How My Brain Works

I could call this something impressive like “A Journey Into the Creative Mindset” or something but that’s way too uppity for my mindset. I’m working on a quilt made out of a wedding dress for Nio. I told myself that I was going to make it simple. Simple, simple, simple. Since I know myself I made a drawing of a simple medallion quilt with borders. I labelled the borders. Simple, simple, simple.

I took the lace off the bodice of the dress while watching a DVD. I figured since the rest of the quilt is going to be so simple that I could survive doing some applique. I pinned the lace to a piece of the satin from the dress. I appliqued it on. Nice and easy even for a non-appliquer like me. No problems. Simple is good.

Then I tried to cut out a square around the lace I appliqued. Here I hit a snag. The satin is bias cut. That makes it nice and drapey for a dress but hell spawn for a quilt. Everytime I cut it and remeasured the piece was larger. It was stretching every time I looked at it. I had to add satin border strips to the sides of the medallion to make it the size I wanted. Sewing bias satin to bias satin and trying to end up with a square? Crazy.

I cut my next border out of lovely tame cotton fabric. I convinced the satin to cooperate with the cotton and ended up with a square again. Happy, happy. But the next border was supposed to be satin again. Not only is there not enough in the dress to make the strips I needed for this border and the satin one I expected to use later, but sewing longer satin strips might push me over the edge. Time for a new plan.

I auditioned fabrics. I thought about piecing. Nothing was quite right. Then my brain took over. “There are curves in the lace. There should be curves in the border.” I hadn’t gone totally around the bend. No applique or pieced curves. I decided on snail’s trail blocks.

I went off and drafted snail’s trails blocks to paper piece because then I can use the satin and let the paper control it. I laid the block next to the center. It is too big. I tried to convince myself that making the blocks half the size would be better. But the idea of making twice as many blocks to cover half the width seemed crazy even to me.

If I made the pieced blocks an outer border though, it wouldn’t overwhelm the center. Oooh, that was smart! Of course that means that I have to make more big blocks but it will look better. Simple, simple, simple is threatening to collapse. I knew I couldn’t go through with it. (It’s ok Nio this is really my idea of a good time!)

Here’s a close up of the lace part.

Lace center


  • quiltpixie

    I worked with velvet this summer and found the stretch something like what I imagine working with bias cut satin to be. I found sanity only when I fused it to a light weight interfacing to stabilize it! You’ve done remarkably well if you haven’t used the rotary cutter on your wrists dealing with constantly shifting bias! 🙂

  • Lewis

    Thanks much for visiting my site today and for the comment. After looking at your post about the dress and lace, I see why my quilt piece caught your eye. I spent a few minutes going back through your posts. I really did enjoy the reading! I’ll be back, for sure — and hope that you will be too. Take care.

  • Claire

    Thanks for the comment on my new 101 list. I just put that page up! I’m looking forward to knocking the items off my list one by one. You must not live too far from my part of Ohio if you’re visiting COSI and the Wilds. I have a suggestion for your classic book if you haven’t already read it – The Count of Monte Cristo. Its thrilling!

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