Improvisation #6: Japanese Quilt

IMG_7452

Finished dimensions: 52″ X 64″

Just this minute finished this quilt top. I haven’t yet finished quilting the tipsy squares – the fabric for this quilt called out to me and I had to cut the blocks, then the circular portions leaving an “L” shaped piece, and I couldn’t leave the pile of “L” shaped pieces sitting there so I started working on the blocks.

The blocks are what is called “drunkard’s path”. It’s a classic quilt block with a curved bite removed from one corner. There are a gazillion possible arrangements for these blocks, but I thought this fabric collection called out for complete and partial circles – bubbles.

Sewing drunkard’s path blocks is not for the faint of heart! The challenge is to smoothly fit a convex curve to a concave one. Cutting the corner piece was relatively simple – I’d bought an acrylic template that allowed me to cut consistent 5″ circular pieces with my rotary cutter. To end up with a 6 1/2″ block I actually began with 7″ squares of fabric, cut the 1/4 circle, then trimmed the ends of the “L” 3/8 of an inch so when I aligned the two antagonistic curves they would actually match up. I sewed a bunch of practice blocks before tackling these ones for the quilt. By the time I got to sewing this fabric I had pretty good control over the process and almost all of the blocks could safely be trimmed to 6 1/2″. My finished block size is, therefore, 6″. It took some fiddling to get the block to work – 1/4″ seam on the curve was essential – actually just a tiny bit shy of 1/4″ worked best. The instructions I read recommended using 5 pins along the curve – I found I just needed two – one in the middle of the curve, the second at the end – then carefully fitting the “L” to the 1/4 circle (the latter on the bottom) allowed me the best control. I was surprised how quickly I could construct the blocks.

While I was making blocks I did enough for an insertion in the backing. That strip is also assembled. Tomorrow, I’ll construct the backing and set up the quilt for quilting. THEN I have to get back to the tilted squares to get the quilting on that quilt done.

I have four more quilt ideas waiting their turn. I have fabric for some of them – the difficult part is being patient and not starting anything else until these two quilts are finished.

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