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 Terry 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.
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!