Friday, June 28, 2013

It's a small world after all - no, really for October 2013

I have been looking at our October block for a long time.  I first saw it in the photo album of one of the Facebook Quilt Block Swap group members & as soon as I saw it I asked for the pattern.   As it happens, she did not have a pattern; she had seen a picture herself & had backed into it, reverse engineered it, however you want to put it.  So, looking at her picture, I did the same thing.  & now when I look at them side by side I can see some unintended differences.  The proportions are a little bit different & I am not sure how large her blocks were, but I suspect these are smaller.  There are also the intended changes, which I will go into below. 

This is as far as everything got for a year, while I looked every place I could think of for the original pattern, so I could communicate with the designer.  The closest I ever got was Linleys Designs African Girl which anyone going to the link can see it is not the same & as it happens, is foundation pieced, so it is really very different in construction as well as look.  All the other remotely similar blocks I found were applique, which is not even close. Given the changes I made & the possibility (probability) the photo I saw was of a quilt not-quite like the one she saw & the possibility that that one was not itself the first one, but a slightly different version of something else....  I am beginning to wonder if there is an actual pattern-pattern.

So, here it is the October 2013 Facebook Quilt Block Swap quilt block:  It's a small world after all-no really. 

You will need three (3) fabrics & you may choose to use more. 
  • Fabric 1 is the skin fabric.  It should be SOLID not read-as-solid but solid & can be any color any person might be.  I confess I made a green skinned martian lady but only for myself, not for swapping.  In my examples I choose mostly browns & tans, but that light skinned lady in the green dress has the exact same skin color as me (it isn't white, it is a color I like to call pasty yellow-pink).  What I am trying to say is any skin tone is fine, so long as it exists in nature.  You will not need much of this so an 1/8th of a yard or even a small scrap would be plenty.  Please cut one (1) 2" square for the face & two (2) 1.5" squares for the hands.
  • Fabric 2 is the back ground fabric.  This fabric should be light but does not need to be white.  Again, the green dress lady has a light blue background.  I made a white background version for her & she just sort of faded into it (the other two ladies are on white backgrounds).  The background does not need to be solid but please remember it is BACKGROUND, if you use a patterned fabric, please limit yourself to white-on-white or tan-on-tan or whatever, no pale pink with green polka dots or light blue with yellow flowers or whatever.  Please cut two (2) 4.5" x  2" & two (2)  3" x 1.5".
  • Fabric 3 is the headdress fabric.  This can also be the dress fabric but it does not have to be, so I am giving the measurements separately.  You will need to cut two pieces for the headdress one (1) 2" x 1.5" & one (1) 3" x 1.5".
  • Fabric 4 (which can be Fabric 3) is the sleeves fabric.  You will need two pieces, two (2) 2" x 1.5".
  • Lastly is the dress itself.  It can be pieced, or it can be a single 4.5" square.  At least part of the dress, if it is pieced, should be the same fabric as the sleeves.  If it is not pieced, it should all be the same as the sleeves.  When choosing this fabric or piecing the dress, please keep in mind the whole thing will ultimately be set on point.
I found that when it comes to assembling the block, the easiest thing was to think of it as an irregular 4-patch.  The dress is one part, the face with the headdress is another, & each arm with background make the last two parts. 

First make the 4.5" square that will be the dress (the lower corner of the block when it is on point).  Again, this can be pieced or not, as you wish. 

Next, make the headdress.  To do this, take the 2" square of skin fabric & border it on one side with the  2" x 1.5" of headdress fabric.  press to the headdress fabric & then add the second 3" x 1.5" headdress fabric & again, press to the headdress fabric. 

The other two parts of the 4-pach are the sleeves, hands & background.  You will be making mirror images of the same piece for these. 

To make the two sleeve pieces, you first need to make the hands.  Take the smaller background pieces & place the 1.5" squares of skin fabric over one end.  Stitch diagonally from one corner to another keeping in mind you want MIRROR IMAGES when you are done, so you have a left & a right hand. 

Press the triangles back, trim away the excess & then attach the sleeve fabric to the skin fabric, making one long piece.  Stitch the last two background pieces to the sleeve-hand-background piece.  It is very easy to get this part confused & end up with something that is not quite right so I would suggest you lay out the whole thing at this point & look at it.  The background piece should be attached to the sleeve-hand-background piece along the long edge of the hand piece.  In other words, when you are finished the hand fabric should form a right triangle with the long back ground piece on one straight edge & the sleeve fabric on the other straight edge.  I realize this is all very wordy, so the best ting to do is probably just match it to the picture until you get the hang of it.

In the end, you should have a lovely lady, in a lovely dress & headdress with a right & a left hand.  The final block should be 7" unfinished/6.5" finished

As always we swap in sets of FIVE (5).  Please send your five (5) blocks to arrive the last Saturday in October, October 26, 2013.  If you not currently part of the swap group, but you are interested in joining, you are welcome BUT it would make my life A LOT easier if you joined through Facebook.   Log into Facebook, search "quilt block swap" & find the Group.  Ask to join & you should be approved within a day or two.  If you are not on Facebook, but still interested, leave a comment here. 

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