Astute observers will note a new button on the sidebar: yup, I’m doing the New York Beauty quilt-along organized by Sew Sweetness. I tried to resist. Really. Tried and failed.
After all, I’ve only recently completed this one, and how much fiddly little paper foundation piecing can one person endure?
Something in me decided that “little” was the biggest obstacle (the sew-along blocks finish at 8″), and that the aqua and olive prints I’ve been amassing in great quantity over the past year would look really good if I sized up by 150% and made 12″ blocks instead. (Which raises the question of whether having a home-office copier with variable reduction/enlargement capability is a great convenience or just gets me into trouble.)
I made a trial block, naively assuming that prior NYB experience would enable me to neatly sidestep beginner headaches. Not so. Assume, as you gaze upon this deliciousness, that at least half of those seams have been ripped out and resewn. At least once. Accompanied by a soundtrack of grumbling and profanity. (Beangirl, you are not alone!)
The greatest advantage of 8″ blocks is that the pattern pieces fit on standard sized paper. Unfortunately my home copier is not so fancy that it handles 11″x14″ paper, so upping the size by half means a lot of cutting and taping together before the sewing can begin. Careful taping, BTW. Tape over a foundation pieced seam line would make paper removal impossible.
Another thing to keep in mind: if you enlarge the pattern, you enlarge the seam allowances, too. I remembered to trim mine to 1/4″ along each arc before sewing the block pieces together. Thank God. I left the extra on the sides, though, for square-up wiggle room (something I dearly wished I’d had when working on the Karen Stone wallhanging blocks). I needed it, too. Every one of the three blocks I’ve finished so far has looked a ghastly mess when it emerged from the machine. A ruthless hand with the steam iron and trimmed up sides, and they now look pretty good:
I’ve been wanting to make a “summer quilt” for our bed for a while now, and this is going to be it. I hadn’t planned on going the NYB route. That’s Mr. de Hilo’s fault, for telling me how much he liked the “pointy circle things” as a motif. And he gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to using these colors/prints for this project. I plan to use the Heather Bailey “wallpaper roses” print for center and bacground of all blocks, but like all my design decisions that’s subject to change. Unknown as of yet: how many blocks to make, and what layout to arrange them in. There’s always the option to make a center NYB medallion and revert to easier/faster design elements as multiple border to fill out to bed sized. There’s no getting around it, these blocks are a bit of a pain to make. But they’re so lovely I’ll probably stick with them until I’ve got a big quilt’s worth.
I’ve warned Mr. deH not to expect to be sleeping under this anytime this summer. Even if I manage to keep up with weekly block production (which I’m not doing in sequence with the QA tutorials, BTW), I have a few other things to finish up over the next few months. I’m behind schedule with the “next ups” pile — so much so that I’ve removed the “finish-along” button that used to be in the sidebar. We’re half-way through March and I haven’t even started quilting what was supposed to be my February finish. I do have some lovely new King Tut variegated threads to quilt it with, though, and might even get started on it this afternoon.