A-B-C Challenge

A-B-C Challenge Blocks, August 2012
A-B-C Challenge Blocks, August 2012

You might be wondering why I am writing about my A-B-C Challenge blocks when the BAMQG meeting was definitely not yesterday.

First, I am sewing pretty slowly lately and I am short on things to write about. Yes, you will see some more book reviews. 😉

More importantly, Rhonda finished all of her blocks. Yes, all of them, through Z. She sent a message to us saying she was done and I thought that I had better get busy. I had been thinking about finishing them all anyway. Finishing all of the blocks will buy me time later. Who knows how long figuring out the &^%$ sashing will take?

Yes, all of my blocks are done.

Yes, there are more than 26, because I made some bonus blocks. What the heck?

A-B-C Challenge: X Quartet
A-B-C Challenge: X Quartet

The first block I sewed over the weekend was the Ninja Throwing Star, according to Sandy of Quilting for the Rest of Us, Darla of Scientific Quilter, and Gretchen (@mafiretones) of 120 Blocks. It is actually my X block and the official name, according to Around the Block is X Quartet. It does look like a Ninja Throwing Star and once I caught up with their Twitter hijinks, I thought their jokes about wrapping myself in black Jelly Rolls and wandering around throwing the X Quartet were pretty funny.

X Quartet was a pretty straightforward block to put together and I like the way the color combination came out. And, I have to admit, it does kind of look like a Ninja Throwing Star.

A-B-C Challenge: Japanese X
A-B-C Challenge: Japanese X

I really wanted to make the Japanese X block that Kathleen combined to make into a pillow for the Pillow Swap challenge at BAMQG for X. I was nervous that the other participants would call me out since the block doesn’t technically start with X, so I decided to make it as a bonus block. I really like the design and want to explore it a little more in the future.

I have been trying to use more of the Zoe Pearns dots to create some continuity in the blocks. I don’t know if it is working, but the blocks, in general, are looking quite cheerful.

Zipper by Judy Martin
Zipper by Judy Martin

I skipped Y at first and went straight to Z. Y and Z are difficult blocks, mostly because not a lot blocks have names that start with Y or Z. I didn’t see any that I liked that started with Z. I thought about Zanzibar, the block from Weeks Ringle and Bill  Kerr that I resized and used for the FOTY 2009 quilt.

Been there done that, so I looked around to see if there were any other options. I found a printout from the Judy Martin site of a quilt made from a block called Zipper. It has a little different look than the other blocks I have made, namely because of the lack of HSTs, but I made it anyway. I like the way it came out.

Then I got to Y.

Y was a problem.

The first problem was finding a block I wanted to do. The next problem was making it. There are a lot of Yankee something or other quilt blocks. None of them really spoke to me. I had books opened to sections on Y blocks all over my workroom. Finally, I decided on Young Man’s Fancy. It has a nice propeller look in the center and I am not scared by long, thin, pointy triangles.

Young Man's Fancy: Fail
Young Man’s Fancy: Fail

I should have been, because I had no idea what I was doing with this block. No matter what I did, this block would not go together. Remember: I am making 6″ blocks, so I am sure the size had something to do with my problems.

Finally, I gave up.

The thing I did like about this block is the outside row of squares. The colors are grouped so that two pinks are in two corners and two greens are in the two other corners. I like the way that looks and will keep it in mind for future blocks. The suggested coloration had the border squares of this block colored in that way.

Yankee Puzzle
Yankee Puzzle

So, I was back to the Yankees. I just picked one, which turned out to be Yankee Puzzle, made it and moved on.

I have to say that my favorite color combination in all of the blocks is the color combination in Yankee Puzzle. That fun pink (may be called Lipstick) coupled with the dark, but cheerful greenish blue are awesome. You can see, from the photo at the top, that I have used this color combination a lot.

After Yankee Puzzle I had one open spot left in a 5 block x 6 block layout. As an aside, I am not sure why I picked that layout. I put all the blocks up on the design wall and I thought it looked good, so I went with that layout.

A-B-C Challenge: Rambler
A-B-C Challenge: Rambler

The last block I decided to do was the Rambler. The X of Flying Geese stuck in my mind as I looked through block dictionaries. I also liked the way the Flying Geese were sort of backwards.

The layout of the patches reminds me of something (a gift?), but I can’t think what. I especially like the way the first Flying Goose highlights the square-in-a-square in the middle.

This block has a lot of scope for imagination, as Anne Shirley would say, I think. I may make more of the for another project, but larger next time.

I have a vague recollection of a car called Rambler, but I don’t think my parents ever owned one.

A-B-C Challenge: Frosted Star Sashed
A-B-C Challenge: Frosted Star Sashed

I thought I would get a lot farther, but the Young Man’s Fancy and the Rambler took me a long time. I wanted to make some progress on the sashing, but only was able to sash one block.

The grey looks dark in the photos, but it doesn’t look dark in real life. It looks perfect. I am considering buying a whole bolt of that fabric.

You might think the sashing is wide, but I purposefully made it wider than the ratio calls for so I could trim all the blocks to the same size. Most are about 6 1/4″, but there are a couple that are nearing 7″. I think it has to do with me trying to figure out the math for quick piecing HSTs. I am thinking I will trim them all to 8″ and then put one of the red dots from the sashing post in between the grey of the sashed blocks.

I like all the blocks, but some of the fabric choices could be better. There are a couple of blocks that I may remake. I’ll think about it and see.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

10 thoughts on “A-B-C Challenge”

  1. Congrats on finishing your blocks!! I *really* like that grey/gray sashing fabric.

    Do you have any interest in atypical quilt sizes? I’ve been playing with ‘bed runner’ size designs lately. Seems like your A-Z blocks could be well served in that setting….

    1. Hhhmmm. Not so much. I like to make my quilts – especially the wall hangings – the size of the space I have in my hallway, so I can hang them up.

  2. That Young Man’s Fancy is pretty dang scary, too. I’m thinking I’m going to be avoiding your general neighborhood until you get some anger management therapy. You can try to hide it with cute pinks and happy blues, but still n’ all…

    (I do like the blocks, and the gray sashing is perfect!)

  3. The Young mans fancy also looks sharp. I agree w/ gretchen that the same with yankee puzzle. I am slightly disappointed not to see you all dressed up in your ninja garb, but then again, if you really were a ninja then you’d probably have to kill all of us who saw you in the garb. Did you notice that Sandy was called a pirate? You guys could be the quilters version of pirates versus ninjas. 😉

    I like the brightness of your blocks here. Very un-ninja-like actually. Are you going to be able to sleep under all that brightness? Funny where some of the blocks get their names from too. Anyway, great job in getting all that done!

    1. I did not notice that Sandy was called a pirate. Do tell!

      Halloween is coming, so you never know, but really, if you saw me dressed for my real job, I might have to take you out. Rules, you know.

  4. Great job finishing your blocks. Let’s just restate, though, that I finished mine *first*. Also, it appears that you *cheated* by making more than 26 blocks. MY quilt is going to be [square root of 26] x [square root of 26] because that’s how the math turns out for this challenge.
    I don’t recall how we got on this topic, but my parents owned an American Motors Rambler sedan and it was the car that I learned to drive on. In fact, they owned an American Motors Rambler station wagon before that (which I never drove). I’m pretty sure this is unrelated to quilting. 🙂

    1. Just so you ALL know: RHONDA WAS FIRST. RHONDA GOT HER BLOCKS DONE FIRST! Any questions?

      Cheated? My blocks are each 6″. I had to make more so that my piece would be larger than a place mat. Good luck with your square root thingy. I look forward to seeing that 1.4142135 block. 😉

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