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One of most exciting things in learning a new craft is discovering how human ingenuity — and how often it is female ingenuity! — has come up innovative shortcuts.

In knitting, think of the first time you saw cables. How do they do that??!! you think, and then, pfft, it’s just a matter of working stitches out of order. The first time I saw entrelac, I was filled with horror and pity for the knitter who had to knit a million skinny strips and then weave and sew them together. And then it turns out it is actually worked as a single, continuous, fabric. Brilliant!

And so it is for quilting. Many intricate quilts had filled me with a sort of paralysis at even the thought of the amount of time it would take to cut out the zillion little pieces, in so many shapes, sizes, and accurate angles. And then it turns out, it’s just a matter of sewing straight lines and cutting them up in specific ways and sewing some more straight lines.

I started with this pretty jelly roll:

Which had four strips each of five pretty colours:

Which I sewed up so that they transitioned from the red to the pink:

And then I sewed the last two long edges together to get four tubes.

Next, I flattened the tubes. Since there were five strips in each tube, the long edges of flattened tubes had a seam allowance along one long edge, and a folded colour in the other. Then I aligned the 45 degree line of my ruler along the top and then the bottom of the tube alternately, to cut triangles…

… Which unfolded into squares. Experienced quilters will, of course, spot my silly error here. By having 5 strips in each tube, I had to have one colour on the fold when I flattened the tube. So when I cut triangles, I basically deprived myself of a seam allowance for the folded colour. The squares (and triangular ends) looked like this when all of them were cut:

… but the diagonal lines are decidedly misaligned because of the lack of seam allowance in the fifth colour when I sewed it up:

So much for my ingenuity! Anyway, they are at least consistently misaligned, so I’ll just call it a design feature.

And now for the final dilemma: what do I use it for? It’s too small to be a proper blanket, too large to be a sewing machine cover. I could make it a dog blanket, but even my dog-indulging, nothing-is-too-good-for-the-furry-princeling soul balks at that. Maybe I’ll just hang it on the wall? Should I even bother to quilt it? All suggestions welcome!

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