In Which the Author Fails at Math
It's hard to blog coherently about confusion, and even basic math is a fog of confusion for me. I am not one of those who proudly declares she's "terrible at math" because said deficiency is socially approved (much as not being a "morning person", not liking Mondays, and not being able to resist office snacks are foibles socially approved). My lack of math skills is frustrating and awkward; sometimes I really wonder if my brain is just built wonky, because I can't hold numbers in my head for even a minute. When I'm at the gym, lifting weights, I'll have to count and add all the plates on my bar multiple times EVERY TIME I ADD MORE WEIGHT! I'll be like "35 lb bar, plus ten on each side is... 35, 45, 55. Plus two fives, so that's plus ten... wait, what was I adding ten to?!" Every damn time. The coach is like "Great job, Karen? How heavy was that?" and I forget instantly, even if I just figured it out. The more numbers there are, the more I feel like I'm in a sea of strange faces, blank and indistinguishable, and not one is a friend.
So when doing quilt math (as I did last time), I do and re-do all my figures, check them against my ruler, and hope I wrapped my head around things right before I cut. If some other source tells me different than what I figured, I trust the other source more, because I have no faith in my own figures.
Remember when I wrote "My first instinct is to cut 15" strips along the Width of Fabric (WOF). If I cut enough for three squares (in medium and dark green), I'll have six HSTs when I only need five. Is there a better way to cut?" That question was my first mistake. I should have just stopped with my first instinct. Instead, I tried to economize fabric by cutting differently. Using a tutorial from Blossom Heart Quilts, I muddled through a Pythagorean equation and determined that the key measurement I needed, the x-height, was 10.6".
And then remember when I wrote "Incidentally, if a 15" square is 15" on its diagonal, and the x-height is the measure from the center to the corner, why wouldn't that just be half of 15"? Then I pulled out a square ruler and saw the halfway point was 7.5"? Yeah... a 15" square is not 15" on its diagonal; it's 21.213".
I should have cut my strips at 10.6" (plus 0.5" for seam allowances). I don't know why I was so certain that four equal sides meant the diagonal was also equal to the sides. I don't know why I saw 7.5" on the ruler. I hate math so much.
This is a long and frustrated way of saying that I think (still not sure) I should have cut my strips at 11" and then zig-zag cut them to get the HSTs I needed. That's not what I did. I cut 8.5" strips, for reasons that made sense at the time.
The next bit is trickier. I measure inward from the corners, and make vertical cuts at 3.5". Measuring in from the corners means that I keep the HST running neatly into the corner of those strips. Then I bisect the center piece and trim those pieces to 3.5" wide, as well. Now I have four columns, 14" tall by 3.5" wide. I reverse their order, and there's my Delectable Mountain shape!
If I sew the columns back together like this, I'll lose 1.5" in seam allowance, and I'll end up with a rectangle: 14" x 12.5". So I need to trim the columns' height by 1.5" first. For columns A and D, I trim 1.5" off the side that doesn't have the diagonal seam, because I want to keep that diagonal seam in the corner. For pieces B and C, I trim 0.75" off both top and bottom, the keep the diagonal seam in the middle. Now my columns are 12.5" x 3.5". When I sew them together I'll have a 12.5" square!
MOUNTAINS OR GRASS?
I now have a design quibble. The block is meant to be arranged as you have seen, with the mountain peaks ascending/descending evenly. But I intend this block to be reminiscent of grass, not mountains, and so I'm inclined to make it less of an incline, and more jagged. I rearrange the columns once more, and finis!
With this block and the Barrister's Block done, I am done all my piecing for this quilt top, and ready to do my appliqués! Hurray!
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
Blogs I Read