WIPs, Part III: Window on Whimsy

February 6, 2010 at 12:23 pm 1 comment

The weather forecast was right.  Really, really right:

Snowy neighborhood 2

My street, 9:15 this morning!

I’ll be curious what the final snowfall in inches will be, but suffice to say I’m not going anywhere for a while.  The perfect time to get some quilting done!  Based on the snowball method I discussed in last night’s post, I’ve decided to work on “Window on Whimsy.”

I’ve said in previous posts that I love challenge quilts because they’re for me, but I get them finished since they have a deadline.  Well, that’s not always necessarily true.  My guild challenge for October 2009 was called “Slash Your Stash”:  make a quilt entirely out of fabric from your stash (including back and binding; we were allowed to buy batting) using one of two Log Cabin variation blocks.

I started this quilt during a quilting weekend at my house with Rhonda and Diane back at the beginning of August, which I thought gave me plenty of time.  Diane had given me a collection of half-yards of Jo Morton fabrics in blues and browns for my birthday three or four years ago, and I’d been collecting other fabrics to go with them without a clear idea of what I wanted to use them for, so I thought they would be perfect for this challenge.  I also had 1 1/4 yards of a panel print by Laurie Godin for Northcott called “Nature’s Whimsey” (her spelling, not mine.)

Nature's Whimsey

"Nature's Whimsey' by Laurie Godin for Northcott

I had seen it in the merchant mall at Quilter’s Heritage Celebration some years ago, but it was only available in kits, so I didn’t buy any, thinking I’d see it in the quilt shops.  By the time I’d realized I wasn’t going to find it anywhere, I couldn’t even find it online.  I’d given up on it (and had even paid way too much to buy the not-nearly-as-attractive alternate colorway in yellow and charcoal off a website) when I found a bolt of it at The Quilt Place in Rockledge, FL while visiting my sister in May 2008.  Since I was already buying a bunch of black and white prints for “Blue Butterfly Day” and I needed to fit it all in my suitcase, I only bought enough to have a 42″ square.  I knew I wanted to save it for something special, but I didn’t know what.  When the challenge was announced, I thought that perhaps I could find a way to frame the panel print with the required blocks.  I chose to use Ducks in a Row, and when I made a set of trial blocks (drafted down from the given 9″ block to a 6″ block, because I like to make more work for myself) I really liked how the three diagonal cream squares created a chain effect when the blocks were set on point.

Ducks in a Row

Ducks in a Row on point

But then how to set the panel into the blocks?  I also had a nascent vision of creating the illusion of a window looking out onto the stylized floral landscape of the panel.

Then I Had An Idea.  And it was a capital-I Idea, not just one of those everyday run-of-the-mill ideas.  But this required research, experimentation, and a trip to the fabric store.  (Most Ideas do.)  My Idea was to cut the panel into 6″ on-point squares, and then piece it back together with 1″ lattice strips between the squares.  This would create the window effect, and because the strips would be the same size as the seam allowances, the panel would end up the same size as it had started.  It would also allow me to piece the panel into the blocks with no inset seams.  Since cutting the panel into on-point squares would mean that all the cut edges would be true bias, I would need to back the fabric with non-woven interfacing before I cut anything.  I just wanted to make sure this would work before I cut into the precious fabric I only had 1 1/4 yards of.  So I bought a cheap Noah’s Ark panel at JoAnn Fabrics, which could be turned into a charity baby quilt if it worked, and could be scrapped without (much) guilt if it didn’t.

And… it did!  Making slight adjustments to the technique, and using a thinner interfacing, I took a deep breath, cut up my precious fabric, and pieced it back together with the lattice strips.

Lattice panel

I had to slash more than my stash for this challenge.

I made the rest of the blocks for the top, using 12 blue, 12 brown, and who-knows-how-many cream fabrics.  I usually get really anal about trying to achieve maximum entropy with a scrap quilt by not having the same fabric combination occur more than once, but my fabric piles must have gotten mixed up (or I did) and by the time I realized I had some duplicate blocks, I wasn’t going to go back and fix them.

I pieced it together, and it was BIG.  But as if that wasn’t enough, I decided it really needed a border to contain and complete the design.  As always, I found one that would work perfectly in “Pieced Borders:  The Complete Resource” by Judy Martin and Marsha McCloskey.  The book is out-of-print, but worth tracking down.  I got the border pieced and attached, but the October guild meeting was rapidly approaching.  It didn’t help that I was also finishing “Kyoto Ink” at the same time, for a deadline just 1.5 weeks later.  I managed to get the back pieced, the quilt basted, and some rudimentary quilting done so that the quilt could leave the house for the challenge meeting, but it certainly wasn’t done.  I then had to immediately put it aside in order to finish “Kyoto Ink” and attend Quilting with Machines.

Oct 2009 Challenge mtg

No binding, almost no quilting, but it's at the meeting!

I did pick it back up at the beginning of December for my guild retreat; I spent two solid days machine quilting it.  But it’s a big quilt.  I still need to quilt the setting triangles, the border, and the panel areas, and I’m being extremely wishy-washy about what I want to do there.  The rest of the quilt is fairly densely quilted, so I can’t leave them empty, but I also don’t want to distract from the print design.  I’ll have to mull that over while I quilt the other areas.  I’m actually excited to bind this quilt (for the first time in my life) because I made a scrappy binding with the leftover strips from piecing the blocks, and I think it will be really cute.

A good Samaritan with a snowblower just cleared my sidewalk, so I don’t have to risk giving myself tendonitis in my wrist or throwing my back out shoveling, and can concentrate on finishing this quilt!


Entry filed under: Quilt Guild, WIPs. Tags: , .

Snow Day! Deja Vu All Over Again

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Eastern PA Quilt Shop Hop 2011 « Sarah Loves Fabric  |  December 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    […] also considering working up instructions for my lattice window process that I came up with for Window on Whimsy as either a class or a magazine article (you know, in all my free time) and I would need some […]


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