Whilst waiting for my design wall to arrive (for my hummingbird quilt) I decided to crack on with my Splendid Sampler 2 blocks as I’d got a bit behind with the quilt-a-long. This is organised by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. Around 80 different designers have contributed a block each and they are releasing a block pattern every Thursday until November, after that (20 blocks) you have to buy their book.
When I first saw ‘Around Four Corners’ by Rachel Daisy I did think Oh my golly gosh! All those curves!! However when I got round to reading the instructions (having procrastinated for a couple of weeks!) I found that there wasn’t a curved seam on it, it’s clever use of applique.The background is made first of a cream square and the darker surround, Four squares are then made with 1/4 in the background colour, a circle is then cut from these and appliqued on.
It wasn’t half as complicated as it looked! I quilted round the inner cream area and did some echo quilting which would have been much easier if I’d realised it would make a circle instead of looking at each quarter individually! I stitched in the ditch around the circles and then did a little meander on the background to help the circles stand out.
Tulip in Bloom by Nadra Ridgeway was a classic case of looks fairly straightforward so I probably don’t concentrate as much and lose my points! I was quite pleased with the quilting though as I did a sort of petal echo, three petals and also the leaves. I do find that the blocks which are OK but don’t wow me are the ones I’m most adventurous with quilting, it’s like I’ve already lost my points so I’m not going to ruin a perfect block with poor quilting, so I’ll try something different…
…Flowering Tree by Amy Friend is another example of this. It’s made using foundation paper piecing, it was perfect until I came to trim it! The blocks are 6.5″ each, so when they are made up into a quilt they will be 6″ blocks. I used my 6.5″ square ruler to square the block off at the end…but lined up the trunk with the 3″ line!!! So my tree is a little windswept, being a little bigger on one side than the other, a more naturalistic look! I quilted it with feathers up and down each branch, it was a bit fiddly but I’m pretty pleased with it.
The last one to show you today is called Betty’s Bloom by Carl Hentsch. It’s paper pieced again, the original has about 6 different fabrics in, I happened to see one on the website with just two main colours, I loved the simplicity of it. I had to carefully mark the pattern so I used the right colours, but it went together beautifully. The only hiccup I had was trying to remember that unlike batiks (in the hummingbird quilt) I had to be careful to have the fabric the right way round. My seam ripper had a busy night! As I really like this block I did some very simple quilting with the walking foot just round the four starry points.
I’m just two blocks behind now and those are more hand-stitching than machine, so I can take them to do when visiting my mum.
I’ve twelve blocks made, sashed and quilted now, the first twenty are available free on Pat Sloans website, after that I need to decide whether to buy the book for the other eighty blocks. I’m in two minds at the moment as I know it is a good way to learn new techniques, it’s also proving a good way of practising the free motion quilting techniques I learnt on the Leah Day course. However the original plan to make two quilts as throws to protect the two newly covered armchairs in the dining room that Zach used to sneak onto with his muddy paws, is redundant as Zach is no longer with us. Another factor is the book is over £20…decisions!