Sunday, January 6, 2008

QUILTING CARTOGRAPHER

Some days you wake up and you know your job and what needs to done. Other days, you know what needs to be done; you've spent lots of time thinking about how to do it; you've rehearsed in your head a million times (especially at night when you can't sleep.) You've maybe even spent some time working it out on paper and with the computer design software exactly how to proceed with the job at hand. But when it comes right down to it, you just have to jump in with both feet ... seam ripper in one hand and one finger of the other hand hovering above the STOP button.

This was the case with Tammie's quilt. She designed the top herself as a gift for her antique map collecting husband as a gift.

Tammie: "Wouldn't it be neat if you could quilt longitude an latitude lines on it? That shouldn't be too hard."
Kay: "Well, I'll see what I can do."
Tammie: "Before Christmas?"
Kay: "Sure, why not?" Those words were no sooner out of my mouth than I was shaking my head at myself. What was I thinking? Oh well, too late now, and who doesn't love a challenge. Like they say, "Just do it!"

After a little online refresher course in geography - it's been over ten years since I taught World Geography to 7th graders, I had a good idea where and how I wanted the design to go. Next stop was an appointment with the trusty AutoSketch software design program.

I didn't need to draw the piecing part of the quilt out, I just needed the dimensions of her quilt. I was then ready to work out a reasonable spacing interval between the lines. Don't forget the curves! How will I figure out those out? Remember to add in the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, an equator, and I think I've got it covered.

The latitude lines were easy because they are straight lines. I only had to remove ("frogging")the first two longitude lines because the P2P Curve1 didn't stitch the curved line as I had expected. The Pattern Height needed to be increased by 2.5 inches at each repeat to give the increasing curved line as I moved further and further from the center. The only other glitch to deal with was at the very last longitude line for the size of her quilt ... I ran out of throat space. I did have to digitize the to end connections to fill the outer corners.

Her husband was surprised and both were pleased with the end result. In hindsight, my recommendation: to save your peace of mind and eliminate a number of stops and starts (which can over time weaken the integrity of the quilt,) use a fancy compass rose design and some nautical motifs in the four corners rather than trying to get both of the ends to line up perfectly with the lines that were already stitched.

If you're able to attend the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show this year on July 12th, be sure to look for Tammie's quilt. She will be entering her quilt in the show.
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