Monday, March 28, 2011

Process This

When I last talked about the progress of the applique basket quilt, I had resized and made a block of the floral border pattern. I hadn't, though, put the block up on the design wall yet to see how I liked it. When I did, this is what I saw:

Too small, right? I thought the block was dwarfed by the rest of the quilt and the appliqued flowers. So I resized the dimensions again, and this is what I came up with next:

Ah, that's better! See how the size of the pieced flower more closely matches the size of the larger appliqued flowers? I thought that size block would provide a better balance to the quilt. And just in case you can't really see the difference by looking at the two blocks individually, here's a photo of them side by side--I think you can really tell the size difference here:

So when I was doing this--remaking the block after the first one didn't turn out as I envisioned--it occurred to me that some of you might be interested in seeing how I make blocks a different size to better meet my needs. Interested?

Here's what the pattern looked like--at least the part I was working with:

When I made the first (smaller) block I decided I'd make piece 3 (see the numbered squares?) finish at 1/2", which meant I needed to make half square triangles that measured 1" (which included the extra fabric for the seam allowance). Piece 4 would measure the same. Then I decided piece 2 would be twice as long as pieces 3 and 4--so it would be 1" x 1-1/2". (Really, in the drawing, it looks like it's not quite that long, but this is what I decided to do on mine. I like to try to keep measurements fairly simple to work with if I can.) And that gave me the measurement for piece 1--1-1/2" square. After that, I fiddled around with how big to cut those little 2a and 1a pieces. And then you can see I've written some measurements on the pattern in pencil for the leaf sections. (Again, my proportions are just a bit different from the drawing, but I think they work.) All of those calculations, in the end, gave me a block that measured 5-1/2" x 2-1/2", which was half the size of the original block in the pattern.

So what happened when I decided that block was too small? I started over again, but this time I decided the half square triangle piece would measure 1-1/4" instead of 1". And just making everything that little bit larger meant I ended up with a block that measured 7" x 3". Perfect, really, for my needs.

Whenever I need to make a block a different size, I start my calculations with one of the smallest pieces or elements and go from there. Most often, I'll use scrap fabric to make up a sample and see how it will look--unless I have plenty of my "good" fabric and I'm reasonably certain my calculations are correct.

After that, it was just a matter of figuring out how long the sides of the quilt were at that point and how many floral blocks I needed. I figured out I needed to make 9 blocks for each side, and that would allow me to trim a bit of that excess cream fabric away before adding the border.

I think I figured each block has 29 pieces of fabric. VERY slow and labor intense! I also thought I'd talk about how I like to tackle that big a project--but it's bedtime now, so I'll have to tell you more later. Thanks for visiting!


Nannie said...

Good info! Who would think that tiny adjustment would make such a difference?! I guess it makes sense, if you think that the area you increased by 1/4" is such a small part of the whole block. Looks PERFECT now. Smarty. LOL

debbie said...

I really like your solution for the borders. It's going to be lovely. I also really really like your sharing the process of getting there. I think I sometimes do the process backwards. I decide what size block I want and draw/draft it on graph paper, and end up with sizes I don't want to try to see on a ruler, lol. Thanks for sharing :o)

Jean Burke said...

Whew! Thanks for the glimpse. This is going to look terrific. And thanks for reminding us that we can step out and change a pattern to make it personal. I always enjoy seeing your take on patterns - thinking outside the box. Take care......piece.

Erica said...

Great post. I think you captured exactly what the process pledge is meant to be. I think lots of quilters want to try more but they just aren't sure how to do it and a post like this really helps someone know where to start and feel confident in doing so. And, your quilt is really pretty, too!