Last week I shared this pile of charm squares.
There's a little story that goes with them. Back in October I got an email from Shelley over at The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts. She had noticed on Facebook that the Moda company was trying to locate someone named Janine Marie for a giveaway. She thought that person might be me. I enter a lot of giveaways, and I can't always remember what ones I've entered, so I contacted Moda and told them my name and that I didn't know if I was the person they were looking for and that I honestly couldn't remember entering their giveaway. But I jokingly said that if they wanted to give me their fabric bundles, I'd happily take them They said my profile picture didn't match their information, and I figured that was that. But then they contacted me and said that since they couldn't find the winner, they'd send me the bundles. 11 charm packs!! That's a lot of fabric squares!!
So, I finally am getting around to using them. This week I laid out and sewed a quilt top for the Hands2Help Charity Challenge hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I thought it might be hard to do. You see, these fabrics are not really my current style, but I am committed to using them. And someone else might like them a lot--maybe someone who is really into historic looking fabrics or antiques.
First, I looked around for ideas for sewing charms. I found the Flower Patch Quilt by Kathryn Ludowese at the Moda Bake Shop, which seems appropriate since I'm working with Moda fabrics. The quilt was made with a layer cake (10-inch squares) and 7-inch squares, but I knew I could scale it back to use the charms. That pattern became my inspiration, although I constructed it differently, as you'll see below.
All of the packs-even though they were from different fabric collections--coordinated quite well with each other. So here's what I decided to do. I ignored the colors and patterns for the most part and divided them into values. First, I put the darks and mediums on the wall in columns:
Then I took my lighter fabrics to make triangles in the corners of the dark squares. The pattern called for a Stitch and Flip (sometimes called Flip and Sew) technique--sewing across a smaller square diagonally in the corner of each larger square and then flipping it to make a triangle. If I had done that, I would have wasted a big part of the smaller square and run out of my light charms, so instead I cut each light charm in half diagonally. Here's how they looked laid out to get an idea of placement:
And here's what I did to sew them together. (I still sewed with the Stitch and Flip technique, but with a triangle instead of a square.)
|Dark charm with half light charm|
|Triangle marked off on a ruler--forgot about seam allowance so my finished light triangle turned out a bit bigger than planned, but it looked fine.|
|Triangle pinned in place|
|Quick mark of the quarter inch line with a pencil since my machine doesn't have a quarter inch foot|
|Ready to chain piece|
|Zipping along, and then I discovered...|
|that if I turned the patches around, the other side of my foot is a scant quarter inch. Who knew?? Could have saved myself a step marking the seam allowance.|
I don't know if you can tell, but I tried to put most of the lightest values of triangles along the edges and down the center with more tannish ones in the other two columns. The finished top is 54-1/2 by 68 inches.
As I was working, a name for the quilt came to me: Old Fashioned Values--not as a political, religious or cultural statement or anything, but because the fabrics seemed old fashioned to me and I was working with values. Quilt names aren't important to me--I never named my quilts until I started writing about them--and then it became convenient as a way to reference them on the blog. Anyway, this quilt pretty much named itself. It was really good practice in working with values. I only made a few changes in fabric placement after putting the patches on the wall, using my trusty old binoculars to reduce the quilt and compare the values.
I used part of 8 charm packs to make this, and I have enough charms left to make another quilt. What about the other 3 packs? I set them aside and plan to send them to Shelley as a thank you gift for helping me "win" this windfall of charms. In a later post I'll tell you the names of the charm packs.
I'm linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social, and on the 17th I'll link up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for the Hands2Help Linky.