Pantographs and Chain-Piecing

Dammit, they’re still there. It feels like they watch me stroll across my sewing room, waiting to to be clipped, pressed and trimmed into perfect squares. However, these chain-pieced bias squares lay strung over my ironing board, glaring at me like a bunch of mopey toddlers who have been placed into time out.

My grandson, who will soon be a teenager, has asked me to make him a quilt. Of course I was happy to say yes, I’m always happy to create something special for the people I love. I wanted to make sure it could be something he could take into high school and use all the way through his college years, so I was a little blown over when he told me the colors he’d like me to use were hot pink and teal. Teal? HOT PINK? It made a little more sense when he explained that it was the color of the year for the athletic shoe company Adidas, but still, hot pink?

I’m probably one of the only people I know who typically don’t plan out a quilt before I get to work on it. I usually just begin and see where the quilt takes me.

The older patterns are my favorite, particularly all of the ones with the super fun names like Hovering Hawks, Log Cabin, and of course, Puss in a Corner. The fancier ones are beautiful, and definitely fun to look at, but I think I’m partial to the older styles because they don’t have anything smaller than a 45 degree angle. I’m getting older, and I never need a good excuse to cuss. Those fancier patterns and designs would just be another excuse. I actually like the scrappy look, and my fabric stash holds enough fabric to put together many quilts of all sizes.

I start by pulling out all of the fabric that is the color of the day – blue, pink, purple, and get to work pressing and clipping. I become engrossed in the patterns as the creation unfolds itself. The quilt usually decides who it should go to after it’s decided what it wants to look like. It has always been that way for me, but maybe I’m alone in that.

I think the brainless chain-piecing drives me crazy because I’m not as young and nimble as I used to be. I can’t stand for long periods of time to slave over an ironing board, and I surely can’t get up and down as easily. I’m finding that the older I get, the more I should throw aside my ways of improvising my quilts and start planning them out, at least a little. Pantographs are my go to, because they help me decide what direction I want to take my quilt in. By knowing where I’m going, I have an easier time picking out fabrics and coming up with a design. Since my grandsons quilt should be with him through the beginning of manhood, I could choose a more masculine pantograph such as African Storm, Fish Net, City Scape or Game Night. Maybe it would help balance out the teal and hot pink, right?

But I digress, I should probably get started on these chain-piece squares. They will never get finished with my butt in this chair.