with elmer's glue? use a dab of glue to set it and make sure its right before you sew. A little water or steam and you can re position it.

  7. Oh looove what you are doing with it! I just cut into my salt air fabric (I only bought one yard, but have been hoarding it for over a year), it is a beautiful line of fabric :-)

  8. These blocks are beautiful and the whole quilt will be stunning! I'm sure. I have the hopscotch pattern, but haven't had a chance to start it. Thanks for posting the positioning pin article. I do this sometimes, but not enough, now I know I'll need to use it when I get to my hopscotch.