Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Burgoyne begat

I know you have all been sitting on the edge of your seats wondering what was going to replace the Bird Trap quilt block swap in 2014.  Because that swap as so popular.  Actually, it was popular for looking but not for doing.  What I mean is I think the images interested people but they were a bit overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by the guidelines versus instructions.  There were too many variables & how to make them all work together in the end.  Now I have the opportunity to resolve all of that....but I am not going to.  This is white water quilt rafting, people!  You can go anywhere & paddle in the shallows but this swap is going off-road.  Again. 

I have been eyeing the Burgoyne Surrounded block for a long time.  It's an oldie, but a goodie, has a certain amount of variation & is more about the planning than the execution (it's all straight lines, no 1/2-square triangles).  At least that's how it begins. 

You will need:

FIVE nine patches.  One of them should be different from the others in either size or fabric choices or something & the other four should be more or less the same. You can make ANY nine patch you desire, so long as it has a clear light &/or dark making an X or some kind of contrast pattern.  Ordinarily, it is the darker that makes the X & for your first foray you might want to stick with that, but you certainly don't have to.  As for the nine-patches themselves: you can do a conventional black & white nine patch for the one & smaller shoo-fly for the other four.  I don't care, it is up to you.

As for color, fabric, etc.  it is mostly dealers choice.  All we care about here is light versus dark.  Or light versus medium.  Or medium versus dark.  Your nine-patch fabrics should have two clear values...& if you feel like muddying it up a bit further into the block, be my guest.  Just so long as there is a at least the suggestion of a Burgoyne-type movement from the corners to the center...or off-center, however that works out.

In my first sample, I made the single nine-patch & the set of four from 1.5" strips but different fabrics, but you could differentiate them in other ways (I was also trying to make the smallest possible units for the sake of having a jumping off point).

NEXT I added what I call half a log cabin border to adjacent asides of the four same-y nine-patches.  You might find it easier to flesh out the block & then add outer borders like a normal person (that is what I did for my second block).  This half border could consist of two planks & a corner stone, maintaining the light or dark or medium X in the usual Burgoyne style, but feel free to mix this up.

These four now-asymmetrical nine-patches are the corners of your completed block.  The other nine patch is the conceptual center....but depending on what you do next may not be the actual center.  Bear with me, I promise it will get clearer.

Putting the stand alone nine-patch centerish & the others at the outer corners, you need to fill in the space between.  Your dark (or light, or medium) X should hook-up from the center blocks to at least two of the corner blocks, but it can hook up to all of them.

You can fill in with whatever you like.  You can use a single piece of fabric or you can piece something.  For my first go round, I intended to limited myself to two (2) fabrics -which did not quite work out, but at least hey are all in a theme, more or less- & decided to keep the center in the center & did minimal piecing in the filler areas & you can see what I got.  Once I had one block under my belt, I was more comfortable adding variables, changing up widths etc.  You can add the more sashing if you like you can make your center off-center, you can use any 9-path variation you like in place of any basic 9-patch.  The idea is to stretch, & stretch again.  Then stretch some more. 

For my second pass I decided to go with one wider than the others edge & flip the lights versus darks for one corner.  & yes, I had A LOT of Bird Trap scraps left over & a few of them may have found their way here.

Your complete blocks should be SQUARE.  It can be anywhere from 13" square to 25" square but it must be SQUARE.  The 13" is based on the minimum number of pieces needed to meet the requirements all being 1" finished, & only the bare minimum of pattern being represented, the 25" is for when you want to stretch a bit (& you will want to stretch, I promise).  When you get back not-equal squares, you can bring them up to snuff with outer borders reinforcing the cornerstone feature.  That should help bring the whole thing into some kind of balance, anyhow.  Also this is where you would add the sashing that is the final Burgoyne movement, with those additional cornerstones & those side bits....  Or not, it is up to you naturally.

Finally, yes, I am putting this up early.  Bird Trap doesn't wrap until the last Saturday in November; you can even sign-up for it up until Hallowe'en, but ever since the Bird Trap quilt made its public debut, I have been getting "what's next?" questions from people who are interested, maybe but don't think there is enough time to do the Bird Trap quilt block swap if they start from scratch now.  Since Bird Trap (& Burgoyne Begat) require a little bit of warm up, I think they might be right. 

Also, today in 1777, General John Burgoyne surrendered to Major General Horatio Gates.  But actually, he didn't.  Burgoyne negotiated freedom for his men if they left their weapons & then left the colonies.  Eventually everyone reneged & then it was ON.  The important thing though is that after a thrilling campaign that included the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga, Burgoyne was surrounded in Sarasota on his way to capture Albany.  It seemed timely.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea. I am already looking forward to what you'll do with it.