I finished piecing the bed runner I started a couple of weeks ago. (I wrote about it here and here.) When last you saw it, it looked like this, measuring about 34½” x 68″:
The plan was to increase the length so it would drop over the sides of a queen-size bed. I had very little of the background fabric left, though. (It’s hard to see from the photo that the background fabric is an inky blue and black batik print. I had only a yard to begin with — and I used every bit of it.) I inserted a 1½”-wide decorative strip at each end, working with the two fabrics used as lattice strips around the 4-Patch Wonder blocks in the interior.
Now the bed runner looks like this:
The inserts and end pieces added 10″ to the length. I trimmed a bit from the sides so now the bed runner measures 32″ x 78″.
My quilt already has a name: Olivia Twist. (Yes, that’s a nod to Charles Dickens.) The reasons behind the name? First, the focus fabric is from a line called A Garden for Olivia by In the Beginning Fabrics. Second, the quilt is based on the twist block that produces the wonderful interlocking design you see above. The twist block dates back to 1870, which by coincidence is the very year Charles Dickens died.
Now it’s on to the backing for this quilt. I have a good-sized piece of the focus fabric on hand for the back. People always want to know that the fabric looked like before it was cut up!
It’s still in progress but here’s a shot of the bed runner quilt I’m working on:
Can you believe all the blocks came from the same focus fabric? I never tire of making these faux-kaleidoscope blocks. It’s so much fun to see the amazing variety of images created by stacking four repeats and cutting them into squares. For more information on the fabrics I used and the two simple blocks that created the interlocking twist design, see my previous post.
Right now my quilt top measures 34½” x 68″ but it’s going to be a little bit longer because I want more of a drop over the sides of the bed. I haven’t decided yet whether to simply add strips of background fabric to the short ends or incorporate a pieced element with color.
My quilt Banana Split has been back from the quilter for several weeks now. I finally got it bound and photographed, and now it’s ready to be presented to you:
If you look at the fabric in the centers of the stars, you can see where my quilt got its name. Here’s a close-up of one block:
The centers are all 4-Patch Wonder blocks, my name for blocks made of four repeats yielding a faux-kaleidoscope effect.
Banana Split was beautifully quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted, LLC. I went to Debbie’s studio and together we selected the thread and the quilting motifs (spirals in the main body of the quilt and in the corners, and piano keys in the borders). I expected the thread of choice would be a pale yellow. Much to my surprise, it was a deep gold that looked the best when we pooled all of the contenders on the quilt top.
The thread had such a lovely sheen that I asked Debbie to put it on the back of the quilt, too:
The panels on either side of the big star block above show the focus fabric I used on the 4-Patch Wonder blocks. The circle in the center is a kaleidoscope made from the same focus fabric. Here’s a close-up of the big star:
The more I look at this big block, the more I like it. I was just goofing around when I made it but now I think it has real possibilities. Four blocks would make a perfectly sized baby quilt. I’ll hold on to that thought, as I have a couple of baby quilts to make in the next few months.
In the meantime, I have plenty of works in progress that need attention, not to mention the stack of UFOs (Unfinished Objects) I am committed to whittling down this year. Happily, Banana Split is no longer in that category.
Well, it’s about time! Recent events have conspired to keep me out of my sewing room but I am happy to report that I am back in it and working on Reach for the Stars, the series sampler quilt currently featured in Quilter’s Newsletter magazine. I just finished Block 6:
The pattern as designed by Terri Krysan calls for the center block to be an hourglass but I substituted a faux-kaleido 4-Patch Wonder block (my name for a block made of four identical layers of fabric that are cut in squares and then rotated to make a pleasing symmetrical design).
Here is the block on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:
Here are my first six blocks:
I’ve decided to incorporate some fussy-cutting into each block. With eight more blocks to go, I have plenty of time to change my mind but for now I’m liking the added visual interest the fussy-cut images bring.
By the way, fellow Portlander Jennifer of the quilted cat has joined the merry band of quilters (which includes three other Jennifers) making Reach for the Stars! Check out her palette and great fabric choices here.
In my continuing quest to complete a stack (not sayin’ how big) of Unfinished Objects and Works-in-Progress, I recently pieced a back for a quilt top I made three years ago. Three years! I don’t know why I waited so long to make the back. Here is the top, which measures about 42″ x 52″:
The centers of the stars are 4-Patch Wonder blocks I made from a banana-themed fabric that caught my eye in a quilt shop in Kearney, Nebraska in the summer of 2010. That was the year my husband and I took a 30-day road trip around the western United States. I hit a fair number of quilt shops in eight states that summer. My own little Shop Hop, so to speak. My husband joked that our gas mileage steadily declined during the trip as the trunk filled with fabric. Hmmm. Maybe he wasn’t joking.
When I pulled out the tub of fabric I had used for the quilt top, I discovered that I had also made several octagonal kaleidoscope blocks out of the banana fabric (enough to make another quilt, in fact). I used one of those kaleido blocks to make an 18″ block for the quilt back, which looks like this:
You can see the clusters of bananas on the outer pieces of fabric. The repeat on the fabric is very small — just 8″ — so I cut 2¾”squares for the 4-Patch Wonder blocks, resulting in a 4½” square center block. The star blocks finish at 9″ square.
For the big block I converted the octagonal kaleido block into a circle and made an oversize star. Here’s a close-up of the kaleido block:
The minute I started slicing those bananas, I knew what I was going to call this quilt.
Time to show you more of the project I’ve been working on since my last post. I actually started this project over a year ago, when I got a bug to make a new quilt based on my 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist pattern. This is the first quilt, which is on the cover of the pattern:
The 12 snowball blocks are very different from each other but they are all from the same piece of focus fabric, made into 4-Patch Wonder blocks (my name for blocks made of four identical layers of fabric that are stacked, cut in squares, and then rotated to make a pleasing symmetrical design). An alternating block — red and green in this case, on a black background — helps create the illusion of interlocking strips. The quilt looks contemporary but the twist block actually dates back to 1870.
The fabric I had in mind for a second version was this lovely print, “Ella,” by Kathy Brown for Red Rooster Fabrics:
I was attracted to the folk-art feel of her design and the rose and purple tones set off by green vines on a black background. My thought was to make the lattice strips out of three colors — rose, purple, and green — instead of two colors as I did in my first quilt. And I thought the “Ella” print would make great 4-Patch Wonder blocks
Trouble was, the first couple 4-Patch Wonder blocks I made were — well, they were pretty but not nearly as pretty or as interesting as the original fabric:
I abandoned the plan for 4-Patch Wonder blocks and simply cut squares. Then I dug into my stash for the rose, purple, and green fabrics needed for the twist strips. I pulled out quite a few pieces, all reading as textured solids. Pretty soon I had several options for each color. (What does this tell you about the size of my stash?)
Somewhere along the line I got the idea of using four different fabrics for each of the three colors. That’s right — 12 different fabrics for the twist strips. I just about drove myself crazy deciding which strips would go where, and then devising a way to keep track of them once their positions were assigned. Maybe that’s why I made just a few blocks and put the project away for over a year. Another Work-in-Progress, languishing . . .
Out it came last week, ready for some close personal attention, and here is the result so far:
I’m very pleased with it! Still to come: borders. With quite a few 2½” strips left over from the lattice, I’m thinking about making an inner border of 2″ squares using all 12 lattice fabrics. I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see what I’ve done.
A few days ago I made a test block for a new quilt, using the classic Burgoyne Surrounded quilt block and a fresh floral print from Fig Tree’s Tapestry line for Moda Fabrics. I made a second block, added it to the first, stepped back to admire my handiwork, and took a photo.
Oops. Little problem there. Do you see it?
It seems so obvious to me now but it wasn’t until I inserted the photo in this post that I noticed it: at the top of the block on the right, the middle strip is upside down. Isn’t it funny how you can look at a block over and over and not notice until much later that something’s wrong with it?
Here it is, fixed . . .
. . . and here are a few more faux-kaleido 4-Patch Wonder blocks:
This fabric has a very small repeat — only about 6″ — so there’s not a great deal of variety in the blocks. Still, I still find them very pleasing, especially against that wonderful butterscotch-y background fabric by Moda.
I’ve finally added Framboise to my Quilt Gallery. I’ve learned that one way to keep your patterns current is to make new versions in updated fabrics. I didn’t do that here, though. I used fabric that’s been in my stash for some time (Hydrangeas and Raspberries by Holly Holderman for Lake House Dry Goods) because I knew it would make a striking 4-Patch Wonder quilt. I actually put these blocks together early last year. It’s taken me this long to finish the top and get it backed, quilted, bound, labeled and photographed.
I wish I had documented the process of arranging the blocks on my design wall. I usually start by putting my favorite block in the upper left hand corner but sometimes I have to move it for the sake of balance. Here’s a close-up of my favorite block, which wound up in the upper middle center of the quilt:
Framboise was quilted by Melissa Hoffman. I asked Melissa to choose an edge-to-edge design with vines, leaves and scrolls and to use a light pink and green variegated thread. The effect is soft and subtle, just what I wanted. Here’s a better look at the motif:
I usually play around with leftover blocks on the back but I was in “get ‘er done” mode at the time so all I did was add a strip of the original focus fabric:
You can’t see it in the photos but the white background on the Lakehouse fabric has a secondary design that is very lightly frosted. It adds a glow to the quilt that I love. The rest of the backing fabric is a pastel batik that I’ve had for quite a while. Here’s a closer look at the quilting on the back:
Naming this quilt did not come easily. A host of alliterative titles came to mind – Blossoms and Berries, Berries and Blooms, even a pun on the Bloomsbury Group. In the end I decided on Framboise (raspberry in French) on the basis that it refers not only to the berry but to the color of the hydrangeas.
I’m scheduled to teach a class on Fractured Images in a couple of weeks so this seems like a good time to update my class notes and look over my class samples.
Fractured images are created when four identical layers of fabric are cut into squares and sewn together. Three of the four repeats are trimmed different ways before being cut into squares. When the four sets of squares are arranged in a grid and sewn together, a striking ripples-in-a-pond effect emerges. Squares can be cut in many different sizes but 2” and 3” squares are the most common. Bold floral designs with secondary motifs in the background and lots of contrast fracture especially well.
When I taught this class last spring at the Pine Needle, the shop had just received some fabrics in the Hickory House line by Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers Fabrics. I was curious to see how one of the florals in that line would fracture and whether it would be more striking made from 2” or 3” squares. Here is the image before fracturing . . .
. . . and here are the two fractured images side by side:
The image on the left, which measures 13″ square, contains 81 squares, each square finishing at 1½”. The image on the right, which measures 14″ square, contains 25 squares, each square finishing at 2½”. Which one do you like better?
One way of cutting the fabric for a fracture is to pin the layers together, matching design elements, and then cut only the image intended for the fracture. What to do with the remaining fabric that’s already layered and pinned? Why, cut it into 4-Patch Wonder blocks, of course. (“4-Patch Wonder” is my name for a block made of four identical layers of fabric that are cut in squares and then rotated to make a pleasing symmetrical design. If you’ve looked at the quilts in my Gallery, you know that I’m a big fan of this faux-kaleido block, as well as its more sophisticated cousin, the kaleidoscope block.)
Look how dramatic these 4-Patch Wonder blocks are that were made with leftover Hickory House fabric:
Let me show you another fractured image made from a beautiful tropical floral fabric a friend brought me from Hawaii. Here is the image before fracturing. . .
. . . and after:
This one was made a little differently. Instead of sewing the squares together, I arranged them on a piece of featherweight fusible interfacing and fused them in place. Then I covered the raw edges with grosgrain ribbon held in place with ¼”-wide Steam-a-Seam-2. I added a pink polkadot flange and a wide black border. The squares were cut 3″, by the way, and the piece is 21″ square including the border.
I haven’t decided what to do with this fractured image. I think it could hold its own as a finished piece, but it looks so good set on point that I can also see it as a center medallion in a larger quilt . . .
. . . perhaps accompanied by some of these 4-Patch Wonder blocks made from the leftover fabric:
If you’ve never fractured an image before, I recommend that you try it. It’s a lot of fun, and I predict that it will forever change the way you look at fabric!