With all my strip pairs sewn it was time to turn them into strip blocks. My overall goal was to get a really random spread of the rainbow colours all over the quilt, with out it being overly calculated.
I sorted the colours into groups of dark warms (purples/reds), dark cools (greens/blues/greys) and brights (yellows/oranges/pinks) and then grabbed one from each group for the sets. The dark cools seemed to out number the other groups so I had to swap a few of those in towards the end but it was the first of many exercises in not over thinking things.
A few of the combos really stuck out to me. The worst was a royal blue/gold/dark purple set that screamed school uniforms and football jerseys. The best was a complete accident and I didn’t realise until I was ironing but the colours (navy blue, canary yellow and bright teal green) alternating with white almost exactly match a dress I bought earlier in the year. Not at all the colours I’d usually wear but the set just confirmed how much I like them together.
All the strip blocks were sewn together, and then sliced up again (are you serious!? but I just… ok fine) and arranged into pretty little piles. Once again I had to practice turning my brain off and just grab different strips from different piles while having flashbacks to maths classes on permutations and combinations.
First they were joined back into reasonable size blocks, then laid out on my “design floor” in the order they were made, with the minimum amount of swaps to avoid big clumps of the same colour. A couple black & white snaps to check for value balance, another swap, then back to the sewing machine to sew blocks into rows and rows into… my first quilt top! Ta Da!
As I mentioned in my introduction post, for my first quilt I’ve chosen the Snapshots quilt from Elizabeth Hartman’s The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker. Rather than using the white on black prints I was hoping to find something a bit more colourful, but I also wanted to keep it simple because I tend to be terribly indecisive.
Using the alternative fabric suggestions in the book, I thought an easy way to introduce a range of fabrics would be to use a Jelly Roll. While there are so many beautiful prints available even that was too much to think about so what I’ve chosen to use is a rainbow solids jelly roll, this one is Kona Cotton Solids – Classic Palette. In a quilt of firsts, this was the first time I got to crack open a Jelly Roll and oh my… it was gorgeous! Even the lint it left everywhere looked delicious (sprinkles anyone?).
The Jelly Roll was paired with Kona Cotton in White, I bought yardage for that and sliced it up myself thanks to some encouragement and a few tips at my first Saturday Sit n Sew with the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild. It turned out to be more of a Stand n Slice for me but that step alone would have scared me for months if I were doing it on my own.
I took out a few of the extra strips from the jelly roll, then paired each strip with a white strip and set out on a chain piecing mission. I loved watching the rainbow forming behind my machine as I made my way through the pile.
Once all the pairs were done I randomly sorted them into piles and began the next step joining them into strip blocks. I’ll share those in the next post, including a rather uncanny (or perhaps somehow subconcious) combo that almost exactly matches something from my wardrobe.
In the lead up to Christmas 2010 I decided I wanted my own sewing machine. I started shopping around and I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to be able to do with it, mostly making or altering clothes and costume pieces. The lovely woman at my local sewing machine store was really helpful showing me the different machines and asking what kind of sewing I was planning to do, to help me find the right machine. When she asked if I was planning on doing any quilting I almost laughed, I thought “no way!”, but I didn’t want to offend her so just said “not really at the moment”.
It only took about 12 months before I got sucked in by all pretty fabrics that I didn’t think I could pull off wearing, and the appeal of sewing straight lines on flat pieces of fabric – though here’s a secret, it’s harder than it looks! A few of the sewing bloggers I follow had worked on a quilt at some point or another, I followed some of their links, found more quilts, followed more links… you know how that ends. I discovered the Modern Quilting movement and quilts I not only really liked, but thought I might actually be able to attempt myself.
The next Christmas rolled around, I asked for some cotton fabrics and a couple of books. One of those was The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker by Elizabeth Hartman. I read the whole book cover to cover and then went back and picked out the Snapshots quilt as the one I’d like to try first. Elizabeth’s version is basically a checker board pattern alternating white squares with a range of white prints on black, and a pieced back that introduces a splash of colour.
One of the things I love about this book is that for each project there are examples of alternate ideas for fabrics to use, and a list a fabric options including precuts or the amounts required for a different number of fabrics. It’s a gorgeous quilt as is and one day I might go back and make it in those fabrics but I wanted something brighter and a little more exciting for my first quilt, and including those options felt like I’d been given permission to change it a little and do it my own way. So that’s exactly what I’m doing, next post I’ll show you what fabrics I chose and the first steps to making my first quilt!
About a month ago I found out that some local gals had recently started the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild, I was so excited to join and go along to my first Saturday Sit ‘n Sew. It was the kick in the pants that I needed to make a start on my first quilt (progress report coming soon!).
The monthly meet ups are a great opportunity to get some dedicated sewing time in, and having some progress to show the next time keeps me chipping away in between. Everyone brings along their own projects to work on and share, there’s plenty of advice to help us newbies, and of course, some yummy morning tea and a good chat to.
We’re also hoping to be able to make charity quilts as group quilting bees, the plan is to take turns choosing a theme, organising the bee and deciding where the quilt will be donated. First up is Rachael who asked us to make a wonky star block with pastel pinks for the background and rich jewel coloured scraps. Here are the fabrics I chose, the center patterned pieces were from my scraps, the coloured squares were from a mixed fat quarter pack I bought (seeing as my scraps are pretty limited for now) and the pastel pinks for the background was provided for us.
And here are my (really) wonky star blocks. They were so much fun to make, I perhaps took the wonkiness a bit too far but they’re certainly original.
My seam pressing perhaps could use some work but overall I’m pretty stoked with how they turned out, hope you like them Rach!