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Posts Tagged ‘snowball block

Just like a snowball rolling down a hill, this quilt got bigger and bigger.

You may reading the adventures of the snowball quilt.  At that time, I was trying to decide on border options.  As per usual, a different idea developed on its own.

With a snowball block, you end up with half square triangle bits left over.  Instead of having to deal with these triangles, I decided at the time of making the snowball blocks to stitch to seam lines, and save the remaining pieces for something.

That something developed into an idea for a border.  I have always wanted to do a pieced border, and this seemed as good an opportunity as any.

I have the top completely done.  I stitched the HSTs into pairs, and then stitched the pairs into long strips.  I had no idea how long I needed them, so I just stitched until it seemed right, and I had four borders ready.

For the two dark red borders, I cut strips 2′, and strip pieced them together.  I had three different dark red fabrics, and randomly stitched the strips together.  Some were 4, 5 or 6 strips wide.  I then sub-cut these to 2″.  And randomly grabbed from different piles and stiched them together.  I continued stitching them until I had four borders.  Oh oh… I forgot I wanted a second border, so more stitching went on.

I then measured the quilt and found my first border length.  Cut, pinned, stiched, and did the same with the other borders.  One thing I realized when I was partially through the first borders, that I would have cut them to fit differently.  Of course when you are working with 1½” finished pieces, they do not adjust very well to the size of my quilt.  (This is one of those ideas, that squaring up the blocks as you go, would have been a very good idea – one I didn’t follow).  I trimmed the last unit of the strips to fit.  Next time, I think I would like to measure from the center of each border, to the end, and cut off each end to fit the size I needed.  This quilt was a learning experience!  What better way to experiment, than with scraps!

In my mind, I think if I had measured from the center point, then all the seams for the three borders would have lined up.  As it is, one half of each border lines up, the other half does not.  But shhh… if no one looks really close, maybe they won’t notice.  🙂

It was a nice day outside, so I hung the quilt top on the line, and took a photo.  The sun is kind of shining behind it, giving it some interesting shadows.  The next step is to get this quilt, sandwiched, quilted and finished.

I don’t quite have enough energy to get that far, yet.

The fabrics for this quilt came from my stash, and my scraps.  Some of the pieces, are from cotton shirts I purhcased at the local thrift store, and cut up.  I wanted to make a quilt with a more masculine feel to it, and one way of doing that, was by buying the shirts!  Insted of just using blues, browns, greens.  Why are those colours more often used to represent male?

I am happy that this one is done.  I think I started it three years ago (practically to the month!).  I started making the snowballs as a leader/ender and then earlier this year, I thought enough was enough, it was time to get it finished.

-Alice

Food for thought:   Have you ever “shopped” your stash to make  a quilt?  Do you have bits and pieces of fabric left over from projects, and they are odd shaped and sizes?  Take 15-20 minutes and start cutting them into useable pieces.  You don’t have to do it for long, and you’ll be surprised how quickly those messy scraps can be made.   You can even make a “free” quilt by using up your scraps.  Don’t put a time frame on it.  Just take a light and a dark piece, stitch them together, each time you are working on a quilt, at the begining and end of each strip you piece.  Once they are stitched, press, and place in a bin.  Before long you will have enough pieces for a 4-patch, 9-patch or any other block you desire.  For more great scrap busting ideas, be sure to check out Bonnie K. Hunter’s blog and website.

 

 

It started about two years ago, a challenge among quilting friends (sadly, I don’t even recall what the challenge was).  It was also a good opportunity to try the leaders and enders that Bonnie K. Hunter recommends.  If you haven’t heard about leaders and enders, I recommend you read Bonnie’s blog on the subject.

I decided for the challenge I wanted to make a scrappy masculine feeling snowball quilt.  I had lots of 3″ squares, I could use.  I then started scrounging for 7″ squares.  Cut down some of the 10″ squares to get a 7″ and a few 3″.   So as I worked on other projects, I would stitch one of the 3″ squares to the 7″, and away I went.

At some point, I figured I’d better count how many completed blocks I had, and how many more of each (needed alternating dark and light blocks), I needed to complete.   I wanted to get this quilt done, so it became a non-leader/ender project.

A few weeks ago, I was in a position to start stitching the blocks together.  I think it was an Eleanor Burn’s video I saw that described how to piece the blocks together by columns, instead of stitching each row together.   This method you do not trim the blocks apart.  As you stitch all the columns together, the rows are “attached”, and you just pin and stitch them together.  I found it worked very well.  I had to unstitch some of the chain stitching, as my first 2 rows got twisted somehow.  Was easier to snip the chain stitching, instead of trying to untangle them.  Stitching the blocks together in this fashion works very quickly.

As I was finishing up the blocks, I started to realize I did not have a plan for the borders.  I wanted to carry on with the scrappy theme, and use from my stash.  I don’t have enough yardage of any one fabric.  But an idea started to form.  When I was stitching the blocks I added another line of stitching 1/2″ (approximately), from the required stitching line, then trimmed the Half SquareTriangles, to create them.   I was sure I would use them somewhere, sometime down the road.    I can use the “leftovers”.

The last couple of days, I’ve been trimming and pressing all those leftover pieces.  The smallest piece was about 2″, and the largest about 2 1/2″.  I decided to trim down to 2″.

Now that I have done that, I have not measured the top as it is now.  To be honest, I didn’t even square up the blocks, and I realize now I probably should have, but it is a scrappy quilt, and I’m not overly concerned if the seams match up or not.  The concern is the actual size of the top as it is now, and if it is “square”.  I think I may have a couple of wobbles in it.  Ah well, it is going to be a utility quilt, I think.  Something I can practice my Free-motion quilting with.

I decided I wanted to do a “floating” type border.  Now that I decided I was going to use those leftover pieces, I thought it would be neat to float them.  To me this means having the same colour of fabric pieced around the scrappy blocks, to make them as if they are floating on the border fabric.  Opened the stash cupboard to see what I had that would be appropriate.  Again thinking scrappy.  I didn’t have enough of anything really to work.  I did have some fabric, three pieces of that were all the same shade.   I took them out, pressed and trimmed to 2″.  I then happily sat down at my sewing machine, and proceeded to stitch the HSTs to the strips of fabric.  I cross-cut, and came up with another idea.

Design 1 on the left, Design 2 on the right

I wasn’t so sure now about the floating squares.  I had only really seen them on black fabric, and typically bright fabric was used.

Then I thought about stitching four of the stitched squares to each other, putting all the lights in the center for one unit, and darks in the center for the other, with a spacer of the border fabric between each unit.  This pattern copies the patterns of the blocks.  I had every intention of following that idea.

Design 2 on the left, design 3 on the right.

Then another idea hit me (Design 3).  What if I was to create the same design of the small triangles from the snow ball blocks.  Alternate the dark and light to create the same design, and then drop the spacers completely.  I could then mix up the border fabric to make is scrappy.  Granted, cutting them into 2″ squares is going to make a lot of work, but I think it will continue with the scrappy theme of the quilt.

Deisgn 1, Design 2 and Design 3.

So this is where I’m at.  The more I look at Design 3, the more I like it.  I think it is also called “Broken Dishes” block.  I will use the dark red strips for the inner and outer border, maybe I will piece 4 of the triangle units together (4 patch), and then when I have a pile of them, stitch to the border strip (width of fabric), and then crosscut.  The border pieces will then be 3 1/2″ long, or 3″ long when finished.  That way, I don’t have to cut 2″ squares, and try to get them aligned nicely.

I may have to throw in some “spacers” to get the borders to fit the top.  Or, maybe I will just trim the blocks to make it fit.  If they don’t line up, I’m okay with that too!’

So what do you think?  Would you have stuck with your first idea, or would you have let the creative juices flow, until something else came up.

-Alice

PS – I bet you didn’t expect a second post from me so quickly!  Me neither, but I wanted to share.  I have been feeling really good the last few days.  I can only work an hour or two at a time, but it feels good.  So I stitch, press, trim for a bit, then when I start to feel “it”, I go and rest for a few hours.  Then I’m back at it.  This process is doing me good.  Although the brain is still doing the “GO GO GO”, at least now I’m listening to the body and when it starts going “NO NO NO”, I’m stopping!

Thank you all for your comments.  Your support has definitely raised my spirits up!


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