I washed and pressed my lovely new fabrics (see previous post) and then put them right on the shelf when I learned that Luana Rubin was committed to organizing the collection and distribution of quilts for those in the east who have lost everything to Hurricane Sandy.
You can click here to read all about it. The upshot is that I'd already been thinking about making a quilt to donate but hadn't settled on an approach when her email newsletter came through. Then suddenly I remembered a set of Shoo Fly blocks I had from an Internet swap back in the day.
Turns out that "day" was the year 2000! I've pulled these blocks out a couple of times since receiving them but was never able to figure out how to use them. They're not a size I normally work with: 7.5 inches finished. In the picture above I'd just put them on the design wall straight out of the baggie they were stored in. The next thing I did was to take them down according to value. So I had a pile of dark golden yellow blocks and a couple of piles of medium value yellows, and a short stack of very light blocks. I started with the darker blocks...
Originally I toyed with the idea of a strippy format - at the time I was thinking a comfort quilt, slightly less than twin size. But I didn't feel I had anything that would work well for the alternate strips between columns of blocks. That's when the medallion setting came to mind and the dark blocks went up on the wall.
Shoo Fly blocks set right up against each other tend to lose their distinct pattern. I didn't want that so the next challenge was to figure out how to separate the blocks. Using lighter values would help, but what about a different block altogether?
Gotta love those liberated stars! The only math I had to do was to figure out what size background squares to cut: three inches. That gives me 2.5" finished patches for a 7.5 inch block. Now I have a 30 inch central medallion (or will have when it's all sewn together!). But how will I separate that from the next round of blocks?
This is where the math gets dicey. I like liberated, but I also like knowing where I'm going - to a certain extent. I thought about just using strips of fabric to create a frame; you would think that would be an easy solution. Once again, I couldn't find anything in my stash I liked. Then I thought of flying geese units. Since I had four 30 inch sides I made a bunch that would finish at 2.5" x 5" and put them around the center blocks (six 5" geese = 30 inches):
Simple squares will fill in the corners. But now I have a piece that will measure 35" square. That's not readily divisible by 7.5"! In other words, more of the Shoo Fly blocks will not fit evenly around what I have in place at the moment. Another compensating strip is called for. That's next on the docket, maybe after I sew these Shoo Fly and star blocks together. You may have noticed that between this picture and the last I rearranged the Shoo Fly blocks somewhat. I decided to try for a little more variation in value to help the individual blocks stand out more in the end.
Now I'm thinking that I will strive for an 80-85" quilt top. I've found that that's a good size for my double bed, and Luana is asking for bed size quilts in particular this time around. Logistical details are still being worked out but this quilt drive will be in effect for many months. The goal is to collect and distribute 5,000 quilts. And FYI, there's a huge clearance sale going on at eQuilter right now, just in case you need to add to your stash. ;- )