Dancing Shoo Flies I

It only took 8 months. Here, at last, is the quilt made with blocks contributed by the members of the  The Incredible Shrinking Quilters’ Bee. Lesly of Pickle Dish started this group at the end of 2009, and the first 11 people to sign up were in. For my month I chose the liberated shoo fly block from Gwen Marston’s book Liberated Quiltmaking (now out of print). What I really like about this pattern is its movement and its simplicity. 

Dancing Shoo Flies I

The fabric went out in mid March and by the end of May all the blocks were done. Luckily for me, some people made 2 blocks so I started with 15 and added my own once I decided on this layout.

The key thing I learned in making this quilt is what happens when you sew the binding to the front of the quilt before quilting it; the edges turn out rather wavy. It’s a long story… 

After sewing on the black border I added the narrow multi-coloured border next. I cut it narrow for two reasons. 1. because too much of the print would have been too busy for the quilt; and 2. it was difficult for the stripes to look straight the wider I cut it. So I added the thin border and looked around for the next one. But nothing looked good. The quilt decided it was finished after that narrow border.  While I considered quilting it before binding it, I was concerned the quilt would become sufficiently distorted that I wouldn’t be able to square it up. So I applied the binding hoping the quilt would keep its shape. 

Too bad I didn’t think to take off the narrow border and apply a wider one (then quilt the quilt and trim it to size. That’s my lesson learned.

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Layer cake quilt along blocks 1-6

As you can tell from the button in the right-hand column,  I’m participating in the Layer Cake Quilt Along run by Konda Luckau, over at Moose on the Porch Quilts . Every two weeks a different guest quilter designs a block to be constructed from the fabrics of a layer cake. When it’s done, we’ll have a dozen 12″ block to sash together.  We’re now halfway through the quilt along, and I thought I’d show what I’ve done so far.

The fabric I’m using is Blush by Basic Grey. I’ve loved this line ever since I saw (and bought!) this jelly roll, about 10 months ago.  As you can see, the JR is still intact because I think it’s too beautiful to take apart. If you like this line, snap up what you can. It was released last spring and many local shops are sold out.

Jelly Roll in Blush by Basic Grey

 For the quilt along I’m using some fat quarters and 1/2 yard cuts because I don’t have the layer cake.

It was difficult to start with a grand plan because I had no idea what the blocks would look like. So for the first few, I simply chose fabrics that I thought coordinated and contrasted well. 

Layer Cake Quilt Along blocks 1-3

The result was a collection of blocks that were “pretty”, but with all the pink and blue through block 4, it felt like a baby quilt more than anything else. 

Layer Cake Quilt Along blocks 4-6

To change the mood of the quilt I used just red and blue in block 5, and I am really happy with the result. Actually, I adore this block! And it has motivated me to be a bit more heavy handed in the use of the dark fabrics from the line, as you can see in block 6.

Now that I’ve had this insight, I am keen, keen, keen to do blocks 7-12.  Last year Konda ran a Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along , and I have to admit that my enthusiasm petered out as I became increasingly disillusioned with the fabric I had chosen. The fabric was Aviary by 3 Sisters, and there was not a dark value in the whole jelly roll.  Needless to say, it was difficult to make 12 blocks using only lights and mediums.

Now I’ve got to wait until January 25, 2011 for the next layer cake block, which just might give me enough time to finish up a group quilt…