Friday 28 July 2023

41 Country Quilting Projects: Geese and Tulips Pillow


I have seen this book in thrift stores several times.
Now that I've completed a number of the 50 projects, I'm beginning to understand why. Yes, I know lots of quilting books end up in thrift stores. I know because I've bought lots of them there. But it's not often I see the same one multiple times. And it could be because it's just not a really great book. I question whether or not anyone ever tested the patterns. Ideally, a pattern should be tested by someone who is not the designer, to determine that the instructions are clear and adequate to actually produce the end product. Someone needs to "follow the recipe" to make sure they can actually make the "soup". 😊 Otherwise, you end up with a book like this one, where the measurements are not always correct, supplies are missing from the supply list and steps in the assembly are missing altogether. I can't imagine being a novice quilter tackling some of the projects in this book, hoping to be successful, even some of the ones rated as "Easy".
This pillow was one that was rated easy. It definitely was not. Some of the instructions are rather silly: to make Template A, draw a 7" square and cut in half diagonally. Why not just cut out the 7" squares of fabric and cut them in half? Why would I need a template for that? Or "When ready to appliqué, remove paper before fusing pieces to background fabric." I appreciate that some people might not be aware of this necessity, but considering the fact there are really no detailed instructions for the appliqué, it's rather ironic that they would include this. Nowhere in the supply list is there any mention of embroidery floss or instructions on how else one would get the flower stems and eyes into the picture.
Fortunately, I have rudimentary embroidery skills and recently, when I was searching for an apron pattern, I came across my embroidery supplies. And since I've never done a French knot, I also had beads available that worked for the eyes. 
Finally, after attaching two double-sided ruffles, I had to struggle with all of that bulk to get the back of the pillow attached with a ¼" seam. That was about as much fun as sewing the stuffed biscuits together when making the Rainbow Biscuit Quilt
In spite of all that, I love this pillow. In the book, it's done in blues and white, which I normally love, but it just didn't do it for me. The geese and tulips looked cartoonish and I considered appliqéing something different on this pillow. Remember, my goal is to complete every project in this book. And I decided to go ahead with the geese. And, while they are rather odd looking, the fabric, the colours - whatever it is - it just "sings" to me. 
If you happen to have or see this book, you will notice that my appliqué is reversed. Rather than trace the design onto paper or directly onto the fabric as the instructions suggest (another weird idea), I chose to trace it directly from the book onto the fusible web. And since the fusible web goes onto the back of the fabric, the design was reversed. 
Do I intend to continue with my goal of completing every project in this book, in spite of the book's shortcomings? Yes, actually, I do. I like a challenge. And I believe I figured out the project count in this book. Under one title, there may be more than one project. So, for example, under "Mini Patchwork Ornaments", there are 3 different ornaments, each considered a project. With this pillow, I have then completed 9 projects, and hence my countdown now states 41 as that is how many I have left to complete. 

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