We are finally at the end of our year of Possum Magic, and I have just added the last borders to Jane’s quilt top.
I say borders, plural, for a reason. This border is a joint effort and includes both Serena’s and my contributions. Ages ago, we met over coffee, and if I remember rightly, the decision process went something along the lines of me chanting, ‘Geese, geese, geese!’ and Serena (of Sew Giving) coming up with all the other ideas. The tiny squares that repeated elements of Alice’s earlier border: Serena. The rounded corners: Serena. With all the other sharp angles, she wanted to introduce a softer line. When I tried to steer her towards orange and green backgrounds, she pulled me back to the plum.
Serena really wanted to sew tiny squares as a border, and we agreed that she would sew squares to sandwich either side of my geese. I went off to do some maths and sketch our plan, and then we waited until we could meet up again with a tape measure for the final calculations and draft. We had plans for a sewing bee or two. However, in the end, I did all the sewing to free up Serena so she could sew an angel border for one of our fellow possums who is unwell and has had to step down. Serena gets credit as the brains of the operation; I was the brawn.
Here is a quick summary of what happened before it came to us:
- Jane at Where Jane Creates started her quilt with a centre full of geese.
- Rebecca of One Wee Bird gave the geese tails and sewed a border of arrows.
- Alice of Blossom Quilts sewed pinwheels and stripes.
- Wendy of Wendy’s Quilts and More added the octagons that can be interpreted as stop signs.
- Sharon of Motherdragon’s Musings added the turquoise border that pops in the photos.
- Jo of Riddle and Whimsy added much-needed negative space and random triangles.
What I particularly like about this quilt is the colour. It is one of those projects that you use words like aubergine, plum, lime and chartreuse to describe. No simple, red, blue and yellow adequately captures it. I pulled out every fabric in my stash and those Serena had given me and held each up to see if it worked. I was trying to include a lot of variety. If a fabric I had in my stash had already been used by another possum, I put some more in to tie in with the earlier appearances. Some Tula Pink and other fabrics I received from Caroline of Lal in Socal were perfect. (Thanks, Caroline!)
Jane started her quilt using a shot cotton as the background. Rebecca continued that with the green shot cotton, and so later borders also used it. Jo and I were lucky enough to be able to colour match each other’s and Jane’s centre. It was my first time quilting with this shot cotton. Part of me loves its soft texture and the effect of the weave. Part of me dislikes how it frays, refuses to stick to my design wall and spreads fluff like nobody’s business.
The quilt top we started with measured an even 60 inches square, which left us 59½ inches of quilt to work with. This prime number plus fraction would not add up, and we realised that, for our plan to work, we would have to either trim off a bit of Jo’s border or add a spacer border to bring it up to 60½ inches square (cut size). I used a strip of lime green to create the narrow spacer border, and I think it works in the whole.
I foundation paper pieced all of the geese. All 180 of them. I now have an even greater appreciation for the efforts my friends went to to sew my local round robin quilt’s flying geese border and what Rebecca achieved when she sewed her dazed and confused geese border on Serena’s quilt.
We thought about paper piecing the tiny squares too, but I decided to strip piece them, except for the ones that are part of the rounded corners. Strip piecing saved an extra mess of torn paper, but it is not as accurate. Each tiny square was just a poofteenth off, and this meant that these borders had to be ever so slightly eased back in. There are 548 little squares, so the poofteenths add up. When sewing the strips that made up the borders, I marked every one at 6-inch intervals to keep them from going out of alignment.
After all this, my sewing room is a humongous mess. There are bits of torn paper from paper piecing, plum-coloured fluff/dust over everything and threads all over the carpet. The bits of paper and fluff have escaped out into the corridor. I think I have a big cleaning job next on my to-do list.
My last Possum Magic border is done, and I am sad to see it end. It has been such fun. What will I do with my time now?