I decided to try something that I had often thought about but had never had the nerve to let go and just do. You know how when you make a quilt that you want to look like the fabric placement is random, and then it takes forever to make it look that way? Well, I challenged myself to make a quilt that actually DID have really randomly placed fabric. I chose a simple pattern that I had received as a freebie in the mail from American Patchwork and Quilting along with an invitation to subscribe to their magazine. It's called Now and Later by Kathie Holland and is made from squares and rectangles.
I had seven 1/2-yard cuts of colorful fabric and some yardage of a pale gray background fabric. I cut 110 rectangles (2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches) from the colors and 110 squares (2 1/2 inches) from the background. Then I chain pieced all the rectangles with the squares.
I cut the units apart, dropped them into a punch bowl, and WITHOUT LOOKING, pulled out 22 pairs of units and sewed each pair together in the order I pulled them. My rule for myself was to not reject any pair, even if the colors were the same. (Yup, living on the edge, my style.) I threw the sewn pairs into a tote bag.
I took those 22 units (pulled randomly from the tote bag) and added another unit the same way, grabbing the additional units from the punch bowl without looking. I repeated this until I had 22 strips of 5 units each.
I threw all of the strips into the bag, then pulled them out one at a time and sewed them together. Same rule: no changes no matter what colors were together. It was really hard not to reject a strip sometimes when the same fabric kept showing up. But I persevered. (Sometimes I have to work hard at letting go.)
After they were all sewn together, I added 7 1/2 inch borders. (Borders? Me? Well, yeah, for this one. It reduced the amount of piecing I needed to do, and it makes the design float, which I rather like.) I'll probably trim them down a bit before I finish the quilt. This is how it turned out:
Sure, there's more of one color in one place, but that's balanced out by more of another in another place. And you know what? I like it. A lot. And I saved so much time. No agonizing at the design wall. No running up and down stairs between my living room, where I sew, and the guest bedroom, where I have my design wall.
After I finished the top, I cut additional rectangles and sewed them together--again randomly, but this time my rule was that there couldn't be two identical fabrics right next to each other. Any other sequence was fine. I reserved this long strip for my binding:
|(Finally found a use for a leftover thread cone.)|
What a super-fast quilt! I cut the shapes one evening, and it took only parts of two days to sew and baste it. Now I need to let it sit for a bit while I think about how to quilt it (any ideas??), but next time you see this, it should be done, and I will have made good on my pledge. Yea!
I think my random experiment worked out fine. I will definitely do random--really random--again.
I'm linking up this week with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social and My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday. The buttons are on the right.
Have a good quilty week--random or not.