Sunday, October 18, 2015

Making it work

When Lori posted the finale for her Country Roads mystery, I knew I'd need to add a red inner border like her inspiration picture. With a wider cheddar border. I could see it in my mind.

My stash was not accommodating, however. I had just enough of this cheddar print for the setting squares and triangles if I carefully and creatively cut my fat quarter and pieced the corners of two triangles. I tried finding something else in the stash, but compared to the cheddar, none of it looked right.

On the right in the photo below is all that was left after cutting the setting squares and triangles. Just made it! On the left is one other piece of cheddar that worked with what I wanted for the setting pieces. At first I thought I'd need to use it for the setting pieces, but that would mean no cheddar border. There wouldn't be enough fabric.

That second cheddar piece, a solid, was 7 inches wide. I could cut four 3 1/2-inch border strips, but they wouldn't be long enough. Hmm. Pieced corners would solve the problem. So I drafted something using the blacks and blues, cut the pieces, made one block, and hated it.

My husband also hated it. He told me to make them look like the inner squares. But the inner squares were 5-inch finished and my corner border blocks needed to be 4-inch finished. The proportions wouldn't be right if the border block pieces were smaller than the inner blocks. He told me to make it work. Thank you, Tim Gunn.

Hmmm. I had a scrap of solid cheddar big enough for four 1-inch finished squares, and I mimicked the 9-patch arrangement of the other blocks.

In the photo above, you can see my first corner block attempt on the upper right. Yuck.

Below is the finished top. As I look at it, I think of different things I could have done. I should have put the red strips on the ends of the cheddar border in the center of the border instead. I think it might have looked better for the corner blocks to be against the cheddar instead. But more seams would have taken more fabric that I didn't have. If I'd had more solid cheddar, I would have done things differently in other ways. Maybe use some to put the corner border blocks on point. But if I'd had more cheddar, I probably would have made a plain border, and not have had all this creative fun.

In the end, I'm happy with how it turned out. I like that I used only my stash and challenged myself to work with what I had to make it work.

The binding will be red, of course. I have lots of red. Hmmm. What if I'd made a red inner border, a thin cheddar border and then a wide red border. Once you start thinking of possibilities, it can be hard to stop.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Baby quilt inspiration

As I was rummaging through the scrap bin looking for fabric for Lori's mini mystery, Country Roads, I found a piece of this Alexander Henry fabric. I'd made a couple baby quilts over the years that included this adorable fabric, and I remembered that the neighbors are expecting in November. I've made baby quilts for all the babies born on the block since we moved here.

Alexander Henry fabric. An oldie, but a goody.

I was able to fussy-cut four six-inch squares (finished size) from my scrap. I decided that I'd scatter those squares across the top. At first I thought I'd sew six-inch nine-patches, but I didn't like any of the arrangements I sketched out for that. Then I decided to cut coordinating fabric in four-, three- two- and one-inch squares (finished), and combine those units into six-blocks. I cut up the rest of the focus fabric into one-inch squares and included them too.

I pieced the squares until I was nearly out of units to work with and then cut some more pieces. Pieced more blocks and cut more units until I had enough six-inch blocks to make a six-by-six arrangement. As usual, I carefully placed all the squares to balance the color placement, but either something went wrong in the sewing or I didn't notice it earlier, and I ended up with the large dark blue and dark purple clustered together. It doesn't bother me enough to undo it, and I'm almost positive that moving things around would probably result in a cluster of some other fabric or color that would also bug me. Murphy's Law of quilting?

Top is 36 x 36 inches.

The top is 36 x 36 inches. I think that's an acceptable size for a baby quilt if it makes it to the baby shortly after birth. I need to find a little more than a yard of fabric for the backing so I don't have to piece it. Not sure about the binding. Maybe try to use up the scraps from the top or go with a solid black.

Linking up to Nancy's Quilty Inspiration for this week.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Inspired by what's under foot

This is the rug in my bedroom. I love the pattern and have thought about how it could look as a quilt.

Back in July, I decided to stop thinking and do something. Although I admire the fussy-cut English paper pieced quilts, I wasn't sure that was for me. Instead, I thought I could use a Stack-n-Whack or Four-Patch Posie method to get the effect I wanted. I just needed the right fabric.

Colors are a little off. The top fabric has a brown background.
The fabric above I found in the sale bin of my local quilt shop. I thought that the large flowers would end up filling some shapes while the brown background would fill others. But that didn't exactly happen, and it was obvious another fabric was needed. I found the bottom fabric in my stash after contemplating another fabric for the cross shapes. That would have made a nice quilt, but not my original vision.

It's recommended that you don't wash the fabric when making a Stack-n-Whack quilt, and I would agree. The unwashed, recently purchased fabric was easier to handle and align then the washed fabric from my stash.

The piecing plan wasn't hard to come up with. I'd been staring at that rug for some time thinking about how to put it together into a quilt. I would have to put all the pieces up on the design wall and sew it together in rows. There wasn't an easy way to piece this in blocks.

Kaleidoscope top, 40 x 50 inches. 

This is the top I have now. It's about 40 x 50 inches. I thought I was done, but as I wrote this post and looked at the rug inspiration, I wonder if I shouldn't make a narrow inner border of the light fabric and an outer border of the dark fabric. I'll have to see if I have enough of those fabrics left.

This didn't turn out as I had envisioned, but I like it. I think I may have to resort to fussy cutting and English paper-piecing to get the look I want. That won't be happening for a while though.

Linking up to Nancy's Quilty Inspiration for this week. Thank you, Nancy, for doing this. I'm looking forward to getting a glimpse into others' creative processes.