vrijdag 11 februari 2011

Westouter double drunkards ninepatch quilt

Last time I showed you the quilt I have chosen for the challenge and promised to tell more about this project. Bonus points go to Yvonne, who recognized it right away!

This quilt is special to me for several reasons, one of which is that it started at a quilters retreat I have had the pleasure of attending almost every year for eight years or so. Katrien hosts this very friendly yearly gathering of some 20 quilters from Flanders (Belgium) and the Netherlands. There's a block lottery every year, and in 2007 I was fortunate enough to win a goodly stack of scrappy fourpatch blocks:

(wouldn't you know it - I couldn't find even one picture of a real single block... so I used ElectricQuilt)

The six inch blocks all had a light background (off-white to a dark-ish ecru) and colored ninepatch units. Colors of all kinds: brights, tones, mingled, color co-ordinated blocks and totally scrappy ones. I was thrilled to win these lovely blocks!

And then I entered the process of figuring out a layout. I wanted to make a quilt no one from the retreat would have expected from the blocks I won. Here's an abbreviated, rather oversimplified version of my design - and thought process as I remember it.

Nice and simple, but where have my fourpatch blocks gone?

Pretty good, lots of room for hand quilting in those plain blocks, but a little too predictable for me.

Maybe a bit better, but I have some doubts. These EQ5 blocks behave well because they're all the same. How can I make those different blocks pull together in real life?

Let's see what would happen if I threw in some curves?

Hey, I like this! I'm off to the quilt shop to find a good blender fabric for those quarter circles. I bet that would help tame those madly different scraps!

In the shop, it became clear very soon that because of the wide range of colors in the scrappy blocks, the quilt could go in any direction colorwise. It was great to see the scala of possibilities. In the end I chose a blotty purple, red, pink and golden fabric for the pie wedges. I sewed the top, getting more and more enthousiastic about my choice.

I chose to keep the border very simple, so the quilt center would stand out. Choosing the border fabric was a snap: Merel had this wonderful batik with lots of color variation, that picks up so many of the different colors in the quilt!

That was about three years ago and I'd better get on with the hand quilting, or I'll never get this one done. Oh, and I don't want to forget to tell you about the batting! It's 90% silk and 10 % polyester. It's sooo smooooth to stitch through! I'm sure this will be a wonderfully warm quilt, yet it's also really light.

Wouldn't it be great if I could take the finished quilt to show and tell at the retreat next autumn?

zaterdag 5 februari 2011

Finally labelled, Geese progress and a Challenge!

Last November I finished my purple squares quilt and asked for your help in finding a name. I appreciate your suggestions. I liked both Purple Rain and Hip to be Square, so it had to be one of these two. I finally decided on Hip to be Square (after the 80's hit song by Huey Lewis & the News) and made the label last night:

Thank you Irene for your suggestion, it's a winner for me! I've always enjoyed that song :-)

After attaching the label, I decided to get out one of many still unfinished Dolly Quilt projects, Geese Around the World. I like my colors, nice and bright against the mostly black background.

This is a paper piecing project. I have a love - hate attitude towards paper piecing. I love the accuracy in piecing, but I don't much enjoy the tedious work involved. Still, for some projects, it works. But I can hardly wait to get the top done. Hopefully sometime this weekend!

Today, I went to Birdblocks quiltshop to help Merel teach this month's edition of Sarah Fielke's Dolly Quilt project. However, there was only one lady to teach, so the workshop was finished very soon.

So I had lots of time to chat with Merel and Judith. Merel happened to mention that she had not done any more quilting on her flannel log cabin quilt for weeks or even months. Judith and I suggested that a challenge might help to get the quilt done and onto Merels bed at last. It wasn't long before it was decided that a challenge was a good idea.

Judith has made some blocks for the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler quilt years ago and wants to work on that project again. She has committed to making two blocks every month. I think we've decided to report monthly on our progress in the challenge.

Of course I, too, had to pick a project to work on each month. There are certainly enough to choose from, more even than my WIP-list on this blog shows... In the end, I have decided on my double drunken ninepatch quilt, which has been in the hand quilting stage for over two and a half years. I don't actually think there's any such pattern name as double drunken ninepatch, but I wouldn't know what else to call it. I made it up myself, though I realise I may not be the only quilter to have done so. I'll snap a picture of the quilt as it is now soon, but here's a picture I made when I finished the top:

This is actually one of my favorite quilts, for several reasons. Next time I'll tell you a bit more about it.