I have sewn raw edge appliqué blocks precisely once before in my life, when persuaded by a very dear friend I spent a day making a Christmas tree skirt featuring appliqué Christmas trees and then dashed home to make another three Christmas trees for a skirt for my parents’ tree.
It’s a technique I enjoyed once I got my machine behaving itself but I just haven’t had call to use it since. But all that was to change with this month’s Sugarblock club blocks. It’s based on the very 30’s style petal block, which I agree definitely looks like a very neatly peeled orange.
The petals turned out to be huge fun to sew, possibly because it’s a much easier shape to sew than a Christmas tree, and I can see how tempting it would be to make a whole petal quilt; wouldn’t a scrappy rainbow of petals be pretty (I may perhaps have pinned all of the petal quilts in this month’s blog post!).
With a little more diving into the scrap bag I found some more of the pretty pale yellow birds and leaves fabric which I’d thought was all used up so that definitely had to make an appearance in one of this month’s blocks; the other fabric includes some repeats from the earlier blocks and a few scraps left over from older projects. I’m at a funny stage with this project in terms of colours; I’ve not repeated any of the combinations yet, although you can start to see which fabrics I’m clearly drawn to and I’m trying really hard to mix it up and not just go for the easy choices, knowing that by the time we get to December I should hopefully have made a serious dent in the pile in the bag, and my options will be a lot more limited.
Although having said that, the bag is showing signs of suffering from the widow’s curse; I’ve sewn six blocks and I’m not sure I can see any difference in the amount of fabric I have in there!
So here we are:
My first block, all long grass dancing against a deep blue sky. There are fabrics in here that are leftover from the swimming pool quilt I made when I was waiting for Kitty to arrive, and the mock paisley that was her favourite summer skirt last year.
and the second, a brilliantly shaggy-headed bloom on a scorching hot summer’s day, with that favourite yellow print as well as the blues from a quilt that I made for my Mum, and the green from a quilt made for a baby friend of Kitty’s.
It’s amazing how much of a difference there is between the two blocks because of the colour values in the border triangles. The second block is full of contrast so I look at it and see a surrounding star, the yellow retreating to hang out with the white; but in the first the two border fabrics have blended together far more than I would have predicted seeing them laid out on the table together. I did think about whether I should change one or both of the fabrics in the blue block, but the more I look at it, the more I love it; I like that the star is a little hidden, and the way that it echoes the corners of the blue elephant cross. So I’m sticking with it for now and we’ll see. The beautiful of quilting is that right up until the point that I have to pick the blocks up and sew them together I can still change my mind and have a do-over.
And speaking of do-overs; I’m very proud of myself because this week I undid the blue elephant cross to correct the pattern error which prescribed strips of white that were a smidge too short, to replace them with longer versions. At which point I discovered that being the type of person who will attack a quilt block with a seam ripper to try to correct something rather than just fudge it when it comes to assembly will make you feel very grown up and responsible; there’s a certain gravitas in taking the time to make sure it’s absolutely correct. I also discovered that you can rip seams and re-sew blocks all you like and yet….
…it will still end up looking slightly wonky. It is however less wonky than it was before and I’m sticking with that!
It gave me a good excuse to pull all the blocks out together though, and to see my vision of a blue, green and yellow spring quilt start to come to fruition.
I love the way that the border on the orange peel blocks ties them into the rest of the quilt; I think it must be a real challenge to come up with 12 blocks that can hang together as a cohesive whole, but when I lay out my six so far I can see how pretty they’re all going to look together. And now all I have to do is hold on and wait the few more days until it’s April and there’ll be another block to explore; I can’t wait!