Thursday, February 21, 2013

Blue rainbow

I had been cruising block patterns, looking for my Rainbow Connection quilt block.  I know it looked like I had already made my choice, but honest, that block was just an example of what COULD be done.  I choose to do the blue blocks so I could do something different.

Choosing the block has been mostly fun.  I wanted to avoid anything that relied on many similar blocks to make a repeating pattern because I knew that every block in this swap is dealer's choice.  In fact, while the block should be 12.5" unfinished/12" finished, there is no reason a person couldn't make a 9-10-11 inch block & size it up with a narrow border.  Given the shear volume of quilt block patterns I peruse & then discard for the every other month swap, I consider myself well qualified to say I want a block that is 12" finished or just under, works on light v dark for the pattern (because I am limited to mostly blue, after all), works as a stand alone, etc. & then put my hands on such a pattern with a minimum of fuss.  The real trick was deciding on qualities I did/didn't want.

At first I toyed with doing something from the plain & graphic neighborhood.  Maybe 9 small 4-patches with narrow white borders between, but when I tested it, there was too much just-background (white).  At least in my view, anyhow.  I decided that might be a better choice for a higher impact color, like red or orange.

While I was rolling all that around, I was also thinking about what blue fabric I had in enough yardage to make six of the same good sized blocks that was unspoken for project-wise.  One fabric I have is a white & blue, mostly white.  I couldn't count it as my background, because it is not all white, or even white-on-white, but it was too white to count as my color fabric.  Knowing I had PLENTY of it, though, began steering me to a block with a center piece that could use up some of this, but also have room around for the blue-on-blue fabric requirement.

I cruised around Quilters Cache in the 7" - 11" range to see if anything caught my eye & of course a few things did.  But none of them were exactly what I wanted so out came the Brackman.  I went straight to Category 14-square in a square & after a pleasant hour or so settled on my block.

I confess I took a few detours.  I thought briefly of making the sawtooth block (Brackman #2648, not to be confused with the sawtooth star: after the Christmas Star debacle of '10 I have been rather off stars.  No fault of the quilt blocks, I know but still, these things leave a mark.).  The sawtooth has a lot of open space in the center, even if I did use the blue on white toile I was thinking I might.  Then I thought I might make a 4-patch of sawtooths/sawteeth, but when I sketched it, even with a center sash & post, it just was not all that appealing.  I put this idea in the better for a different project pile & moved on.

I kept looking for something that had a enough happening to keep me interested for six blocks but still met the "keep in mind this is for beginners & you don't want to scare them off" mantra I have been chanting.  I briefly considered Jack in the pulpit (B#2472), but one of our every other month swap blocks has that same kind of bias-y corner piece & was happening at the same time, so I discarded that one.

But there, on the same page was my choice:  one of the legion of blocks called Mosaic, specifically Mosaic # 21 (B#2470).  I could see it would lend itself to scrappy 1/2-square triangles perfectly.  Have I mentioned I have a lot of blue scraps?  Well, I do.  It would also work very well with the blue toile I originally went looking to accommodate. 

So I began.  I made a draft (cut but not sewn) with the toile & well, it just wasn't sharp enough.  I also raided the scrap pile for the other pieces.  Very pretty (I actually plane to make up the one block, just for having it.  Also it might make a good group swap block some day), but this being a color specific swap, I thought the lines should be crisper.  So I changed it for a medium blue (the value of the toile, but in a solid).  It looked Okay, so I cut the pieces & stitched SIX of them up without taking a good look again.  I wish I had.  They are clunky & would need something small or a certain kind of layout to make them look nice.  I liked the block, just not the scale. 

Back to the drawing board.  Because blue, while a wonderful color, can be kind of bland I decided on graduated color dark-to-light thing. The final decision was to size everything down & add another row & changed two facing 1/2-square triangle side pieces for flying geese when possible & Voilà!

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