The magic of heat


One of my new year’s resolutions has not been to declare a stash down, or a finish-up-the-wips-athon. I’m not banning myself from buying any new yarn or fabric but instead I want to rediscover the beautiful things that I already have in my stash, or, if I don’t think they’re beautiful any more, sell them, trade them, or give them away.

I have some lovely fabrics in my fabric stash, and I also have two half finished quilts.  So my first resolution of the year is to finish the two quilts before I let my over-active imagination, and some very beautiful quilting books and blogs, run away with me.

First at the machine is the ever so nearly finished block of the month quilt.  When last this quilt came out of the bag I’d started the October and November blocks but not finished either of them, and the combination of Kitty, Mummy-brain and some snow prevented me from getting to December’s class.

The aim for January then is to make one block per week, and have the last week and a bit to quilt, sash and bind it.

October’s block is the Lattice Window, and once I’d got the hang of the technique it came together pretty quickly:
January 006

But it was November’s block that had the magic.  It’s a Celtic Knot, made by tacking iron on bias binding to the traced outline on the backing fabric,
January 151

January 152
and then applying a medium iron to melt and smooth it all out.
January 155
You can see the difference from this progress shot.
January 156
And then the final result.
January 157
I then tacked down the binding on each edge with some thinner than thin hand quilting thread, and pulled out the tacking.

A final pass with the iron has unfortunately rather scorched the gilt off my bias binding which is a tad annoying but not so much that I want to make the block again.
January 167
Truth be told I’m not sure that this block is going to make it into the final quilt; sampler quilts are never going to be the most cohesive quilts at the best of times, even using the same fabrics throughout, and I don’t think that the gold sits particularly well with the other blocks.  Silver might have been better and was my first choice of binding but there wasn’t any available when I took the class, so gold it is.

I rather suspect that my conclusion on the whole ‘block-a-month’ experience is that I love the techniques I learned and I loved the company, but sampler quilts are not for me, I like my quilts to flow together and to have a more strongly geometric aesthetic than I’m ever going to get in a sampler quilt.

If I leave out the Celtic Knot block then once I’ve finished the last block (Drunkard’s Path) I’ll be a block short so I’ll have to see what fabric I’ve got left and choose one of the other blocks to repeat.

Quilt Blocks

I suspect if I’ve got enough fabric I’ll choose the Roman Road (second row, right hand side) but reverse the colours to make it predominantly dark, but I’m open to suggestions so please chip in.

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  • Caroline M 16/01/2011 at 7:34 pm

    What about a few rail fence blocks, they’ll work with whatever scraps you have left if you sort them by value, it’s stupidly easy and fast.

    I have the widget that makes the bias with fusible tape in, in two sizes no less, and find it useful for all sorts of things. I’ve never used it for the purpose for which it was intended though.

  • stringsandyarn.com 16/01/2011 at 7:56 pm

    I totally agree that the gold really sticks out. If there was a good way to center it, that may work, but not with the number you have…

    If it was me, I wouldn’t do a duplicate (also unbalanced). I’d find another block to try out or an old favorite.

    As much as the gold sticks out, it’s a really cool technique. Will have to keep that in mind…

    Thanks for sharing!

  • mandycharlie 17/01/2011 at 5:53 am

    A couple of those blocks can be turned around to look completely different. I am sure you will find something that will suit your quilt. It does look very pretty.

  • Julie Smith 20/01/2011 at 9:05 pm

    These pieces are so beautiful. I love the colors and I particularly like the Lattice Window. But as I quilt, I think you’re right, the Roman Road would be absolutely amazing.

  • Rachel 20/01/2011 at 10:00 pm

    Even though I think that the celtic block is VERY cool, I’d have to agree that it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the quilt. Maybe you could do another and make matching pillows or something…or build up from that block to make a smaller wall hanging with it.

    I like your idea to not limit yourself from buying but to remind yourself of the beautiful things in your stash. It seems to me as soon as I restrict myself from something (buying yarn, eating pasta), that’s when I crave it even more. So I’ve had the same general goals for myself and it’s been fun finding skeins I had forgotten about!