Four-Lily Block Tutorial

Be sure to check out P’s tutorial for the Four-Lily block over at her blog, The Way I Sew It! If you’ve ever wanted to make a block using templates and curves, this is a great one to try.

She’ll be offering the full quilt pattern for sale very soon, but if you hop over there now you’ll be able to download the block templates and view her step by step tutorial. The templates will be available for free for a limited time. Check out the first post:
http://thewayisewit.blogspot.com/2013/06/four-lily-block-tutorial-part-1.html

You can read the story of this quilt here. I was lucky enough to contribute to this quilt – after Paulette found her grandmother’s quilt top, she looked everywhere for a name for the block. When we couldn’t find one, I drew it up in EQ7 for her, and sent the templates. She made the gorgeous quilt top, I quilted it, and the rest is history!

Connie bag

My mom’s cousin is Superwoman. Well, at least she’s super-fit. She has organized a group of women for a walk around Door County, Wisconsin, and asked if I could work with her to create a water bottle bag that would be used in place of a regular purse. I futzed and futzed and futzed (name that song/movie) and came up with a version that was super easy to make. It had a hidden pocket for money and other very flat, small, or flexible stuff and was lightly insulated. It wasn’t quite what they needed, so I added another pocket that was a bit pouchier for small snacks, keys, a phone, etc. It’s still a pretty small pocket, but I needed it to fit on the water bottle, and not add too much bulk to the overall bag. I also changed the strap so it wasn’t attached directly to the bag, but to D rings that were sewn to the bag with webbing. This allows the strap to hang easier depending on who’s wearing it and how (shoulder, cross body, etc.).

After finishing that version and using it for a day, I decided to make the pouch pocket a little shorter. The part that wrapped around the bottom was unusable anyway, and without that part you can stand the bottle upright with a little squishing of the corners. I took photos during the initial construction and again when I added the pouch pocket. (During the pouch pocket photos you can see thread crumbs along the edges where I ripped it apart!) Some photos show a strap, but that has been replaced by the webbing and D rings and I forgot to take photos. If you choose to do a “hardwired” strap, be sure to insert it at an angle rather than straight out the sides like I did.

Since I needed to write up the instructions for Connie anyway, I thought I’d go ahead and post it here. There is an AWESOME button at the bottom of the post, next to the Facebook and Pinterest buttons, that says “Print & PDF.” If you click on this you can print the instructions or turn it into a PDF that you can save on your computer. You can also click on sections and they’ll be removed from the document, so you can delete the photos if you want, or the header, or these introductory paragraphs.

This is based on my notes and photos and has NOT been tested by making a bag straight through using these instructions. If you find an error or have a question, please let me know.

Okay, here we go…

The Connie Bag

by Sandi Walton/Piecemeal Quilts

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Notes

An outdoor decorating fabric is ideal because it is water resistant and a bit sturdier than other fabrics. Regular home dec fabric would also work. The bag above was made with outdoor dec and has been through the washing machine and dryer once already.

There are several places where I tell you to backstitch. When I do this over a longer area, I like to sew an inch or two at a time, then backstitch, then go forward another two inches, then back, etc.

This bag is actually a perfect fit to hold a Kindle when it isn’t holding a water bottle! You could easily alter it to be a Kindle case by not folding the velcro pocket up as far, omitting the drawstring casings, and turning the excess fabric into a flap.

Supplies:

Outer fabric: 1/4 yard of 60″ fabric or 1/2 yard of 42″-56″ wide fabric
Contrasting inner fabric: 1/4 yard
Insul-Brite® batting from The Warm Company (for making hot pads, etc. – it will insulate a little better than regular batting, but you can use regular if you prefer)
Fusible web (Pellon Wonder-Under®, Warm Company Steam-A-Seam®, etc.)
1″ Webbing: 2 yards
2 D or Rectangle Rings (for 1″ straps)
2 Swivel Hooks (for 1″ straps)
Cord, heavy string or ribbon: 1 yard

Optional:
1 Strap Adjuster (for 1″ straps)
2 Cord End Stops

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Cutting

From the outer fabric, cut three pieces:
43″ x 6″ (body)
8″ x 6″ (pocket)
8″ x 4″ (flap)

From the inner fabric, cut two pieces:
23″ x 6″ (body)
8″ x 6″ (pocket)

Cut a piece of batting 20″ x 4 1/2″

Cut a piece of fusible web 20″ x 4 1/2″ (not shown)

Cut a piece of velcro 5″ long

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Body Assembly

Fold the large outer fabric in half with the wrong sides together. Center the hook side of the velcro on the fabric 1/4″ from the folded edge.

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Top stitch 1/8″ from the fold through both layers of fabric.

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Flip the bottom layer back and sew the velcro to the top layer only.

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Fold both layers up so the folded/stitched edge is approximately 2 1/2″ from the cut edges.

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Mark the velcro placement.

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Sew the loop side of velcro to the top layer of fabric.

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Fold the fabric back up and attach the two pieces of velcro together.

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If needed, trim the cut edge so the outer fabric with the pocket you’ve just created is the same length as the inner fabric (both shown folded in half).

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Iron fusible web to the batting…

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…peel off paper backing…

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…center batting on wrong side of inside fabric with the fusible side down…

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…and press. If you are using fabric that has a texture embossed in it, this will flatten the embossing.

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NOT SHOWN: Cut 2 pieces of 1″ wide webbing approximately 1 1/2″ long. Insert through D rings or rectangle rings an fold webbing in half. Pin to hold in place. The webbing and rings will be used instead of the straps that are shown in the following photos.

Layer the fabrics and rings/webbing in the following order:

  • Outer fabric right side up
  • Rings/webbing just below the velcro pocket, with the rings on the fabric and the cut edge of webbing extending slightly outside the edges of the fabric
  • Inside fabric with the batting side up

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Sew 1/4″ from the edge on two long sides and one short side, leaving one short side open.

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Reinforce the webbing by backstitching over that area, then stitching forward again. Turn right side out, poking out the corners so they are fairly square. Press the edges all the way around, manipulating the fabric as needed to keep a crisp edge. Try to keep the seam as close to the pressed edge as possible. If you have embossed fabric, press only the edges to avoid losing the embossed pattern.

Turn in the fabric at the open end 1/4″ and press.

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Topstitch 1/8″ from the edge to close the opening.

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To make the casings for the drawstrings, fold that edge back so it just touches the top of the velcro pocket and topstitch just above the stitching line. Repeat at the other end.

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Pouch Pocket

NOT SHOWN: Place the 6″x8″ outside and inside fabric pieces right sides together. Sew around the edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a gap to turn it. Turn, then press the edges as before to create a crisp edge. Turn the edges in along the open area and press. Top stitch 1/8″ from edge OPPOSITE the opening. You can topstitch the opening if you like, but it doesn’t really matter – it will be hidden inside the pocket.

Along the edge with the opening, place pins every 1″ – these should be centered!

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Fold the fabric to make a pleat, lining up two pins and making sure that the pleat is on the correct side (so the pouch is on the outer fabric side). You may prefer to have the “inside” fabric on the outside of the pocket, for contrast.

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Pin the pleat in place, removing the excess pins.

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Center the pouch pocket on the plain side of the body (not the side with the velcro pocket), about 1/2″ below the casing.

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Mark the location of the bottom of the pouch, then flip it over and place the pouch, inside up, 1/2″ above where the bottom edge was.

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Sew 1/2″ from the edge, backstitching along the entire length to reinforce.

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Pocket Flap

Fold the 8″x4″ outside fabric right sides together.

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Stitch around the sides using a 1/4″ seam, leaving a gap to turn it right side out. Turn and press the edges and the gap.

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Top stitch on 3 sides.

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Assemble

Flip the pocket into place and tuck the sides in so they are parallel to the body edges and pin. Place the flap so it is just touching the edge of the pocket and pin.

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Place the velcro on the pocket and on the flap. I used sticky back velcro so I could reposition it, but you can pin it instead. The flap velcro will not be sewn yet, even though it’s in the photos.

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Unpin the top edge of the pocket, turn back the body, and stitch the velcro in place.

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Re-pin the pouch. Top stitch the sides of the pouch in place, backstitching all the way.

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Stitch the bottom edge of the flap in place.

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Fold the body in half, insides together. The pouch pocket will not be quite as long as the photo, since I shortened the pocket in the instructions.

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Topstitch both sides, backstitching all along the way to reinforce.

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Stop just before the casing on both sides.

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Put a bottle in the pouch and decide where you want the velcro placed on the flap. Mind ended up being back a little from the edge. I like that there’s a little space to grasp the flap, and the pocket is more contained with the flap being a little lower. Stitch the velcro in place.

String the cord or ribbon through the casing. I like to use two pieces of cord and run one through one half and back on the other half, then run the other piece of cord through both halves starting from the other side. Tie the cord ends together on each side, or use a cord stop on each side to keep them from sliding back through. By stringing it through both ways you can just tug on both ends to tighten it.

Strap

The strap is super easy to make, with or without a strap adjuster. If you’re making it without the adjuster, simply sew the swivel hooks on each end of a strap that you’ve cut to the length that fits you. Remember to add about 3″ to the length you want it to be so you have plenty of room to sew. Sew a square, then an X, then around the square again.

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If you want to use a strap adjuster, cut a piece of webbing about 1 yard long and sew the swivel hook to one end, as shown above. On the other end, sew the strap adjuster. You’ll sew to the cross bar at the straight end of the adjuster (not the very outside piece).

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Again, sew the square and X then reinforce with another square.

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The photo shows a shorter length of webbing – ignore that! I’m not actually using this as a strap, just an example. It’s better to put the adjuster on the longer side of the strap because when you pull it to shorten the strap, you’ll be pulling down instead of up. This way the excess strap won’t flop over.

Sew the second swivel hook on the end of another piece of webbing. It should be fairly long, but don’t worry about the exact length just yet. Slip the plain end of webbing behind the strap adjuster, through the space next to the other strap, over the grooved bar and back through the space.

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Attach both swivel hooks to your bag and place it diagonally across your body, then adjust the strap to the length that is comfortable for you. Cut off the excess strap 8″-10″ above the strap adjuster. You can finish the end by folding it back and stitching securely, or you can just leave it cut. Run a flame across the cut edges of the webbing to melt them and prevent them from fraying.

And that’s it! Let me know if you have any questions.

The fine print: As with any of my free patterns and tutorials, please do not mass produce and sell things made from my patterns (as if!). Print a free pattern in its entirety as many times as you like and share it with your friends or guild. Use it to make objects for gifts, fundraisers, competition, donation, or to make and sell singly. I’d love it if you send me an email if you’re using it for something special, but you don’t have to. Do not reproduce my instructions in whole or in part and sell them.

Quilting Skill Builder Series

There have been so many amazing comments over the past few days! As well as those who gently reeled me in, I’ve heard from people who said, “Yeah, what’s up with that?!” Others have let me know that, as beginners, they really like to see bloggers explain their processes more completely. They don’t necessarily want to see step by step instructions on how to make a block – they’re wondering about less concrete things. I’m going to quote a couple of comments because they put it so well:

I appreciate all of you wonderfully talented artists giving me your thoughts as to why you choose the fabrics you choose (so I can be inside your head), problems you encounter as you’re piecing your quilt (and how you think through your resolution of those problems), various options you consider when considering what the quilt will finally look like (and why you rejected some and decided on the one you chose).
I like seeing the process involved getting from Point A to Point Z when making a quilt. Seeing the finished product is nice, but I’m still trying to learn how to sew a consistent 1/4″ seam. So I enjoy seeing the process from beginning to end. And I love hearing all of you “seasoned” quilters tell me “WHY” you picked the colors you did, and “WHY” you changed your mind about some color choices when you did that. And “HOW” you fixed something you screwed up because you didn’t want to go buy more fabric, or you just wanted to prove to yourself you could fix a problem you created because you cut the fabric too short, or sewed something together wrong and didn’t discover you did it until you had sewn more fabric to that incorrect item. – Deborah in Atlanta

…one of the things that drew me to quilting is the design aspect of it. And from a design perspective, simpler quilts can be just as good, if not better, than complicated ones. Choosing colors and fabric and making them work together IS a very challenging part of the process, and a huge part of what makes a quilt successful, regardless of how difficult it is to piece. So the design aspect, in my mind, is a separate issue from the technical execution aspect, but shouldn’t be considered any less important. – Lee from Freshly Pieced

Perhaps as new quilters develop confidence with less demanding patterns we will see more complex patterns reappear because there will be a larger demand for complicated patterns. – Anna from Quilt Mom’s Journey

A friend of mine (and yours, I imagine, since I keep posting links to her blog!), Jeanne from Grey Cat Quilts, talked about creating a series of skill builder posts. The recent comments seem like such a great time to start, and she and have decided to tag-team it. We will work together to provide constructive information geared toward newer quilters. Here are some things we talked about, and we’d love it if you could chime in with any suggestions. If there’s something in particular you’ve always wondered how to do, or know how to do but still struggle with, let us know and we’ll try to work it in.

Purchasing fabric
Color theory
Fabric choices in a quilt
Rotary cutting tips (like don’t cut off your finger!)
Quilting terminology
Basic components of quilt blocks and their construction: squares, rectangles, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, flying geese
That darned scan quarter-inch seam!
Rescuing blocks (wrong sizes, etc.)
60/30 degree triangles
Foundation piecing techniques
Curved piecing
English paper piecing
Applique (in all of its variations, but we’ll need a guest blogger to take care of that one!)
Leader/Ender projects
How to break down the construction of a block so you can recreate it without a pattern (there are hundreds, if not thousands of traditional blocks that are copyright free)
Resizing blocks
Drafting your own block
Calculating yardage
Border options – solid vs. pieced, borders vs. no borders, how many borders, what fabric, what width, straight vs. mitered
Backing options
Choosing a quilting design
Basting a quilt
Quilting on a domestic sewing machine
Binding
Documenting your quilts

Paper Pieced Heart Blocks

So now that I’m back to the blog, I noticed a new link to it from some people looking for heart blocks. Hmmm… Valentine’s Day is coming up! I happen to have foundations for paper pieced heart blocks on the right side of the page (scroll way down!). I thought I’d upload the photos so the links weren’t just descriptions, to make it easier to see. And, to make it even easier, I included the blocks at the bottom of this post. Click on a block for a PDF of the foundation for a 6″ finished heart. If you’ve never foundation pieced before, give it a try – it’s much easier than you might think. Here’s a tutorial for my favorite foundation piecing method, which uses freezer paper. The best part is, you can reuse your foundations several time (as many as 10, depending on the complexity of the block and how much you iron it). You can buy freezer paper in 8 1/2 x 11 sheets that will go through your printer – check your local craft or quilting store, or go online. You can also trace the block onto freezer paper, or use a “regular” paper piecing method where you tear out the paper after sewing through it. If you want blocks larger than 6″, you can enlarge the foundations with a copier. As long as you enlarge them CONSISTENTLY (use the same copier, same settings), it doesn’t matter what size they actually are, just that they are the same. If you want accurate 6″ finished blocks, be sure to check your settings when you print the block. In the Page Scaling box, make sure it says NONE, not Fit to Printable Area or Shrink to Printable Area.

Basic Heart Short Striped Heart Striped Heart Rays Heart Rail Fence Heart Log Cabin Heart Horizontal Heart Crazy Heart Braided Heart

Criss Cross aka Windmill Whimsy aka Mosaic #10

So I saw this gorgeous quilt on Flickr, then read about it on filminthefridge‘s blog, then showed a friend, then HAD to write up instructions on the quilt. It has several names because I’m calling the quilt Criss Cross, filminthefridge is calling it Windmill Whimsy, and the “official” name of the block is Mosaic #10 (at least, that’s what EQ6 and Barbara Brackman’s BlockBase call it).

It works well scrappy or planned (or somewhere in between), and it can go light, dark, bright, pastel, batik, repro… basically anything you like. Here are some examples (thank you, EQ6):

Criss Cross 5 Criss Cross 4

Criss Cross 3 Criss Cross 2

Criss Cross 1 Criss Cross 6

This is such a simple block – it’s great for beginners because it’s a large block, and it’s a good introduction to half square triangles. You can adjust the size of the quilt simply by adjusting the size of the half square triangles.

Criss Cross block

The instructions I wrote are for a planned scrappy quilt, using a large assortment of colored fabrics and a single background fabric. I like to cut larger than necessary squares for half square triangle units, then trim the finished HST units to the correct size. It takes a little longer, but it’s more accurate and the block goes together easier. If you’re doing a more planned quilt, you could try half square triangle papers (Triangle Papers, Thangles, or Triangles on a Roll). Here’s a PDF of my instructions:
criss-cross-thumbnail
It includes yardage and cutting info for four sizes – a large throw, full, queen and king. It’s a single sheet, pretty straightforward. If anyone makes the quilt, I’d love to see photos!

Jumping on the bandwagon

I’ve read a couple of blogs recently (crazy mom quilts and Quilt Dad) about an incredible flying geese quilt. There’s a Flickr group for those who would like to participate, and I’ve joined. I’m going to do it using the one seam dimensional flying geese method (tutorial here), but I recreated a couple of the blocks in EQ6 for anyone who would like to foundation piece them. Here’s a foundation for two regular triangles, and two others for skinny triangle options. Personally, I like the freezer paper method.

(There, I think I set a record for number of links in a single post.)

One Seam Dimensional Flying Geese

One Seam Dimensional Flying Geese with a Twist

I mentioned the incredible one seam dimensional flying geese demonstrated in the sample video over at The Quilt Show (with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims). I gave it a try today, and was amazed at how quick and easy it was to make a flying geese unit. This creates a dimensional unit, with little pockets on each side of the goose. It occurred to me that you could take this a step further and turn back the dimensional edge to form a curve. Here are two flying geese, the top with the edges curved back and stitched, the bottom just a regular dimensional goose. I put together a quick tutorial for the basic one seam flying geese unit, with additional info on the turned back curve. Let me know how you like this method for creating flying geese!

Edited to add: Be sure to check out this post about using the curved flying geese to make something reminiscent of a Cathedral Window block.

Family Stitch & Bitch

Once a month, members of my mom’s side of the family (plus a few guests) get together to quilt, eat and chat. Yesterday we had a small group, just Mom, Aunt Pat, Aunt Karen, and me. We always have a pastry of some sort, usually purchased, but I desperately wanted to bake so I made a Danish Puff. This is possibly the easiest “impressive” food I know. I have no photos, partly because I just don’t seem to be able to photograph food very well, and partly because it was halfway gone within 30 minutes of it coming out of the oven. I can share the recipe, however:

Danish Puff

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into flour until crumbly, then sprinkle with water and toss with a fork until it forms a dough. Split in half and roll out into rounded ovals on a large cookie sheet. No need to grease the sheet – this doesn’t stick. You might want to flour your rolling pin well, though. Use your fingers to crimp up the edges just a bit.

Puff:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Combine butter and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the almond extract and flour. Stir over low heat for about a minute, making sure the flour is fully incorporated, until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and beat in eggs until smooth and glossy. Spread evenly over the crust, sealing it against the edges. Bake for 60 minutes, until puffed and golden. Let cool slightly before adding the icing. The puffs will sink in the middle and become slightly custardy.

Icing
1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons of butter, very soft
1-2 tablespoons warm water

Mix until smooth, then spread over the puffs.

We used to have this every Christmas morning when I was a kid. I LOVE this stuff. It’s incredibly good, especially considering that it basically has just five ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, almond extract and powdered sugar. I don’t count water as an ingredient, really. The problem with this stuff is that it makes a fair amount, and it’s too yummy for words, and it isn’t healthy AT ALL. I have no willpower when it comes to Danish Puff, and I ate more than my share yesterday. Bad Sandi refuses to apologize.

Then there was the sewing…

I planned to work on my string quilt, maybe finish it up even though the challenge is over. Would you believe I didn’t sew a single stitch? I helped the aunts make my Anxiety block, and I got caught up in EQ6, coloring and designing and showing them all sorts of possibilities. I took photos while they worked on the Anxiety blocks and I put together a tutorial. It’s just one block, but I think it’s an interesting one. Here’s my aunt Karen’s block:

Anxiety

Gorgeous, isn’t it? My aunt Pat’s is also beautiful, but neglectful me forgot to take a photo of her finished block. Grrr. I put the instructions together in a PDF for you, if you’re interested: Anxiety block tutorial

It looks complicated, but my mom and aunt Pat both had no trouble with it, and they both tend to stick with relatively straightforward patterns. The key is to cut everything very carefully. As long as your cuts are accurate, the block goes together very easily. Please let me know if you make the block – I’d like to see how it turns out.