In February we’re well into 2017 and yet this week I seem to be ignoring the changing of the year and sticking resolutely to my 2016 plans. My current knitting is Pip’s Christmas jumper, now on the right front with only sleeves, hood and just the 3 balls of yarn to go, and I thought it was high time that we had a little quilting update to see where I’d got to on the question of the Sugarblock Quilt, or possibly quilts.
Selling a house and making a quilt are not the happiest of bedfellows, the one requiring our habitually chaotic studio to look as though no one ever so much as opened a paint tube in it and the other inevitably shedding teeny tiny little snips of white thread all over the floor. In the flurry of viewings my blocks and precut bits and pieces have spent a lot of time stacked up in a corner, but over Christmas I had a bit of a quilting flurry and spent some happy evenings holed up in the studio sewing my way through the months.
The last block I showed you was the first of the Maritime Stars and the second, while cut out, was scattered to all corners of the house when we moved some furniture around. Finally brought back together it looks like this:
As blocks go it’s still my favourite of the whole quilt, and only the prospect of paper piecing all those sections holds me back from making a full size quilt from them. Maybe I shouldn’t throw it off entirely but just save it for later in the hope that in years to come there might be a little bit more time and it will feel achievable.
So that brought us to August and Shenadoah.
It’s a variation on the Virginia Star, the sort of star your mind conjurs up when you think of a star quilt, and this version is the perfect canvas to show off some pretty fabric.
This blue Paris print I bought to make a dress for Kitty; she wore it, Elma still wears it and the leftover fabric is still featuring in quilts and little scrap projects and when it’s finally all used up I will be a little bit sad.
For the other block I choose the elephants, both to show that that actually is the pattern; lots of other blocks have had snippets of trunk or tail so it’s nice to put them all together and reassemble poor Nelly, and to add balance. I think this is one of the most dominant fabrics in all of the blocks, and I know when I added the first block with it in I thought I’d made a horribly mistake. The more I add, the more balance the quilt gets. At least that’s the theory.
I’ve hopped over September for a minute because it’s another part paper pieced pattern and our printer hasn’t been the same since Pip decided to feed it felt tip pens, and moved straight on to October and the bear paws.
And it was at this point that I realised that even raiding my stash for unused fat quarters, the scraps are not going to make it to the end. The two bear paw blocks are made from the only fabrics that I had on hand with enough to make the paw, and I’m pretty sure I’ve exhausted the elephants and the blue spots now. I know this was hoping to be an entirely from stash sort of a quilt, both for the satisfaction of making something from leftovers and because big quilt splurges are not in the current budget, but I’m hoping to find a handful of fat quarters just to get me to the very end.
And I do now have a plan for the very end. It’s going to be two quilts. I’ve got September, November and December blocks to go and then I’ll have 24 in total, hopefully vaguely hanging together in some semblance of order. I loved the layout that Amy suggested (taken from her Quilt Block Cook Book), a diamond of 12 blocks set in a white background; the blocks shine, there’s nothing to compete with them and overall it’s gentle on the eye. But not necessarily that practical.
(I can no longer fit all of the blocks on the floor and it keeps raining outside, so this is just a snippet!)
I think of predominantly white quilts, I imagine these on the girls’ bunkbeds in the absolutely perfect next house, their room softly lit with gentle sunshine while they play on the floor nearby, the scatter of only the most instagrammable of their toys surrounding them, and then reality hits. That much white, for a six and four year old, is asking more of my daughters than is seriously reasonable. At the very least we need a little something to break up the white.
So my plan is to start with the concept of the diamond, but add in a corner to corner X made up of tiny scrap blocks. I’m thinking nine tiny squares to a block, or possibly five; whatever adds colour without taking away from the original.
Target completion date is probably Christmas 2017 so I’ve got a bit of time to play around; what would you do?