Sunday, January 22, 2012

Solid Quilt

      The other day I spent time at my friend Eleanor's working on a quilt that I haven't introduced you to yet.

      I really like to work with solids. My quilting friends used to turn their noses up at the idea of making a quilt with all solids; but I have always liked the clean, graphic quality you get from using solids. Have you ever looked at an Amish quilt and thought "That's lovely, but I wished they had used prints."? I never have. I've had good luck with solid quilts. The first solid quilt I made was bought by the first non-quilter who saw it. The second solid quilt I made was chosen for the series quilt in McCall's Quilting in 2009. So now I am working on my 3rd solid quilt.

     I spent a lot of time working on this quilt when I was down in Florida visiting family for Christmas. It's a good quilt for working on away from home, because there are many steps that you don't need a sewing machine for. I won't need a design wall until I get the blocks done.

    Let me start with my inspiration. The first solid quilt I made used the block you see in the above photo. I made a pattern from that quilt which is on sale on my etsy site. I wish I new where I first saw that block or what the name of it is. If anyone knows the name of that block I would love it if you could send it to me in a comment. Anyway, I turned my head and caught sight of that pillow out of the corner of my eye; It made me think of this block:

     My first thought was to make a quilt entirely out of that block, and make a secondary pattern out of the way the colors were moving from block to block. But when I got several blocks made, and put it up on the design wall; I thought it might be too monotonous, I decided it needed some divisions. I have an idea of what I want to do with it, but I don't know how to describe it. I will just have to show you when I get further along.

       I had already made all of the half square triangles. When I was in Florida, I cut the center strips and squares, and pinned a color choice to each block. By the time I was at my Friends, I had already sewn the first side to the center strip. I often get asked how I keep all of my pices organized into blocks. I have a system.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        First, you need to make a decision for each block which way the half square triangles will face. Each way you turn them really changes the look of the block.

     I love to chain piece, but you can use chain peicing to help you stay organized. Sew one HST to one vertical center strip, one horizontal center strip to the center square, a second HST to a vertical center strip.

     You will have 2 HST and 1 strip left. Pin these to the chain of pieces.

      Next, repeat these steps for the next block. Cut your chain in between the blocks. Repeat this for all of you blocks. You will end up with a grouping of 3 completed seams for each block. Each grouping will have the "yet to be sewn pieces pinned to them. You will have many groups that will look like this.
      That is what I had when I went to Eleanor's house. I was ready for several hours of pressing and chatting.

      Cut them apart and press. Be sure to press the strip//HST units one way; and the strip/small square units the opposing way so they nest into each other.

     After pressing, pin all the pieces togethet to keep the organized. I like to store them in a plastic shoebox to keep them all together until I am ready for the next step. See you after I have gotten something else done!

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