This pattern, in the February 2008 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting, looks like a promising match for my pre-cut squares from the Houston International quilt show.

Quilts_004 Quilts_001

So my design team and I set about selecting fabrics for what knitters would call a "swatch", the pharmaceutical industry might call "proof of concept study" (that is if I had hundreds of people doing it in a controlled environment) and a quilter might call a "test block" (I made that up, but it sounds plausible).

Quilts_006 First there was cutting, (did I say pre-cut?..we still had to deal with the background fabric) which though I had all the right tools, I still managed to find all the wrong ways to do.  Including the one shown: not maintaining even pressure on the rotary cutter all the way to the end of the cut.

Then on to sewing:

Quilts_008There are so many steps in which precision can run awry in quilting and precision and I were never the best of friends. Even if you managed to get the cutting straight, there is still the challenge of sewing straight, and arranging your pieces and faces and seams correctly, in this case in opposite directions for each pieced row.  My husband walked by as I sat at the machine and said, "you know you have to iron the seams before you start sewing if you want everything to align properly." 

Quilts_010 But after all, this was only the test, and despite a multitude of subtle and not so subtle flaws, somewhat smoothed over by the iron at the end.  I’m still proud.  I now have the beginnings of a quilt.