Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trying something different

Sometimes I've seen a pattern and thought, hmmm, I could make an I spy out of that.  And then I try it.  And part way through I think, oh dear, not having fun here.  Or else, this really isn't turning out too well.  Other times the resulting quilt looks great but the construction was so fiddly that I won't likely ever make the pattern again.  So here is a collection of some of those attempts.  Some worked great, other's not so much.  These are likely to be one and onlys, a very limited edition.

Tic Tac Toe
This tic-tac-toe pattern was from Quilter's Newsletter magazine, designed by Pamela Rocco.  Cutting was challenging for me, mostly because I don't do "wonky" well.  I'm the kind of person who straightens pictures in other people's houses.   I tried following the directions but my wonky strips kept ending up weird looking.   I also struggled with only using 24 fabrics.  I had to select very carefully in order to have all 26 letters of the alphabet and still have good contrast.  And it made me sad to only use 24 fabrics when I've got baskets and baskets full.  It needed a border but I couldn't figure out what would work, so it never got one. 

Clam Shells
Clamshells.  I can honestly say that I hate this quilt. I should have just tossed this when I realized how bad it was going but I hated to waste the fabric so I stuck with it.  It was another pattern from Quilters Newsletter called Quick Bias-strip Clamshells by Barbara Barber.  I thought it would be fun to try the technique but I did not enjoy it.  It used A LOT of fabric to make the bias edge on each shell and left lots of weird rounded scraps.  And it wasn't particularly quick either (Sorry Barbara).  It's way too busy.  Perhaps I should have used a solid fabric mixed in somewhere.  Fortunately the lady who bought it from me loves it.
My friend Shelley from the quilt forum found this pattern by Rachel Griffith called Smitten.  I modified the way it was constructed to work better with the novelty fabrics.  But I made the little triangles in the sashing too small; they sort of disappear or look like a mistake.  The border was an attempt to get rid of some triangles from another project and I'm not happy with the different thicknesses of the whites strips.  I couldn't figure out the geometry properly - too long since I had to use that knowledge.  Overall I think it would have been better if I had followed the instructions in the original pattern.
On the Go
This is a happy quilt and the pattern is by one of my favorite bloggers, Melissa Cory called On the Go (I've done several quilts based on her blogs).  It was for a little boy adopted from China so I thought the arrows indicating movement and travel were appropriate.  I like how it turned out, but I didn't enjoy the process enough to do this one again.  Too many triangles and lots of scraps left over.  Also I didn't like how the novelty fabrics had to be pieced which chopped the larger pictures in half.

Another happy quilt but I probably won't do this one again for similar reasons as some of the prior ones.  This pattern is called Dragon's Lair by WhistlePig Productions.  No idea why it's called that.  I like how it turned out but there were lots of left over triangles that I'm still trying to figure out what to do with.  The math on this was fiddly too as I constructed it different than the pattern indicated.   The pattern called for quarter square triangles but I didn't want all those little pieces so  I used my 4.5" standard cut squares instead.  I would have preferred the white strips to be all the same width but couldn't get it quite right.  It reminds me of cut jewels.

Fletcher pattern by Shiney Happy World was another attempt to use triangles but to limit the waste.  Rather than start with a large rectangle and cut off each end to make the point, I cut off one end and attached it to the other.  I tried to chose fabrics with scatter patterns so it wasn't be as obvious.   I don't really like how much background fabric this pattern needs, so I probably won't make it again.  It was quick and easy and I liked how it ended up over all.  I did add some extra 4" square novelties as a border after this photograph was taken (primarily to make it larger for a toddler) and I think it helped pull everything together better.
As the title of my blog indicates, this is a journey.  I've learned a lot through the years from all my quilts.  I've learned how to better evaluate a pattern to determine if it will work with novelties.  I've learned that sometimes you can modify the pattern but sometimes you should stick with the instructions.  I've learned to have a variety of scale and color in my stash.  I've learned the importance of contrast as well as the need for a place to rest your eyes (think Clamshell).  I've learned how to handle the construction to minimize waste (see Fletcher).  Most imporantly I've learned to have fun and enjoy the process.


  1. If today's offering was an election, I would "vote" for Fletcher. That quilt really struck my fancy and I think it deserves to be a pattern you use more than once. Perhaps you'd like it better if you tried a different background fabric.

    As always, I enjoyed your comments on your quilts.

    1. yes, you're probably right. I opted for the dark fabric because I've got all these white novelties that I never seem to use. But the black is all I see when I look at it. you convinced me, I'll try that one again with a white background and bright colors.

  2. I did a sample of that bias clam shell pattern also. A small sample. That was more than enough for me. I also thought that it was waaaaaaay too fiddly to continue. I'm pretty sure I put my effort on the donation table at the Arizona Retreat.


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