Monday, July 31, 2017

Pandora's Box

It turns out that once you give yourself permission to make a few changes to a pattern, then it's easier than ever to make a few more.  It's like opening Pandora's Box.  Any little thing that you might have any doubts about becomes fair game for substitution.

I started with the blocks in Long Time Gone called "Crosses of the UK" which look like this:

I'm just not crazy about the way the blue foreground cross and the red background cross look unbalanced.  Also, it looks to me like a round peg was jammed into a square hole and the points got chopped off, (but I"m sure that's just me.)

Anyhow, I decided the Crosses would go, and a Sawtooth Star would be their replacement.

Long Time Gone requires 6 crosses stars all together, that are sewn into the quilt in two rows of 3.  For the first row of stars, I chose the fabric for the large block in the center, and then surrounded them with scrappy squares:

After sewing them up, I ended up with these:

For the second row of stars, I started with some busy prints for the 3 center squares and surrounded them with squares from the same color family:

Here is how they looked in progress:

And here are the two finished rows:

Now for the next substitution...

The pattern also calls for 2 Bow Tie blocks like this one:

The Bow Tie pattern is fine, but compared with the tiny pieces all the rest of the blocks, they looked too big to me.  Here's an idea of scale of the Bow Tie blocks compared to the others.

Whenever I looked at the pattern, my eyes were drawn to the large gaping hole in the center of the Bow Tie block, ( but I'm sure that's just me!)  I decided to substitute a Bear's Paw block which has that nice little square in the center, and also lots more opportunities for additional fabrics:

I needed two blocks, so I started by picking the fabrics for the larger squares:

then I cut the rest of the smaller squares using bits and pieces from the scrap pile.

Here are my two finished Bear's Paw blocks:

Then, I made one final substitution.

The pattern calls for a set of 9 4-inch Jacob's Ladder blocks like these:

No matter how I played around with the color placement, I just couldn't settle on something I liked. It was too directional with those longer diagonal pieces. (again, probably just me!)   Now that Pandora's Box was opened, I figured one more substitution didn't matter.  It was my quilt and I had to like it when I was done, right?  I decided to substitute a set of 12 3-inch Broken Dishes blocks instead:

There you have it.   My quilt will be roughly 80% as the pattern is written, and about 20% of my own design changes.  I guess from now on I have to call this quilt Long Time Gone Rogue!

Number of pieces in the Sawtooth Stars:  102
Number of pieces in the Bears Paws:         90
Number of pieces in the Broken Dishes:   64
Number of pieces in the quilt so far:     1,647

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Monday, July 24, 2017

New life for 9 patch blocks.

Had some fun making nine-patch blocks for the mystery quilt I was working on, especially the ones where I fussy cut the fabric.

When I decided not to continue with the mystery quilt and focus on Long Time Gone,  I needed to find a way to still use these cute little nine patches:

There is a section of Long Time Gone called "Plus a Star" which measures 21 X 12 inches.  It was the perfect spot to substitute an alternate block where I could incorporate these 3 inch units.  I decided to pair them with 3" snowball blocks to fill out the space needed.

For the snowball blocks, I looked through my fabrics and chose light background fabrics with slightly larger, bolder prints that were hard to use in the other blocks.

After cutting the central squares from the lights, I paired each one with a dark:

 From each dark, I cut four smaller squares:

And then sewed a small dark square to each corner of the light center squares:

After ironing and trimming, I had my snowball blocks all made, and I paired them up with the ninepatches to get my snowball/ninepatch section:

I laid out all of the sections I have made so far.  Here is what my Long Time Gone quilt looks like now:
Is this really all going to come together in one quilt??

Here is a reminder of what  Jen Kingwell's quilt looks like on the pattern for Long Time Gone:
I'm definitely going for a more well-defined block pattern for my individual sections, compared to Jen's more modern, blended approach.

Number of pieces in the Snowball/Ninepatch section:  202
Number of pieces in Long Time Gone so far:  1391

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Meet you on the Courthouse Steps

The Long Time Gone pattern requires making 9 small Courthouse Steps blocks.

This was a great block to use  up some of the light and dark scraps I have been creating while making the previous blocks.  I began by sorting  my scraps into piles of lights and darks based on length.

Then, I started the first round by sewing two light rectangles to opposite sides of the center squares:

Then I trimmed them on two sides only:

For the next round, I sewed a dark strip to each of the sides that I had just trimmed:

And again, I trimmed them on two sides:

I continued in this fashion, until all rounds were complete.  The trick to keeping them squared up as I went was to always check that the lines of the ruler matched up to the sides of the middle square, as outlined in pink in the photo below.

There were a lot of trips back and forth from the sewing machine, to the ironing board to the cutting table for each round, but in no time at all I had 9 perfectly sized Courthouse Steps blocks:

Number of pieces in the Courthouse Steps section:  153
Number of pieces in Long Time Gone so far:  1189

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Half Squares not Half Bad

Continuing on with the Long Time Gone quilt. Next up for me to work on were the Half Square Triangle sections.   There are a total of 3 sections in the quilt that consist of mostly half squares.   The first section I needed to make was this one:

Of course, my version would be all scrappy.  I turned to my stack of light fabrics and cut all the squares I needed.

I combined these with bits and pieces of leftover triangles from previous steps, as well as cutting some new ones:

The first section went together fairly easily, and I had my 35 half squares ready to sew together:

The second section of Half Squares, is a version of the traditional Cut Glass Dish pattern:

I tried a lot of different ideas with this one.  The first was to highlight the diagonal:

But then I decided to just highlight the central square.  I thought this might be a good time to use one of my fabrics with a larger print that gets lost when you cut it into very small units.  So I tried this one:

Then this one:
How about this one?
One more time:

At last, I chose yet another one, and I was happy with it:

So with two of the three Half Square triangle sections done, I turned to the the third section,  which is  supposed to look like this pattern.

It's kind of a Half Square triangle version of a Trip Around the World.  The finished size for this one happens to be the exact size of the House  block that I want to use as my substitute, so, I have decided to use my House block instead.  Besides, there already is a Trip Around the World  block in the quilt.  Also, I like the idea that the House is going to be right in the center of the  finished quilt.

Here are the sections I have done so far.  ( Excuse the gloomy lighting on a cloudy day.)

Number of pieces in the Half Square Triangle sections: 131
Number of pieces in Long Time Gone so far:  1036

I've gone above the thousand pieces mark!

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