Saturday, February 7, 2015

One Thing Leads to Another

One of the reasons I finally started this blog (after many years of suggestions from quilting friends) is that I was in a quilting funk.  I just wasn't excited about anything, even though I have a lovely new quilting room.  I thought if I started reviewing old quilts that I might get inspired.  And I did.

As I was going through the recent post on fun with triangles I realized I hadn't used that new method of making corner triangles on any of the patterns that use 4.5" blocks (leaning stars for example).  I wanted to make a quilt for a little 3 year old red haired cutie whose mom sits near me at work.  She (the little girl) loves animals, purple, and dancing.  I knew I wanted to pack in as many girly fabrics and animals as possible and so the 4.5" pre-cuts would be a good choice.  I'd also seen a version of this quilt shown at the right, made with sashing.  It really emphasized the X configuration and I wanted to try it.

I decided to track how much time it takes to make this quilt.  Folks frequently ask me how long it takes to make my quilts but I've been bad at making notes.  So here was an opportunity.  The results?  Just picking out the fabrics took an hour, including pulling the pre-cut squares.  Cutting the background triangles and the additional squares took another 30 minutes.  This would have been longer except that about 75% of the squares were pre-cut.  Marking the sewing lines using the Perfect Corner Ruler took 30 minutes, sewing the triangles took an hour, pressing and trimming the squares took 30 min.  Deciding on the exact layout added another 30, so I'm up to 4 hours at this point.  
Preliminary Layout

Deciding the layout took some extra time on this one.  Initially I was going to do a random layout similar to the quilt above.  I sewed all the corner triangles on, trimmed the blocks, then put it back up on the design wall.  Standing in the doorway to my sewing room I decided I really wasn't excited about the random arrangement.  It just seemed kind of spotty with the small 4" squares.

2nd Layout
What to do?  At that point it was late, so I went to bed to sleep on it.  As I was trying to go to sleep I thought, Aha, how about grouping the colors?  I done this on several other quilts lately (future post on those later).  The larger blocks of color unify the quilt and give more emphasis to the pattern and this quilt needed something.  I almost jumped up to go back to the room and try it, but restrained myself until morning.  It was very late.  The next day I re-arranged and really liked the result.  Even better I didn't have to replace any of the squares.  They fit into color groups of 4 pretty well.

As frequently happens, one idea leads to another.  I was looking at the blocs on the design wall and remembered seeing a quilt several years ago with X's and O's.  I flipped a few squares and Viola!  Hugs and Kisses.  Definitely something the little girl will like.  She's almost 4 years old so I wanted the quilt to be larger than my usual baby quilt size.  I added the extra precut squares that I had pulled at first but didn't need for the center of the quilt.  Fortunately I hadn't put them away yet.  I love how this turned out and it used a bunch of precut squares.  Oh and the grand total time spent (before quilting) was between 7 & 8 hours (I forgot to note my start time a couple of evenings).  Those pre-cut squares save so much time, both time to cut and time to re-fold and put away the fabrics.  Quilting and binding typically take about an hour each, so my previous estimates of 10 hours is about right.
Hugs and Kisses Color Block
I can't wait to give this one away.  It's turned out so well and I'm sure the little girl is going to love it.  It has lots and lots of animals, including a unicorn.  It even has her name (Georgia) and where she lives (Texas).  Hopefully I'll have a picture of her playing with it soon.

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