February 27, 2013

Quilt 15: Arranging the Nine-Patch Blocks

I put the nine-patch blocks together fairly quickly. Now I need to decide how to arrange them on the top. Here's what I came up with:
(you can click the picture to see an enlargement)

I have four blocks with charcoal/black prints. Those I've placed at the corners as anchor pieces. I have 6 pink/red blocks, and decided to cluster those in the upper right and lower left corners. Then I decided to place the blue and brown blocks in a casual cross formation and filled in the rest of the spaces with the green blocks:

Originally, I'd planned to make the lattice around the blocks from solid cream calico - which is quite close to the back of the quilt I was using when I placed the blocks (below).
After looking at it a bit, I decided to change that and use a print instead (below):
In the photo above, the print seems to have a bit of power to it, but when you see the entire quilt, it just doesn't; it fades into the background.

This top should assemble fairly fast. I expect to have that done by next week.

February 20, 2013

Quilt 15: Matching the Prints

Before I start cutting, I need to decide which blocks to match up. As lovely as each of the 42 different prints are, some of them really won't go well together in the same nine-patch block, so some sorting is needed.

These two blues go together well:
And these two browns are OK, too:
I thought it would be easier than it was. It took quite a while and I had to compromise on a few of them, but in the end I finally got it done. Each of these pairings will make 2 nine-patch blocks.:
And away I go - I've started cutting and piecing. That part seems to be going fairly fast!

February 13, 2013

Quilt 15: Cutting a 10-Inch Square Into 9 Blocks

The Layer Cake pack of William Morris prints is 10x10". I developed a design based on nine-patch squares. No worries... except...

The back of the package for the Layer Cake has cutting instructions for various block types. For nine patch blocks, they recommend cutting the block down from 10x10 to 9x9, and then cutting 3x3 blocks out of that. They don't say it, but I suspect that's because dividing 10 inches into thirds gives you a pretty fiddly amount - 3 5/16", actually.

But I just don't like the idea of chopping away and wasting that much fabric. What's more, if I revert to 3x3 squares, as the package says to, I won't have enough fabric in the layer cake to create enough blocks to make the center of the design as large as I want. I go from needing 35 blocks to needing  48 blocks - and the layer cake pack has only 42 squares in it.

I could, of course, modify the design and go with a smaller "center" - I bought enough extra border fabric that it would be easy - but, no, it just wouldn't be what I want.

So... I'm meeting the challenge by making myself a template for cutting. The layer cake pack had a stiff cardboard backing - and I've cut that into a strip exactly 3 5/16" across. I'll use that along with my clear plastic cutting guide to get the size squares I want without making myself too crazy.

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention.
And I'm kinda proud of myself for this one!  :-)

February 11, 2013

Saving What's Important

I live in Victoria, Australia, in an area which is considered very much at risk for bushfire (in America they call it "forest fire"). This summer we've been concerned about the conditions here, as so far there has only been 2 decent rains here since before Christmas, and we've had several hot, windy days. I'm truly hopeful that we'll get through without any problems, but February is (statistically) the worst month for fires - and and we take it seriously.

My husband and I learned a tough lesson in 2009 when the catastrophic fires of what is now called "Black Saturday" tore through the state, killing 173 people and leaving thousands suddenly homeless.

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) each year conducts a public education and awareness program, explaining the nature of the problem and the importance of every resident to have a "fire plan". People who live in our area keep close tabs on developing conditions and have varying levels of preparation which the perform every year as fire season (aka: summer) approaches.

Stephen and I have a fire plan - a document in which we've outlined exactly what we do to prepare, and what we'll do if there's actually a fire in our area. We also have a safe place where we can store photographs, important documents, and any items we would hate to lose. At the start of fire season, we pack up our precious "irreplaceables" and move them to safety. My wedding dress, Aunt Mary's table cloth, photos and so on. As things here look scarier and scarier, we take more and more things away to our "safe haven".

This year... well... I've also moved my UFO stash. All those meters of uncut calico, oh I'd just be crushed if anything happened to it. So off it went, packed away and safely stored. Now, you'll laugh: have I stored away clothes? No. Uncut calico? Yes. Where's the logic in that? OK. You've got me; there isn't much logic, other than I can go to Target and buy a new pair of jeans, but a lot of that calico would be just about impossible to replace.

So I've done what I can to prepare, and I hope all this effort proves to have been unnecessary.

And I pray fervently that the weather will ease, we'll get the rain we need, and everyone in our community is safe.

February 6, 2013

Quilt 15: "William Morris" Prints - Design

A few weeks back I mentioned the "William Morris" prints I bought in a "layer cake" package:
The colours and prints are stunning - here's that top piece out of the package:
And here's a few more of the prints:
As I've been working on the Christmas quilt, I've been thinking about different designs to show off those prints and... well... here it is!
I like the idea of doing nine-patch blocks for this one, with simple cream prints to showcase them. Pauline, my quilting guru, went shopping with me and helped me pick out the cream prints, so I'm all set.

I'm still working on the Christmas quilt - and have pulled out quilt number 4 (a baby quilt) to finish. With those two projects wrapping up soon, I'm going to need to get busy piecing something together or I'm going to run out of quilting.

Can't let THAT happen!