Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Call Me OCD…

Patterns, symmetry, balance, schedules, organization – all of these make me happy.  I do not do random well.  Normally, this randomness is never an issue, but this week, I am working on my quilt.  Having bought my fabrics and gloried in their lovely patterns and hues, I set about cutting the pattern pieces (very tedious work, by the way) painstakingly and precisely, so as not to mess it up.  Once the whole Quilt in a Day  was cut out (what a joke that is – it took me two days just to cut it out!), the laying-out process began.  I was at a total loss.  The eight different fabrics were to be laid out in a random pattern (is that an oxymoron?).

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I got out a piece of paper, and sketched the quilt as it should be, leaving blanks for the blocks to fill in with the proper fabric.  I could see a pattern emerging.  I began to panic.  This was supposed to be random, right?  No patterns!  In frustration, I erased it all.  How was I going to do this? 

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In despair, I did a google search for “random quilt pattern” (don’t you dare laugh!) and actually found a program that will determine your layout for you.  It did mention that it could take several hours for it to figure out your individual quilt layout. “Ummm… that’s probably  how long it will take me,”  I thought.  If I was a math whiz, I could use the probability formula to factor in four fabrics of 24 pieces each, and four more fabrics of 16 pieces each, divide it by the Pythagorean theorum, multiply it by my age, and divide the total by the number of gray hairs I was acquiring as I sat there stressing over the quilt pattern.  But I am not that awesome.  It would have to be done the hard way.  Lay it out, piece by piece on my spotless(ahem) laundry room floor.  *spotless in this instance means that the floor had just been swept, and all the large specks of dirt were gone – mostly.

I did figure out the number of pieces of each color that I would have to include in each row to avoid having a plethora of the same fabric in one area.  From that figure, I began my random pattern layout.  I told you I was OCD!

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No two pieces of the same fabric could be long sides together, so it took some work.  Thankfully, I had a friend who helped me with this first row.  We laid out the blocks as random as we could.  It was a mental workout.  I never knew randomness was so hard! 

The next morning, after I had recovered somewhat from all the mental strain, I went back to my creation.  I figured that if I rearranged the block order, keeping the same fabric combinations in each row, that I could have the randomness that I needed while not establishing a pattern (my one weakness).  I set at it with a vengeance, determined to be random…

This is what I ended up with.  Of course, it actually is random, because in rearranging the block order, I had to switch swatches (say that ten times fast) in order to keep same fabrics from being next to one another.  Sometimes I had to change them up in order to get a more pleasing combination.  All in all, the very randomness of it is quite pleasing, because it was such a challenge for my pattern-oriented brain! :)

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After getting it all laid out, I quickly filled in my chart so that I would not lose my pattern, and picked up the pieces and put them in piles of rows replete with post-it notes.  Now this I can do!  Organization reigns supreme in my workshop once again!

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Now comes the fun part – sewing it all together!  It will take more than a day (I wonder if I can sue for false advertising), but I am so excited about this project!  I will keep you updated on my progress. 

Are you a pattern/symmetry person or a random person?

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