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Holly Berries - Chevrons [Aug. 12th, 2012|10:42 pm]
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Check out what talented quilters all over the country are up to this week on Judy Laquidara’s Design Wall Monday. Here’s my design surface, with a partial mock-up of the design for Holly Berries: four finished blocks surround one test block made up of unsewn units.

Holly Berries mock-up

Progress: 16 of 25 blocks completed, alternate background purchased, washed, and auditioned.

Process: When one has never done a new technique before, one should perhaps make a mock-up or practice block, even if one thinks that the math one has used is perfectly sound.

AKA, I cut all the green diamond-shapes per my carefully crafted template, sewed them together, finished one unit, and it was wrong. Too short, and after remaking the template and doing a test block, still needed another eighth of an inch to come to the correct size. Thank goodness I laid the piece that goes alongside the “leaves” next to that test unit, or I wouldn’t have known something was off until way further in the process! Wound up adding about 5/8 inches. This is likely due to a geometry plus seam allowances fail; sometimes I get very confused in figuring those and do it wrong.

Also, everything on this unit was cut just a bit outsized so the block could be squared up; that worked pretty well, but for the next round of these I want to cut the background triangles just a tiny bit larger. In trimming these blocks to size, the small bottom triangles are often just a whisker short. Not enough to have to make new ones, but I’ll have to seam them carefully with an eye to matching the parts of the edges that I know are accurate.

What went right was the bright idea to cut the leaves in pairs, using a single template. They are mirror images, so I was thinking to cut 28 of one image and then 28 of the other before having the inspiration to lay the two fabrics I wanted to sew together on the cutting board right sides together. Making the cuts that way automatically generated the mirror images. Laying the dark side on the bottom for each pair of fabrics and marking which side to sew first gave me the consistent results (darker fabric always on the right in the finished block) I was looking for.

Which leads naturally to… scrappy that isn’t, really. I love scrappy quilts and will never use one red where ten will do. This quilt is about as uniform as I get; one focus fabric, only two cream backgrounds, only eight dark red fabrics, only four greens. That said, truly scrappy – the oft-advised technique of putting your light fabrics in one bag and your darks in another, rummaging for one of each and sewing them together without looking at the colors – gives me hives. I cannot do it. I reach and pull and set the two colors together and say, “ugh, not that,” and put one of the two back and rummage for another.

Themes and quirky rules are fun. So every ‘scrappy’ quilt I do has these arcane rules visible only to me, which add interest to the process and satisfy my OCD mind. Like dark green always on the right. Or “I want this red to be prominent in the quilt” so with eight red fabrics to choose from and 184 two inch squares needed, if I cut 20 of each of the seven other fabrics and 44 of the prominent fabric that will give me 24% prominent fabric in the reds. Sometimes this game gets too complicated and I am lost and frustrated, but more often it’s a fun subtext that helps me think about what I want the finished quilt to be.

This is very much a YMMV thing. What are your “underlying rules” when quilting?


From: (Anonymous)
2012-08-13 11:41 pm (UTC)
Those are beautiful blocks! Red and green can never go wrong :)

I'm with you, I can't do the random scrappy thing either. I like a controlled scrappy because value adds interest but I don't want it to get muddy or too busy to allow the prints to be appreciated on their own. You're doing a terrific job with your design!
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[User Picture]From: catlinye_maker
2012-08-14 12:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yeah, red and green and gold and ivory, all my most favorite Christmas colors. This is supposed to be a gift but it may stay on my couch instead! ;)
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From: ext_1349874
2012-08-14 03:02 am (UTC)
This is going to be a gorgeous quilt!!! Love the traditional red and green fabrics. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I'm leaning toward the tiny blue stars with red accent and boots.
Ann at straythreads-straythreads.blogspot.com
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