My first decision was to make a throw-sized quilt. I collected some ideas on a secret Pinterest board then asked my niece and future nephew for some preferences for color and style. My niece sent me a photo of a framed poster of a map of Austin Texas, where they had met during their university days.
She said they'd prefer a quilt with a vintage look and colors similar to the ones in the poster. I looked for a image of the poster online and quickly found one that I could print out and use to match to my Kona swatches.
I looked over the quilts I had saved from Pinterest and kept coming back to one that seemed just right: Tone It Down by Lissa Alexander in the February 2014 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. This quilt was part of a Quilt Along in 2013-14. Many of you are probably acquainted with it. But that was before I was blogging or reading many blogs, so I wasn't aware that it was so popular. I'm always a little behind. Anyway, the block is actually a pretty old, well-known block (I know it as Burgoyne Surrounded), but the tone-it-down aspect and, of course, the directions for construction, are Lissa's design, so I ordered a digital copy of the magazine and am giving her appropriate credit. The low volume coloration of the quilt was what really drew me to it.
Lissa's pattern is four by five blocks. I had an idea of the size I wanted for this quilt and it worked better for me to do three by three blocks. I increased the block size from 15 inches to 18 3/4 (subbing in 1 1/4 inch for every inch on the original pattern).
For the foreground of the blocks, I chose Kona solids. I had a few in my stash and ordered the rest from these chips:
I ended up eliminating Orange, Jade Green and Wine and added in Sunflower in the end.
For my low volume fabrics, I visited the four fabric shops in my area and standing back about 20 feet from the shelves, I picked out any fabric that looked whitish or tannish or a pale version of the colors above or had a print in similar colors. What fun for me! What a pain for the poor sales associates that had to cut 1/8 yard from each bolt. I am definitely not the customer they want to see approaching the counter!! But I needed to build a low cost extensive stash as I didn't have these types of fabrics at home. Here they are all lined up on my couch. The fabrics across the seat in the front are actually pre-cut fat quarters. Hey, I tried to save a little time with the cutting!
I think there were maybe 48 fabric bits in all. Here they are with the solids:
I did my cutting in batches as I constructed the quilt. I didn't want to overcut any one fabric, but I needed enough pieces to try out various patches on the design wall. I made one block at a time and then left it in place on the wall and built the next one so that I could see how everything fit together.
I made a mini design wall with an old poster frame and some leftover batting to transfer each block to my sewing area for piecing.
After I finished the blocks, I laid out fabrics on the floor to determine how to arrange the sashings. (My design wall wasn't big enough.)
When I cut the sashings for the outer edges, I left extra width so that I would have room to trim the quilt without losing any design when binding it.
After auditioning several ideas for cornerstones, I chose one with mostly rose/red patches, then put them together, again leaving extra fabric on patches that would line the outer edges of the quilt. This seems like a lot of extra work, but not doing it might have robbed those squares of their "squareness" as I squared up the quilt for binding. (Does that make any sense at all??)
So here's how the quilt top looked in the end. Do you see the extra fabric at the edges?
Okay, I'm going to stop there. In the next post, I'll try to go lighter on words, but I will include some stats, and of course, you'll get to see the quilting and binding. It will be mostly pictures though. Maybe.
I'm linking up this post with Freemotion by the River, Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation. If clicking on the link doesn't take you to the party, click on the buttons on the right sidebar. I'll link up Part II with the usual Friday finish parties.
I hope you're having a great quilting week!