## Thursday, January 26, 2012

### The 7% Solution

Some people have math anxiety. I have math paranoia.

Even with my trusty calculator nearby on the desktop of my computer or on the dining nook shelf, I'm still afraid of math. I worry that I have put the numbers in wrong or, perhaps, that I've chosen the wrong symbol for the function, or just plain chosen the wrong function.

So the making of a quilt backing is usually a nightmare for me. One lady who is a longarmer suggested that I simply buy the  108" wide quilt backing fabric. That would be a great idea if I had a lot of disposable income. On my fixed income, with a twenty year old monster stash, it seems silly to buy MORE fabric when all I need to do is to piece together what I have! Sigh.

Yesterday, I put together the prewashed and dried-in-the-dryer printed flannel into a giant piece for the backing of Patches & Pinwheels. It is deep brown and cream. Here it is as I had the pins in it ready to haul it over to my sewing machine. It sure looks funny all poofed up like that!

The good news is that I finished it, yippee!!! The bad news is that it shrunk so much that it is gonna be a squeaker for it to fit. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that it will work for my longarmer. Pieces that were cut at 96" long, measured 89" after washing and drying. That is 7" of length lost over the course of 3 yards! If you divide the 7" into the 96" it comes out 7% lost, I think. (anybody is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong) It was sale flannel from Joann's, so I guess that I got what I paid for.

I can never get my scrap pieces, chunks, squares, rectangles to look artfully arranged on the back, and yes, there was that math thing! Finally, I went through all my left-overs, and cut them into 8 1/2 inch squares (10 1/2 in. would have been better/easier) and I piece them together (sometimes) for the backing. The math is easier, especially the 10 1/2 in. size. It is surprising how nice all the blue looks, then all the whatever, then the next color on the diagonal. They don't have to match. Of course, this idea came from Quiltville.com. 8-))) And it IS fun to see the variety of fabric, as well as the back appears to have been cleverly thought out (even when it's simply dumb luck).

Plus, it got rid of those pieces I didn't know what to do with!

justducky65 said...

Unfortunately, I have had experience with flannel shrinking that much when purchased from Joann's before, too. I don't work with flannel much for quilting, so I wouldn't even know what the percentage is with quilter's flannel say from a quilt shop. Hope it all works out for you, and if it is too short, perhaps you could piece an interesting strip using some of the fabric from the front to add to the backing to get it back to the length you wanted.

Kathleen said...

I'm with you when it comes to figuring out the yardage for backing fabric. It drives me nuts especially when the quilt is queen size, which is what I like to make. I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you.

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

Since I hand quilt, I go with the 108" fabric. If I have any leftover (if I'm making a smaller quilt), it gets added to my growing stash. Because I don't buy fabrics just to build a stash and because I hand quilt and thus cannot make nearly as many quilts as those who do not hand quilt, I can justify spending the extra money on the wider backing fabrics.

Kim said...

Make it easy on your machine quilter and do what mine tells me to do. Add 4 inch strips of fabric all the way around with the wrong side of the fabric facing out so she knows it is just for putting on the frame but not to quilt it.
Works like a charm.

Happy Sewing