Section One, Complete

Section One, Gypsy Wife Quilt

I’m not wholly thrilled with this section. I discovered that the quarter-inch foot I have been using is more than an quarter inch. I have also discovered that this pattern requires a scant-quarter inch. A scant quarter inch is an imaginary number, and I am just supposed to magically know what the imaginary spacing is and sew at it consistently? Seriously?

I love Jen Kingwell’s designs, but I don’t think much of her patterns. She leaves far too much to “guess” to suit me. If I am buying a pattern, I expect it to actually provide direction, not approximation. One of our group quilt along admins is an engineer and even she has admitted she’s had trouble figuring out the math and translating the ideas for us. If I were doing this alone, I probably would have quit by now.

As it is, a good many members of our group are substituting blocks when they can’t make things work. Plus, a significant portion of our 2876 members are waiting to see if we’re actually successful before they even begin, and several people have already “noped” out of the group. My advice to anyone tempted to do The Gypsy Wife Quilt is to find the pattern, read it carefully and be sure you know what you’re getting into (it’s a 36 page book and it is not put together in order), then find or form a support sewing group and everyone work together. I have my online sewing group, and Amoeba. By the time I’ve finished this quilt he’ll have about as much invested in it as I do (maybe even more since I tend to use his wallet when I go shopping).

Section Two begins on March 2nd. I don’t know that I’ll be starting on time. My sewing space is a little out of control and needs some tidying. I think I’ll spend the weekend trying to stuff it all back into dust- and light-proof storage containers and onto shelves.

One section done. Only nine more to go.

One of These is NOT Like The Other

Something seams to be wrong.

My beautiful, bordered flower-square in a square has five tiny squares at its base. Those squares are each a snippet of strips. I don’t like working with small pieces, which is partly why I choose to work with this pattern. It has a bazillion “out of my comfort zone” elements that I need to tackle.

This is the correct orientation of the strip squares.
This seams much better!

Have you found my mistake? Apparently “right-side-up” is also an element I need to add to my skill set. As I’ve mentioned before, all these strips run through the quilt from top to bottom and they are supposed to line up. I’ve barely started and I’m already having trouble keeping them in order.

I am also struggling with those tiny pieces. I don’t “seam” straight. It is a good thing this is a scrappy quilt. The wildness of the design will help camouflage my wobbles.

Section One, Part C, challenged me.

Oops: Take Two

The center of section #1.
An “oops” in the center of section #1.

My seam ripper and I have been spending quality time together. Her name is “Dame It,” because that is what I yell whenever I need her.

The “Puss in the Corner” block is actually the “Puss in the Center” of section #1. This part of the section was very easy to put together — and I still had to use my seam ripper because I sewed the two long strips on the wrong side of Puss.

This is the correct orientation of the strips in the center section of my Gypsy Wife Quilt.
This is the correct strip orientation.

The strips will ru the full length of the quilt, top to bottom. They will be intersected by other blocks. I am trying to keep the strips scrappy and colorful, in the true spirt of Jen Kingwell’s, Gypsy Wife Quilt pattern, yet still have my blocks hold their own amid the chaos. I chose the strips with careful deliberation. Setting out to make things both clash and match is a mental workout. I have a feeling keeping the strips in order from top to bottom may very well provide Dame It with steady exercise, as well.

Section 1, Part B; ready.


No, I didn’t spell that incorrectly.

This photo shows a section of TheGypsy Wife Quilt at a partial seam intersection.
Why So Unseamly?

There are several places in this quilt that call for partial seams. I’ve never before sewn a partial seam. I didn’t find the idea hard to grasp, but the execution was a little trickier. Do you see all the seam intersections there where the partial seam is? That’s what added the “un” to the “seamly.”

All those little pieces, all those seams going every which way, and then a partial seam to boot, made pressing this section a blast. (Not.) Early on, someone in the GWQ sewing group suggested we tack all of our sewn seams down with dots of Elmer’s washable glue. Now I know why. I didn’t use glue, but it might have made attaching the red quatrefoil strip easier.

In case you don’t understand what I’m babbling about, the small green polka dot square and the orange-yellow square are the same size, and are sewn together completely. The red quatrefoil strip has to be sewn to the green polka dot strip in order to attach it to the square in a square block on the far left, however, if I sew the quatrefoil strip the full length of the green polka dot strip, I won’t be able to correctly attach the red and blue pinwheel at their right. That’s why a partial seam was required.

I’m sure I didn’t explain that well. How could I when it is still a jumble in my mind? However, I successfully completed my first partial seam and am hoping that the insight I gained while doing so will make the dozen or so partial seams still to come easier to complete.

This photo shows the furthest right segment of Section One in the Gypsy Wife Quilt.
Section One, underway.

So far, so good. Section One, 1/3rd done.

Auditioning Strips

Five multicolored quilt blocks on a background of clashing, patterned, colorful, fabric strips.
Auditioning clashing yet coordinated fabric strips.

I laid the number of strips out called for in section one of The Gypsy Wife Quilt pattern. Colors are completely up to the creator, the pattern gives no concrete guidance. I am struggling to create the traditionally wild and eclectic Gypsy Wife Quilt background without smothering my blocks. I’ve succeeded in keeping my blocks defined, but Amoeba is dissatisfied with the two plain blue strips, and wants me to separate the two red strips. I am “meh” about the blues, but I love those reds together. One person has told me I need to move the yellow strip on the right, and another person told me that they absolutely love the way the right end strips all play together and asked me not to remove the yellow one.

All these strips are making me dizzy. Why don’t you go ahead and share your thoughts on the audition before I stitch them in to a permanent contract?