Quilt Gallery

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Building Blocks

In reviewing some of my 2015 photos I came across this one of the glass entrance pyramid at the Louvre. It makes me think of quilts made with a grid of blocks, as opposed to say whole cloth quilts or medallion quilts. 

At the moment I have four sets of blocks, all of which I made in 2015. By the end of 2016 I hope to have built them into four complete quilts.

I made the pile on the top left entirely on the go. I carry in my purse a little zippered bag with needle, thread, scissors and a stack of two inch square scraps. Whenever I have a few minutes of spare time I pull it out and stitch up a few seams. And voila!

A few more blocks and I will have enough to make a twin size quilt, assuming I set them with a sashing or alternating blocks of different fabrics, rather than just stitching them all together.

I made this set, in a pattern called "broken dishes," to use up scraps while I was working on another quilt. I never sit down at the sewing machine to sew just one thing. When I prepare something for my "main project" I always grab one or two extra items to sew together. I figure so much sewing time is actually taken up by switching between tasks, that the more I can cram into a session at the sewing machine or cutting table or ironing board, the more total work I can accomplish. Plus, it keeps things interesting.

I have lots of options for how to arrange these, but have at least decided against combining them into larger blocks since that just makes a larger star and loses the broken dishes pattern. The remaining decisions are whether the blocks should be placed randomly or by hue and intensity, and what color and pattern the alternating blocks should be.

The bow tie blocks are from Barb Vedder's block swap last fall. I made eighty blocks, shipped them off to Barb, and got in return a new set of 80 blocks. All these bright colors will be a real treat to sew together.

My last pile of blocks, which are probably more aptly called strings, also grew out of my scrap bag. I used many of these kinds of pieces in a medallion quilt, now nearly complete,

and find that I now have a substantial stack of leftovers. Maybe I will combine them in an entirely different way. I could turn them into a sort of super log cabin block and have almost a Gee's Bend style quilt,

or, for a more orderly and controlled look, I could put them into individual large blocks separated by sashing.

I hope your 2016 is starting off as creatively as mine and that you will share your ideas for building with these blocks in the comments section.