Scrapbuster Quilt in Progress

IMG_1160 smallerThe Scrapbuster quilt that was my bee block in December (second block here) is finally coming together. Ten blocks were sewn by members of the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild and I stitched the remaining 20.

Each block includes 42 coloured squares for more than 1,200 little squares in the completed quilt. Now, I’m the first one to admit I have a healthy fabric stash, but I have very little in the way of scraps and didn’t want to start carving up my usable fabric. Plus, I have bad habits when it comes to tidily putting back each piece of fabric I pull, hence the general disorder in my sewing room. That, however, is another post.

IMG_1837_cropped & reduced

Fabric confetti. 1½” squares cut from charm packs.

Thinking it would hardly look scrappy if I used the same 42 fabrics throughout the quilt, I bought a variety of charm packs of modern prints with bright, saturated colours. And because I didn’t want all of the fabrics to have the same value I added more than 35 fabrics from my stash. With each little square cut to 1½”x 1½”, I could get as many as 9 squares from each charm square but started by cutting just five, saving the rest for a value quilt or a half-square triangle quilt.

After the blocks were sewn up but not sewn together, I started to wonder whether there was an imbalance of negative to positive space. There seemed to be an awful lot of white fabric framing the colours. Why not add an extra row of coloured squares around the blocks? Technically it would be sashing, but I thought it would look organic to the pattern and not separate or delineate the blocks the way sashing often does.

So I chopped up the remaining charm squares and started sewing. Luckily I thought to make a mock-up of what the quilt would look like prior to sewing the strips to the blocks.

Testing the look of coloured squares added around each block.

Testing the effect of coloured squares added around each block.

What comes to mind? Claustrophobic? Overkill? No place for the eye to rest? How about all of the above? Back to plan A.

The quilt as designed.

A nice clean-looking quilt. As designed.

Now that I have several hundred 1½” squares already cut I will hold onto them until I decide whether to use them on the back of this quilt, make a postage stamp quilt, or save them for my next scrapbuster quilt.

Once I decide on the quilting pattern I will quilt it in sections. That will be a first. And if we have enough rainy weekends this summer I just might get to it before September.



Last Bee Blocks of the Season

The cool thing about making blocks for quilting bees is that I get to try new patterns without having to commit to making a whole lot of them. This is different from my usual approach to quilting, which is to jump into a new project with both feet: buy and cut the fabric and start sewing — all before I have a clue as to whether I will enjoy the process. Bees have introduced me to some wonderful designs, many of which I will use again in the future. At the same time, the construction of some blocks has been so challenging I’m now keeping a mental “never again” list.

Two feathersM-R was queen bee in March and asked for Anna Maria Horner’s Feather Bed blocks. It’s been a long time since I worked with so many templates and I was a bit nervous not having any fudge room, but they seem to have turned out. Each feather is 18″ tall.

April chose the Simply Woven block designed by Jess Kelly, available from the Moda Bakeshop. You’d never know I made a huge cutting error from which I eventually recovered, but I do have a couple of new grey hairs thanks to these blocks.

Two Simply Woven blocks

Simply Woven blocks

At a sew-in in April I made a third pair of bee blocks and was so excited to have done them the very day I got the fabric that I gave them to the Queen Bee before snapping any photos.

Now it’s time to focus on a few of my works in progress, including a quilt from the blocks I received when I was Queen Bee. Hopefully I’ll have an update on that before the end of summer.