Thursday, May 10, 2007

Block Contest

The responses I'm getting to my opinion poll (which background fabric best shows off the angel - see this post) are quite interesting. If you haven't voted yet, there's still time to weigh in because I've been slightly diverted from that project this week. A look at the calendar reminded me it was time to work on blocks for the Peggy Beals Quilt Block Contest, something I do each year. Learn more about this contest here and see last year's blocks here, here, and here (this one made it into the raffle quilt).

This year's theme is "Scrap quilt" and the winning blocks will be sashed in buttercup yellow. I always try to use my stash of precut squares if possible, so the first block I tried was this Trip Around the World on point. I can always use practice working with color and value, not to mention loosening up a bit by adding an oddball fabric to a round. Some of the fabric in it is quite old, dating back to the early 1990's, and some of it isn't even mine, but castoffs from various guild projects or friends' throwaways. I gained quite a reputation for what I was pulling out of the trash. I always feel vindicated when I actually use these rescued scraps, and I quite like the way this block turned out.

I also always check my Electric Quilt BlockBase program to search for blocks with the theme in their names. I didn't think I'd find any with "Scrap" or "Scrap Quilt" but I was wrong. This one is called Scrap Zigzag, and was quick to make. However, when it was all together, I had a "what was I thinking?" moment. I guess I was thinking that the yellow was light enough to still show ok with the buttercup yellow sashing, but for some reason, I didn't think so much of the yellow would be right on the outside. I really think this is quite ugly, but I'm sending it anyway because all blocks go into quilts given to charity. They will find a home for my ugly duckling.

Next I defaulted to one of my favorite blocks for using up scraps - a string block. I've used this to make quite a few quilt, including one totally from hand-dyed fabric. The beauty of this block is the use of the same fabric through the diagonal of all blocks. In this case, I made four 6" blocks with the purple running through the diagonal, then randomly chose strips from my scrap strip drawer (less than 1-1/2" wide but no less than 1" wide and many angled). The four are then joined to make a 12" block with an "x" through it. In a full size quilt, these diagonal strips magically become sashing and help calm the otherwise chaotic block. I always sew these on some kind of foundation. This one was done over packing paper (which is essentially newsprint and something I have a ton of) which has to be removed, but I've also done them on muslin foundations. Not only is there nothing to remove afterward, they sometimes don't even need a batting because of the extra layer of fabric. To be honest, this block disappointed me a bit too. As a single block in a sampler quilt, it just isn't as dynamic as I wanted it to be.

This meant I really needed to try one more block. I decided to play with my 2-1/2" squares, alternating them with 4-patches made with 1-1/2" squares. I had the white/green half-square triangles in with the squares, leftovers from another project, so I laid them out first. A quick perusal of my 1-1/2" squares led me to believe I'd only be frustrating myself if I tried to find pairs to sew into 4-patches that would go with these so I sorted through my 2-1/2" squares instead. And I very much like the result. This looks like a true scrap quilt block to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The final quilt square is wonderful. Interesting progression of thoughts and squares, but the last is definitely 'right' and delightful.