Friday, 19 February 2016

Sampler Block Shuffle - update

Just catching up after 10 days without sewing a stitch - hospital visits and associated rushing around for my MIL and a number of other things on the domestic front I won't bore you with.  After all, this is a space for creativity, relaxation and making things which stay made, not for the general stuff of 'real' life.

I have missed sewing so much, it is my way to unwind and have some personal time, and accordingly is always the thing which gets squeezed out by more pressing needs.  So when I have the chance I go a bit overboard to compensate.  First to receive my attention were my Moda Sampler Block Shuffle blocks, which I was up to date with when I last posted about them (here).

On Tuesday I finally managed to make up for lost time and I have now made all the blocks, some of them once, some twice and a few three times in different colour/value arrangements.  The decision how many to make was influenced by a) how much I liked the variations shown on the pattern sheet, and b) how many pieces there were in the block - some blocks much more intricate than others.

Whilst I really like the intricate blocks, they are quite fiddly (finishing at only 6") so that may have influenced my decision...

Anyway I finally got around to counting how many blocks I have made and discovered that, rather than the 30 for which patterns are provided, I have made 60 (and I didn't use the two applique blocks at all).

I always intended to make more as I don't want to set the blocks with plain alternate squares, but I was slightly surprised to find just how many extra I had made.

I can really recommend the process of making just a few blocks at a time over a period: it was relatively painless.  I kept all my fabrics for the quilt in one place, using a FQ stack of an old reproduction line called Calico Craze by Barbara Brackman & Terry Clothier Thompson for Moda, with a few extras and neutrals thrown in.  This meant I didn't spend ages looking through my stash for particular fabrics, I just chose from what I had pre-selected.

To eliminate fiddly cutting of single squares, I cut strips in the required widths and cut the squares and rectangles I needed from the strips, returning the strips to the box and then going back to those cut strips for squares for future blocks; this had the further benefit of making me use what I had already cut and therefore being a bit more adventurous with my fabric combinations.

Making the blocks in several variations also freed up my fabric/colour choices within the limited palette.  As I have so many blocks to choose from in my layout I feel more relaxed as I can always reject any I don't really like.  And because the blocks weren't very big and didn't really take all that long to make individually, I was less bothered about 'making mistakes'.

I am still mulling over what layout to adopt.  The blocks are meant to be set on point so I may stick with that idea and put them together with a narrow neutral sashing: there are a lot of seams so a buffer between blocks would make my life easier and I think would help it all to lay flatter than trying to join the blocks together edge to edge.  Time to look at some Dear Jane quilts on Pinterest for inspiration - those blocks finish even smaller, at 4 1/2".

Finally, as time is ticking away for my Bargello Wedding quilt (blogged here) I managed to staystitch the edges, seam the backing fabric, press everything and deliver to my friend Chris who will be long arm quilting it for me.  Just a teasing photo for now but I will reveal properly in due course.

As I have now finished this quilt as much as I can, except for the binding, I am claiming a finish and linking to Finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts.  I love the Pixie basket and will definitely be making one of those this weekend!

Hope you manage to finish something too.  Have a great weekend!

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