Friday, September 17, 2010

The Quilt Files, Episode 22

I'd made the same baby quilt pattern about five or six times, varying the colors and fabrics each time. So when I discovered last fall that a couple of friends were expecting, I was ready to try a different pattern. When one of them said they were decorating the nursery in "bright, bold colors," I knew exactly which pattern to choose. I headed over to my favorite fabric store with the goal of finding several bright, bold, mostly solid batiks. The "Pure and Simple" pattern called for five solids: red, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I thought, however, that the blue and purple were too close together to make a really good contrast. After pulling out a dozen different bolts, I decided that red, orange, yellow, green, and blue would produce the most striking combinations.

As you can see, the pattern itself is pretty basic: 3½-inch squares, pieced together in rows. It's the pattern of those differently colored squares, reminiscent of those old-fashioned woven potholders, that makes it interesting. The pattern may look too complicated to use the strip-piecing method—where you sew two or more strips together and then cut them into linked squares, which is much faster than cutting those strips into squares and then sewing the squares together—because those colors alternate all over the place. Careful analysis, however, showed me that there were equal numbers of paired squares: red-red/red-orange/red-yellow/red-green/red-blue/orange-orange, etc etc. So I was able to do some strip piecing to create the paired squares, and because I actually did two quilt tops at the same time, I saved quite a bit of time.

Once I had my stacks of color pairs, the rest was easy: sew together rows in the appropriate patterns, sew the rows together, and add a red border. Once I managed to get the right amount of fabric for the backing (I altered the size of the pattern, and forgot to add the borders in when I calculated the area), the rest was easy. The top was of a manageable size to machine quilt, and the pattern was extremely easy: straight diagonals radiating out from the center of the quilt. You may be able to tell from some of the darker squares in this picture that I used a variegated thread (in primary colors, of course) to do the quilting. (Click on the photo itself to get it in a new window, and you can enlarge to see the detail, if you like). I like using multicolored thread when I quilt because it makes different patterns against different colors, adding another layer of interest to the pattern.

I really loved the results I got with this design: the boldness of the colors, the high contrast of the pattern, the simplicity of it all. In the future I might adapt it to create a quilt with my huge stash of scraps, but in the meantime I have a old project to finish quilting, so I may not get to any new projects for a while.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Photo of the Week--9/13/10

My goodness, another photo with me in it? By the time we visited Washington DC in 2007, we had a teenager who wasn't very interested in sightseeing any more. (Actually, he never was very interested in sightseeing, but it's a lot easier to manage a non-teenager with promises of ice cream.) So TSU and I left him behind with Grandma and took a weekend trip by ourselves to the nation's capital. And here I am in our capital before the Capitol (spelled with a capital C), where you might be able to spy the capital part of some columns. It was a cloudy fall day, but we still had a great time walking our feet off seeing all the museums and other sights.