Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Patchwork City [Teal]

Last weekend I pieced the set of teal blocks for Patchwork City, using Kona Emerald.

This block used templates - argh! Not my favourite thing (in case you weren't aware). But by using freezer paper and rotary cutting I managed to get pretty good accuracy and I really like the finished block.

This block was just basic rotary cutting - lovely! Though the contrast between some pieces is perhaps not strong enough.

And I really like this one too. For the "hourglass" piecing in the centre I foundation pieced the stripes and the side triangles, rather than piecing the stripes traditionally and using templates for the sides.

And here are all three together

The Teal fabrics I've used are Cotton + Steel; Steel Netorious,  Pearl Bracelets, Art Gallery Oval Elements, Koa Strip (Molakai) and Alison Glass Bike Path. The low volume prints I can identify are Sew Mama Sew by Sweetwater, Indelible from Art Gallery, Pearl Bracelets, a few Stoff prints, Minimalista from Art Gallery, Cotton + Steel XOXO, Architextures cross hatch, Flea Market Fancy, Sunprint by Alison Glass, Type paper clips by Julia Rothman and what I think are some Eclectic Elements by Tim Holtz. There are other prints where I don't have the selvage...

After last week's dark green blocks I was unsure about this project: The blocks seemed a bit clunky. Now I've had a think, I know why I felt that:
  • Firstly, the pieces are bigger in these blocks than I was expecting. I've got so use to piecing 6" blocks, that an 8" block felt quite big. I've been working on fiddly blocks since I started quilting: a Farmer's Wife quilt; my long-running Architextures and Botanics quilt; a batiks quilt based on the book Sylvia's Bridal Sampler; and last year the Tula Pink City Sampler. 

  • Secondly, the shapes of and in the blocks: non-square blocks are such an oddity in sampler quilts, and I'm so use to symmetry in the traditional quilt blocks. The Tula Pink City Sampler quilt took me away from this symmetry for really the first rtime last year, but still in 6" square blocks; now I need to get use to the look of a rectangular block too.
  •  Thirdly, the blocks felt disjointed: I had pulled so many texty and low volume prints, and quite a few green prints, that the first few blocks just looked messy. Now that I'm six blocks in and I've repeated quite a few of the low volume prints, the blocks are starting to pull into a cohesive group even though the coloured fabrics will remain fairly scrappy.
  • And finally I couldn't picture the finished quilt. The sample in the book is sashed in grey fabric, and I don't like it - simply my personal choice. So I was trying to picture the blocks with white sashing. But it didn't feel right because of all the not-quite-white low volume I'm using. On Saturday night I had a hallelujah moment. Black. And now I can picture how this quilt will look. I think the black will set off the jewel-tone solids well (except perhaps the planned navy - maybe a I need a rethink there) and it will not grate against any of the low volumes.
Last week's dark green blocks
That was a lot of thinking... but it's helped me understand why I didn't love this project as much as I had hoped when I started. And in understanding it, I'm starting to love it. And it's given me a few new ideas that I'd like to explore: I'd love to have a go at shrinking these blocks, and I'd like to explore rectangular blocks more. Just as soon as there are more than 24 hours in a day...

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