If you follow me on Twitter, you may have already seen a bit of grousing on this subject, but I have to elaborate further here. You see, I had this sort of half formed plan (I won’t say half-baked, since that implies that it’s done but unsuccessful; this plan was just in it’s infancy) for a show quilt incorporating scrappy batiks, Inchies and machine embroidery. Don’t ask me to tell you how that was going to turn out with all of those seemingly disparate elements because I hadn’t yet figured that out completely, but it’s a moot point now anyway as you’ll see despite the fact that the Bali Pops look so pretty:
While the plan was still forming though, I spent a lot of time searching around the Internet looking for the best price on Hoffman Bali Pops, and was really happy when a 20% off coupon from Fat Quarter Shop showed up in my inbox at just the right moment. I placed my order for the Bali Pop colorways that I thought would work (so that the quilt would later find a home in my bedroom after the quilt show rounds were done), and spent the time waiting for it to arrive dreaming of sewing and cutting pretty diamonds from the hundreds of different batik fabrics I would have and placing them into my quilt plan just so.
The Bali Pops arrived, and they all looked so pretty sitting on my work table. I wasn’t quite ready to start on this big show quilt I was planning, but I did break one of the Pops open to use some of the strips for a small Inchie Quilt that I’m working on at the moment. After I chose the strips I wanted to use and got down to the cutting part, this is what I found:
That’s when Crazy Accuracy Freak Girl came boiling out of her corner raving all the way. The strip is horribly off-grain, the cut is completely crooked, and it’s not truly 2½”
everywhere anywhere. I’m not even sure how they managed to cut this fabric at all from the looks of it now. Did they even use a ruler? And yeah, they’re all like that, every one of them in this package, some worse than others.
How on earth am I supposed to use this for a show quilt? You know, in recent years I’ve lightened up (a little) about precision piecing on every day sorts of quilts, but not on show quilts. Sorry, but it’s not show quality if the points don’t match, and you’d have to be a better fudger than I am to work with strips like these and get a good result. Not to mention that batik fabrics are harder to ease to match points, and these fabrics are not pre-washed (obviously) which makes easing even more difficult.
To be completely honest, I’m just not sure what I could use these for at this point, without cutting smaller-than-2½”-pieces from the strips, which kind of negates the purpose of these precut fabrics for me. That’s what I ended up doing with the couple of strips I already used for the small Inchie Quilt, and even that was a total pain because the strips are so crooked and off-grain to begin with. None of the squares I cut from the strips are on the straight grain and it’s a good thing that the Inchie Quilt that they’re going into is so small that I can work with it that way.
I was already pushing Crazy Accuracy Freak Girl’s buttons by using fabrics that couldn’t (reasonably) be prewashed, and now that I see how the strips are cut, I don’t see this show quilt idea having a happy ending. I’ve used precut batiks before and they didn’t seem this bad, though I didn’t like the pinked edges; pinked edges are hard to line up accurately for piecing. The Bali Pops have straight edges so I thought that they’d be easier to work with.
So now I’m stuck with six different Bali Pops that I have no idea what to do with. Yes, I bought six of these dang things; I was thinking BIG. So, I can let them sit there (they do look pretty all together on the sewing table with all the other precut bundles I have—–why do I buy these things?), sell them on ebay (probably too much effort), or I can ruminate on something else to do with them and come up with a new and unique pattern that could use them. You know, some sort of pattern where none of the points have to match and it doesn’t matter if the strips start out as crooked as a cat’s hind leg so it doesn’t make me crazy trying to piece it together, and oh, by the way, nothing that has to be paper pieced either. Riiiight. I’ll have to lock Crazy Accuracy Freak Girl in the heating room in the basement to keep her quiet, I’m sure.
Or, here’s a thought: maybe one of you out there can suggest a pattern that’s already out there somewhere that fits the criteria above, so I don’t have to make something up? What would YOU do with six Bali Pops?
EDIT: I forgot to note here that the one Bali Pop that I opened and that is pictured did not come from Fat Quarter Shop. That one came from the Army Arts & Crafts shop in Heidelberg! The other five I ordered from FQS!