Sunday, July 8, 2012

Endless Skies

The land of endless skies has eaten my family.  We all finally arrived safe and sound in Saskatchewan and things are finally settling down into a normal life again.  I was disappointed to learn that the guild in town doesn't meet up during the summer.  I have more poking around to do but at this moment I'm one lonely quilter.   I bought fabric for yet another baby quilt.  I drew up a pattern on my trusty graph paper trying to see if I could build a wonky blocks type quilt.  Here are the plans I drew up.  Its hard to see in the photo but
basically nothing lines up.  I used each little square on the paper like it equals 3 inches then I broke up the area of the quilt into squares in the multiple of 3's, then added half and inch to the finished block for seam allowance.  Here is my breakdown:

Blue (17) - 3 1/2 x 3 1/2
Purple (6) - 3 1/2 x 6 1/2
Yellow (7) - 6 1/2 x 6 1/2
Dk Green (1) - 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
Red (9) - 9 1/2 x 9 1/2
Lt Green (6) - 12 1/2 x 12 1/2
Orange (4) - 15 1/2 x 15 1/2

Center Black Squares (33) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2
Center Black Squares for Blue (17) 2 1/4 x 2 1/4

Easy right!?! Nope not that easy....
I honestly don't mind drawing up patterns and seeing if I could make something like this work, remember I'm new to this whole thing and I'm still training my brain to think like a proper quilter (Ooooh I want to make one of those...).  Anyhow the hardest part for me was figuring out how to make such a complicated quilt with the limited amount of fabric I had.  Black center of the block easy, but otherwise I had only 6 other patterns to work with.  Well there is nothing to be done about it because like heck you can get me to go and buy more fabric (I panic when I enter a fabric store... it's a wonder I actually bought this stuff).  Well whatever I decided just to jump into it and get 'er done.  Well to save myself from an embarrassing amount of swear words at this point of my post I'll just let you know that as deceptively simple as thus quilt may appear it's not.  Here is how I made the blocks.  First I cut 2 1/2 inch
step 1 
step 2
step 3 
step 4 

strips from my selected fabric, then I sewed the black square to the strip, I used a pair of scissors to cut the piece off to from step one.  Sew another piece onto the other side, iron.  Sew the remaining two sides of the black square.  Now depending on the estimated size of the finished block the size of    the strips may change.  For this project I used a combination of 2 1/2 inch strips and 3 1/2 in strips.  Because once you get a finished square in step 4 it measures approx. 6 1/2 inches square, and now it's time to make the square wonky.  I highly recommend having a 'square up' type ruler for this project.

I needed to cut this square down to a 3 1/2 inch block so I layed the ruler on top, tried to center the ruler as best I could and slice and dice.  This is super fun but a little tricky.  Make sure you check your lines TWICE... yes that quilting curve totally caused some colourful words to exit my mouth.  Turn the block line up your ruler and cut again and tada you got yourself a wicked cool wonky block.  Once you have this cool block it's time to start sewing on the next strip set to give the block a little more depth.  I did

 eventually figure out a faster way to chain piece and assembly line this quilt but unless one was to sit down and plan a lot more (or if you have a huge array of fabrics) it's hard to make this quilt go together quickly.  I was also slightly appalled at how much fabric was wasted (especially the first couple blocks).  But I was able to salvage much of the waste to make the smaller blocks.  Make the big blocks first, and use the scraps to make the smaller ones.  Again because of my limited number of prints my design wall played a huge roll in putting this thing together.

I laid out the quilt on the design wall and proceeded to sew the pieces together that I could, and ended up with this.  Now I knew that I was going to have to do some fancy planning to put the whole thing together but I remember looking as this so happy at how far I had come when I got stumped.  In theory I knew all I had to do was leave a 1/4 in open and put it all together... well but... huh?  I went and had a beer on my back deck and pondered my troubles.  Although it is that simple I found that you want to do things in a certain order otherwise your seams don't lie flat or your will end up with holes.  Well after a little fortification I was able to figure it out but I also found that 1/4 inch wasn't enough space for me I ended up leaving about 1/2 and inch and it was much easier.  Anyhow the top is finished and I have already started on another project.  I haven't decided exactly how I'm going to quilt this wonky blocks quilt but I'm sure it will come to me at 2 am one of these nights.
Pretty cool eh?


  1. That is really cool. You should be very proud of yourself for creating this from an idea in your head, drafting the plan, and executing it. Welcome back to your blog, by the way. Missed you.

  2. That looks fantastic! You are a very talented quilt maker already. Glad to hear the move went smoothly and to see you back on your blog.