I had a plan when I started this quilt. I really did.
Rosie thought I did too.
My thought was to make each block with a single background fabric and assorted reds and pink-reds for the "chains" in the block. So far, so good, right? So I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a stronger contrast between the red and the pink-red, I still loved the blocks. That was what mattered. The gray in the sashing would be the perfect finishing touch...
Except it wasn't.
My original plan was to make the sashing using the gray prints. I had several options. I could use one gray print for all the sashings... except that's not really "me". And with my color scheme, it would also make that print the most dominant aspect of my quilt. I could use different gray prints for each sashing piece - I've done that sort of thing before and I always love the results. Or I could piece them - been there, done that too. There were multiple options for piecing the sashings but when I put up the gray pieces... the beautiful soft creaminess of my blocks disappeared. Completely.
Okay. Plan B. Make the gray part of the sashing smaller. So I added 1 1/2" cut - 1" finished - strips of the same background fabric to each block, making my "blocks" measure 19 1/2" x 19 1/2". The gray sashing would finish at 1" wide. Sounds good, right?
Not really. I tried straight strips. I tried pieced strips. I even tried really pieced strips.
The squares in the sashing shown here measure 1" x 1" finished.
(Just so you know, this is the best picture of my blocks as they "finished" with the extra row of background. I added a straight strip of the background to each side of the block, and there are 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" red squares in the corners - assorted, of course.)
I wasn't in love with this so I put up more strips and "lived" with them for a few days...
I liked it - mostly - but I didn't love it. It was that simple.
It finally dawned on me that there were two things "bothering" me. First, after looking at the creamy soft blocks for a few weeks, that was the "look" I had fallen in love with. Second, I'm going to blame the holidays. The red, pink-red and cream color scheme seemed very Christmas... adding that bit of gray just didn't fit "the season". It was totally a "mood" thing - a whim. That's how "crushes" go. So out with the gray, in with the ???
More cream background. But which one?
All of them. I strip-pieced 1 1/2" x random length strips to make the sashing strips. It would "continue" the scrappiness of the red and pink-reds of the blocks. Or at least that's what I hoped it would do.
My hope was that it would keep any one fabric from becoming too dominant - and keep a little bit of a "make it do" quality to the finishing.
For those sashing strips, I did two things. First, I didn't use a 45-degree angle for the join. I used a 60-degree angle. Porquoi? Because I felt like it.
Really. It was a purposeful choice - perhaps even a design choice. Using a 45-degree angle is standard, as is a straight seam. Both work fine - and there are really good reasons to use one or the other. But when joining different fabrics, even those with the same background color and value, I think a 60-degree angle is "softer". Sometimes the straight seam or the 45-degree angle is still fairly noticeable - more noticeable than you might want. The 60-degree angle is still noticeable... but for whatever reason, it seems to be less sharp. And it's my quilt so I can do what I want, right?
The "quilt police" can... well, you get the idea. Just so you know, I love rules... because it makes me happy to know I'm doing what I'm not supposed to.
After the sashings were added and the rows joined, I finished the quilt with a 2" cut "border" or more pieced background strips. I also put 2" x 2" squares in the four corners of the quilt. Porquoi? Again, because I felt like it. It also made my quilt a rather nice size - 78 1/2" x 78 1/2".
One last thing, I was asked about how I clipped the seams on the wrong side of the block.
This is a slightly lopsided picture of the horizontal seams joining the rows of the block. Do you see how all four seams on the pieced units are pressed toward the plain background pieces? After stitching the long seam, I clipped into the seam allowance about a 1/4" from the seam junction. I do this any time I'm sewing rows together with alternating blocks - it means I can press toward the plain square most of the time. Does that help?
The one thing with clipping seams - use only the tips of very sharp scissors. If the scissors don't cut at the tips, find another pair that does. Do not try to clip the seam with the fabric deep in the "v" of the scissors! You only need to clip to within a few threads of the seam, the iron and pressing will do the rest.
Don't forget to see how everyone else is doing - they're all getting close to being finished too.
- Lissa Alexander ~ ModaLissa
- Jennifer Keltner ~ Jennifer Keltner
- Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side
- Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs
- Jane Davidson of Quilt Jane (I'm really in love with Jane's quilt.)
- Kimberly Jolly of It's Sew Emma, the Fat Quarter Shop & The Jolly Jabber
- Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms
- Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life
I only have one problem now... what am I going to quilt-along to next?
Sewing with friends. I'd forgotten how much fun that could be.