Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dodging the UFO bin

Sometimes projects end up in the UFO (unfinished object ) bin just because I lose interest in them. I get excited to start a new project or maybe I just get bored. Or, sometimes it's because I just get fed up. Okay, this is going to be a bit of a rant! Sometimes patterns are just badly written and cause so much frustration that the whole project gets thrown aside in disgust. That is what almost happened to this quilt.

The story of: The Fallout Shelter Quilt

I very rarely buy kits. I like to choose my own fabrics, especially from my stash, if possible. I found this kit on sale at a quilt show. I wasn't crazy about the pattern (there was something about it that bothered me and I couldn't pinpoint what it was), but it was a package of reproduction fabrics at a forty percent discount. How could I pass that up? I knew I could use them in a scrappy quilt. Then the pattern started to grow on me and I decided to make up the kit just the way it was meant to be.

Yes, the thing that bothered me should have been obvious! 
The blocks were fun to make and went together quickly by cutting sixty degree triangles from strip sets. Still, there was something nagging at me about those blocks! I worked on them at a retreat and that's when my friend Sandi pointed out that they looked like warning signals. Yep, that's what it was that had been bothering me!
But now my quilt had a name: The Fallout Shelter Quilt!

Do these still exist?
The blocks sat for a while until I finally put them up on the design wall to figure out my setting. They were easy to put together in rows. Next step: the dreaded set-in side triangles. I did put those off for a while but when I finally made myself sew them in, it was pretty easy.
So far, so good!
Next step: the sixty degree triangle border. The pattern said to cut "lots" of them. Really? Could we be more specific? I counted the triangles in the picture on the cover of the pattern to determine how many I would need. They were to be cut  from (3) 3.25" strips each of the light and dark fabrics according to pattern. Wrong!! There was no way could I get enough triangles from 3 strips! I ended up having to cut seven strips from each fabric in order to have enough  triangles to go around the quilt. Luckily I had enough yardage in the kit to do that, but now I didn't have any binding fabric.

Name of pattern and designer covered to protect the guilty.
Now the pattern goes backwards. Before the triangle border goes on, a little spacer border goes on  so the  blocks float and  also to get the quilt to the correct size so the triangles fit. To determine the width  of the little floater border, you simply follow these instructions:
Okay, when I purchase a pattern, I expect that the math has been done for me.
Isn't that why we buy the pattern instead of figuring it out on our own?
This almost looks suspiciously like algebra.
After my eyes uncrossed, I realized I only had the barest amount of the black print left, so I just cut what I could, piecing together scraps from the previous steps. I didn't even try to figure out the crazy formula given in the pattern--I just kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best.
Yay! The triangle border fit with a little finessing
I love Jo Morton fabrics, but not this one for the border on this quilt.
The kit had a Jo Morton red and black print for the last outer border. It wasn't working for me somehow. Instead, I chose a blue/gray from my stash and I'm pretty happy with it. I will bind it with a solid black, also from my stash.

Now it goes into the "To Be Quilted" bin. At least it was saved from the bottomless UFO bin!


  1. "Lots"? I'd accept that in a free tutorial on someone's blog, or maybe a book teaching you how to design your own scrap quilts...but in a kit you paid money for? That doesn't seem right?

  2. Thanks for a good laugh! Yikes those directions are complicated and inadequate! If it's any consolation I think its a very nice looking quilt and the blue border looks great on it!

  3. You are really a trooper! Good for you.
    I think the quilt turned out very nice and I like the blue border better than the red.

  4. No wonder it was in the UFO bin! It did turn out to be a really cute quilt though. I just wish you had mentioned the name on the pattern so I would know who to stay away from.