Given that “process pledge” button in my sidebar, I thought it would be fun to illustrate how projects get started around here, and the kind of intuitive process that drives their evolution into … whatever they turn out to be. [warning: long, picture-heavy post!]
This one began about a year and a half ago, when my sister and I got into a lengthy e-mail brainstorming session about the possibilities of this “confetti” method. These idea-toss-arounds coincided with a rummage in the sewing room closet that unearthed a one-yard piece of mahogany brown solid for which I’d long forgotten the intended purpose.
Brown can too easily look muddy or unimaginative or old-fashioned, but I like a challenge. I’d played around with a pale-background confetti wall-hanging, and wanted to explore a dark variation. I pulled out my smallest scraps, and cut some into random small squares between 1.25″ to maybe 2″ in size, and got to work.
Step one was to cut the yard of brown into strips of various widths between around 1.25″ to 3″, and sew the scrap squares to the strips until I ran out of squares. The scrap squares are butted right up next to each other, then pressed open,
and cut apart. Repeat, again with random strip width and varying the squares placement (here they are before cutting apart),
and you end up with pieces that look like this:
Some have brown on two opposing sides, some on two adjacent sides, it’s all part of the randomness.
Keep going for two more rounds. The original confetti method stops when three sides of the scrap are bordered, but I kept going and added a forth, so each scrap is completely bordered in brown. At this point the blocks were a mishmash of sizes and mostly more rectangular than square. I no longer remember why I decided to trim all my blocks to a consistent size, but that’s what happened. I found the smallest block and trimmed it to square, then trimmed down/squared up the rest to the same size (4″). I had wiggle room on the larger blocks to square up at an angle for a wonkified look:
At which point I had a pile of these…
… in search of a plan. I tried putting all the blocks together, but this was rather dull:
On-point was better, but still a long way short of my plan to make something vibrant and interesting from brown.
The breakthrough came by spreading the blocks out into a checkerboard pattern…
… then turning them on point:
Bingo! Now my blocks needed a playmate.
I don’t even remember at this point what other prints were auditioned, because as soon as this one went up on the design wall I knew it was it:
This stunning Kaffe Fassett print reads as “orange” but has a lot of yellow, pink, and red in it, all colors that play well with brown. The final layout has 49 of the scrap blocks arranged in a square. The largest scraps are in the center, then a row of the smallest ones all around, and the rest along the outside. I picked out a striped border/binding fabric, and then left this project in the WIP/UFO bin for close to a year before getting around to finishing it up, and then another two months went by before I decided how to quilt it. Here’s how it turned out (47″x47″):
The scrap blocks are quilted in a square spiral, and the background squares each have a curly free-motion leaf motif. The border is quilted in a spiky “dandelion leaf” pattern which is virtually impossible to see against the vivid print, but you get a hint of it here:
The back is pieced from two prints from the stash, with a hanging sleeve at the top:
I’ve wanted to use the “faux piped binding” method on something for a while now, and this seemed like a good place to try it out. I followed this tute but cut my striped strip to 1-1/4″. It’s easy enough to do, although I practically fell asleep sewing the 200″ lengths of binding together. The binding is applied first to the back of the quilt, then wrapped to the front, where you stitch in the ditch to complete the edge (that’s the first photo way up at the top). Love the result, and will definitely do it again, maybe on something just a little smaller.
As this just-for-fun project evolved I had no plans to keep it. Figured it would go into the “future Etsy shop” pile. Then I hung it up in the foyer to take some pics, and Mr. de Hilo and I are both quite pleased with it. It’s just the right size to hang in the TV nook, where I’ve been wanting to liven up the blank wall for ages. Looks like this one is going to live at our house for a while.
So, that’s all on this one. If you read this far, please add a comment and let me know if you enjoy this kind of long, rambly, picture-heavy post or if you’d appreciate an effort toward brevity…