One of the big ironies about my being a quilter ~ and writing quilt patterns ~ is that I was one of those students who sat in math class and adamantly assured my teachers that I was never going to need math. Never. Nope. Not me! Not a chance.
Only those math-loving folks who pursued math degrees and did math-related jobs ever actually used math. REAL people didn't need math because REAL people never actually used math.
It comes in kind of handy. Especially if you're a quilter.
Many of the early quilt book and pattern authors had ~ have! some are still with us... ~ strong math backgrounds. They were teachers, engineers, math textbook writers and so on before they became quilters. Or maybe they became quilters because they recognized the math involved. That is less so today. While there are still many "professionals" with math backgrounds, many claim to have more knowledge and expertise than they really do. Most of us didn't get much math beyond high school algebra, and even those of us that did... well, some of us were still insisting that we were never going to need it.
So, what's the point of all this, Carrie?
Now that it's officially post-Thanksgiving, it's time to start pulling out a few Christmas decorations. For me, that means it's time to put the Christmas quilts on the beds!
A very long time ago ~ the primary fabric is from VIP so that should give you an idea of just how long ago it was ~ my Mom asked me to make a Christmas quilt for her using a red paisley fabric she fell in love with.
This quilt comes with a story. A "Carrie-really-botched-the-math-when-figuring-out-the-nine-patches-on-this-one-kind-of-story."
Here's Mom's quilt...
The block is a Reverse Double Nine-Patch. It measures 6 3/4" x 6 3/4" finished size. There are 81 blocks set on point, appearing as nine horizontal rows of nine blocks each. The pieced blocks alternate with plain squares of the red paisley, and there is an 8" outer border. No, I didn't quilt it... thank goodness!
On a side note, it seems that I've been making itty bitty blocks longer than I thought. These nine-patches finish at 2 1/4" x 2 1/4". The strips are cut at 1 1/4" and the little squares finish at 3/4" x 3/4". Apparently, I've been nuts for a really long time and only recently realized it.
Now back to Mom's quilt... So there I was, happily cutting and sewing all these little strips. Sewing. And sewing. Hour after hour. After hour. After hour... I was sewing a lot. After awhile, I started thinking that I really was sewing a lot of strips. I mean... A LOT of strips. I had a mountain of them! And lots and lots of little pieced strips cut from the strip sets.
Since I needed 324 nine-patches ~ 81 blocks and 4 nine-patches in each block ~ I had carefully calculated that I needed 42 dark/light/dark strip sets measuring 42" long. And I would need 42 light/dark/light 21" long strip sets. I would get about 33 pieced segments from each 42" strip and 16 pieced segments from each 21" strip. Sounds good, right?
And I needed four dark/light/dark pieces and two light/dark/light pieces for each nine-patch, right?
Hmmm... not exactly.
That's the kind way of saying "wrong". As in WRONG!
It seems I have enough strip sets and little segments to make over 650 nine-patches. Oops.
Actually... I should say @#(*$#&#&$!!!!
Now what, Miss I'm Never Going To Need Math... Not Now, Not Ever?
I made a second quilt.
My favorite thing about this quilt is the green ribbon fabric. There are a few quilters who like to look down their noses at Debbie Mumm and her fabrics, but not me. After trying more than a dozen different green fabrics for the setting triangles, I happened upon this particular Debbie Mumm Christmas fabric. It was perfect and it absolutely made the quilt.
While you can't tell from this picture, each block is comprised of a Double Nine-Patch surrounded by four matching setting triangles. The green blocks then alternate with the red blocks in a straight setting. This quilt has 81 blocks set in nine rows of nine blocks each. How's that for synchronicity?
And you thought I knew what I was doing...