Monday, June 2, 2014

Nearly Mindless Piecing

Inbetween steps of the Portal wedding gift quilt (in the last post) I needed something to sew that didn't require a lot of mental effort. Among the many palette options available on the shelves of my fabric stash were some darker batiks that had been around for too long. And a few newer ones of course!

The big question was which technique to use. I didn't want to have to think much about value placement within blocks or arranging the blocks after they'd been assembled or anything really. Some people can sew scraps mindlessly. I've found that I can't, at least not very often. It's not a relaxing process for me. But I do enjoy selecting a short stack of prints to layer and cut and shuffle. So, crazy blocks or string blocks?

In the end I settled on string blocks. I cut my starter pieces 10" x 12" and layered five prints per stack. Originally I thought I would just make a strippy quilt sort of like my Reading Material quilt. But as soon as I started putting blocks up on the design wall some of them went vertical:

I found that this time I liked that better than having all the strips going horizontal. I ended up making 50 blocks that would finish at 9" each. Other than the strippy format I didn't have a specific plan for setting them when I began. As usual, my target was a top in the 60" x 80" range. It took me a few days to come up with a way to achieve that goal. The breakthrough moment was when I thought to make two columns that were two blocks wide each:

And separate them with a single column of single blocks down the center of the quilt.

The columns had to be created in halves, of course, because my design wall isn't big enough to accommodate the length I wanted.

I can't get the whole thing in the picture no matter what I do!

After the columns were built all I had to do was find an appropriate color for the sashing and border strips, with enough yardage to go the distance. I was a little surprised to find that I had choices. I have not been in the habit of buying yardage when it comes to batiks but there were two orange pieces that were both big enough.

Interestingly, they were both oranges that meld into purple areas. I chose to use the older of the two prints.

Here's the final product, courtesy of my son and one of his friends:

I already have a back made for it but have to get some batting before it can be quilted. It also needs a name. I think of autumn bonfires when I look at it but so far I haven't been able to come up with a name or title that doesn't have a negative connotation. Guess I don't read enough poetry!


  1. Oh I love your strippy quilt blocks...and that sashing is perfect, too...hugs, Julierose

  2. I LOVE it!

    What about Autumn for the name . . .

  3. What a gorgeous quilt: when I saw the first photo I thought they were perfect table runners, but the big quilt is amazingly beautiful.

  4. Another great top from your talented fingers!

  5. Everyone's doing strings at the moment. I like Autumn too.


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