Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Rest of the Story . . .

Kristy left me a comment about the red and cream quilt, saying she couldn't remember if this was a pattern or something I'd made up.  I realized it's been awhile since I started this project, so I thought I'd tell you again, all in one place, just how it came about.

Our Thimbleberries Club "leaders/teachers" (I'm not sure what they're called!) challenged us last year to turn in 15 large flying geese blocks each month, and at the end of the year, we'd have 120 blocks.  They would then give us a mystery quilt pattern for the geese as well as FREE THIMBLEBERRIES FABRIC (!!!) for the sashing and borders--whatever we picked out.  I was reluctant to participate; in fact, I had absolutely no intention of participating because I really didn't need MORE Thimbleberries blocks that I didn't know what to do with.  As the months passed and I watched many of my fellow club members turn in their blocks each month, though, I started to rethink my decision, and by mid-summer, the idea of free fabric--and having a little free time one week to make blocks--persuaded me to change my mind.  By the time I made that decision, I pretty much had to make all 120 blocks in a month.

I decided I wanted red and cream geese, and I wanted them scrappy--because Lord knows I have drawers and drawers of Thimbleberries fabric I've collected over the years, and I really thought it was about time to use it.  So one week I pulled out 10 or 12 different red fabrics and about an equal number of cream fabrics and got started.

For a long time now, it's been my practice, if I'm going to make large quantities of geese blocks, to make them the old fashioned way--a square on top of a rectangle sewed on the diagonal and pressed back.  Then I sew a second seam on each corner section of the geese and trim the fabric off between the two seams; those trimmed off pieces become half square triangles that I later square up to size--whatever size I can get from them.  And since these were pretty LARGE geese--3" by 6" finished--I ended up with a bunch of 2-1/2" half square triangles.

Well, I turned in the 120 geese at the next Thimbleberries Club meeting and eventually, when the challenge ended a month after that, I got my FREE FABRIC.  Which I promptly set aside and sort of forgot about.  But I still had a pile of half square triangles in red and cream.  What should I do with them?

I've always wanted to make myself a red and cream quilt, and Christmas was coming--the perfect season for red and cream quilts--so I played with those small squares on the design wall, and I cut more fabric squares to fill in.  I moved them one way and another until I ended up with a design I liked.  But then I wanted to move them all again, just in case I liked something else better.  That went on for awhile until I had to set everything aside for a different, more pressing project, but those little pieces stayed up on the design wall.

After a couple more weeks, since I kind of NEEDED the design wall for other things and it was very inconvenient to negotiate my way around a bookshelf I'd had to move away from the wall in order to access the entire design wall for the project, I started sewing all of the small pieces together.  By this time, it was a couple weeks before Christmas and I was sick, so I worked on the project in little bits of time between periods of illness and vital holiday-related, non-quilting tasks.  I finally got enough pieces sewn together to shrink down the area needed on the design wall and move everything up and out of the way, far enough so I could move the bookshelf back against the wall.  Then I stopped again.

The other day--last weekend maybe?--I got back to it and finished sewing the pieces and rows.  And at some point between the end of the Thimbleberries Club flying geese challenge and now, it occurred to me to use those original flying geese blocks as a border; after all, they used all the same fabrics, so they'd match perfectly.  (I think I only used about 60, so I have about 60 left for a future project.)

So here we are.  I still have a small stack of 2-1/2" cream squares I had cut for the project, and I'll need to cut a few more to make that last small "border" around the quilt.  After that, I'll pin baste it and quilt it, and hopefully it will be done in time to languish on the sofa looking very Valentine-ish.

No, it wasn't a pattern to begin with, but I find that having the elements of a block already made and playing with them on a design wall makes it fun and easy to develop a pattern like this.  Did you every play with these when you were a kid?

There was another "toy" that was similar with a felt board and felt geometric pieces that could be moved around.  I loved both of these toys and could play for hours.  Little did I know back then that it was good training for quilt design!


Nonnie said...

I love the cream and red quilt. I do want to make a red and white quilt some day. I have tons of reds not so muchut I bet I don't stick with just whites :0)
Glad you are feeling much better.

Jo said...

Oh, i loved Color Forms! I played with those things for hours on end. Boy, they would be perfect to design a quilt! Love your red and cream quilt!

Marla said...

Kim, I love your red and cream quilt so much that if you developed a pattern for it, I would buy it from you. Just love it!

quilter said...

I love the red and cream quilt. I don't have any "design sense" so if you develop pattern, count me in! Glad to see you are back and feeling better. Red is my favorite color!!


Colette said...

Colorforms- we were talking about those the other day when reminiscing about our favorite toys growing up. I grew up on the west coast, my honey in the midwest. Colorforms were a favorite, right behind legos, and lincoln logs. Love your red and white quilt my favorite colors

Gran - Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...

No, in the "old country" we did not play with toys like the one you mentioned. Just the ole' stick and a ball ...
Love your design! Glad you are feeling better.

Kristy said...

Kim- Thanks so much for answering my question! So I agree with the person who said if you made a pattern for this quilt she would buy it. I don't usually make just 2 color quilts but I love the way the cream and red work in this one. I think it is also that great flying geese border. I love flying geese. Thanks again for your background on this quilt. K-