It’s done. Quilted and bound with a label. A vanishing 9-patch quilt with borders built from ~80 charm squares.
Charm Squares Quilt – Top
I’m pleased with the scattering of the small yellow blocks – they appeared when the assembled 9-patch block was recut into four – the yellow central block became four small corner squares. The distribution of colour also has worked out well. The pale inner border ties the central pieced panel nicely, the narrow yellow border provides accent and the dark wide outer border balances out the quilt.
Charms Squares Quilt – Back
For the back I selected a few squares from the second charm pack I’d bought (in case) and cut an equal number of batik squares to set up the bordered strips. The backing fabric is the same fabric I used for the borders on the front – didn’t have quite enough to cover the top so had to create a horizontal stripe as well. I reversed position of the two pieces when I added in the vertical strips to add further interest to the back.
The quilt is now in the growing collection of quilts to be shown in Parrsboro in July/August. It won’t be for sale since it already has a home with my physiotherapist. I think it fits the bill for her – she didn’t want it so fancy that she felt she couldn’t just throw it on her sofa.
I’m playing with three ideas in this new quilt I began during the week. First, I felt like I wanted to work with yellow and grey. I went through my stash pulling out everything I had in those two shades (quite a lot, actually). Then went shopping for more yellow and one more grey.
Next, I decided to work with half-square triangles. I’d seen a picture of a quilt with the point elements offset into the border. An otherwise simple quilt suddenly became more interesting.
Then, I’d seen another quilt where the colour of the blocks was graduated giving an ombre effect – in this quilt only the greys shift from light to dark, the yellows are of constant value.
I wanted to shift both colours from light to dark:
The border here will be the dark grey embedding the yellow solidly against a dark background. I can also see from the photo I have to reposition (perhaps even swap out) some of the darker blocks with dots because they pull the eye from the overall movement in the quilt. Another thing I’m wondering is whether I shouldn’t pop a tiny bit of another colour (say a very strong orange) into some location or other – but perhaps if I’m careful repositioning the dots I might get the effect I’m after. I’ll have to play with the layout some more.
Repositioning the darkest blocks with the dots has done it I think… although maybe I should gather the paler oranges together into the second or third ring – that will probably require I make new blocks – anyway, it’s time to get on with other things today. I’ll keep looking at this before stitching the blocks together…
One of the things I wanted the ladies in the quilting class to learn was how to look at pictures of quilts and deconstruct them. So I hunted for quilts I thought would be relatively easy to analyze. Among the photos I sent them was a charm quilt. “Charms” if you don’t know are precut pieces of fabric 5″ square. I had several charm packs (a charm pack is 40 of these 5″ pieces) in my stash and thought I should give the quilt a try. The original photo sashed and bordered the charms in alternating darker and lighter grey. I took my charms to the fabric store to see what would work with the charms I’d selected. Dark and light grey for the sashing was going to make those small coloured blocks pop. So I cut the strips I needed and quickly assembled the quilt top. What I particularly like are the vertical strips from one row to the next linking the rows.
I made a few more bordered blocks, cut half of them in half to assemble a strip for the backing.
The quilt sandwich is pinned and ready to be quilted.
However I still had a large number of charms not used in this quilt so I thought I’d have a go at another quilt idea based on two blocks: half-square triangles and strips. The quilt I had in mind would need 140 4 1/2″ blocks. So I made 70 half-square triangles and 70 blocks with 1/2″ strips down the middle.
Here are the blocks laid out on my office floor. I’m still auditioning them – trying to find what for me is the most pleasing arrangement. That’ll take a day or two of coming back to look at the layout and tweeking it a bit more. Once sewn together, I intend to border the quilt with the darker grey fabric I used in the first quilt, backing and binding – I don’t know yet.
One of the things I’ve been teaching in the quilting class is how to deconstruct a quilt design. To this end I’ve shared images of quilts with the gals and helped them break down their construction.
One of the quilts I shared was a photo of a quilt made from “charms” (5″ blocks) bordered in two neutral shades. I’ve had 4 charm packs in my stash for some time and I thought this would be a good way to use them.
I selected the most interesting blocks from 3 of the charm packs (the rest I put into a scrap pile and a use later pile). I auditioned the chosen blocks, sorted them into rows, then bordered half with the darker fabric, the remaining I bordered with the lighter.
What caught my attention with this quilt was the contrasting sashing linking the blocks vertically.
I used some leftover charms for the back keeping the motif intact in the inserted stripe. I thought about backing the quilt with the darker border fabric, but I happened across this batik and thought it would bring a bit of life to the quilt.
I think I will bind the quilt with the darker grey. I still have to think about the quilting motif and whether to include the block borders in the embroidery or not.