New Donation Blocks

White Donation Blocks
White Donation Blocks

It seems to be taking me forever to get this quilt top finished. It isn’t done yet, but I am making slow progress. My progress is slow because I am using other bits and pieces for leaders and enders.

I need approximately 9 more blocks to make a quilt top the size I usually make them. I’ll get there.

More Donation Blocks in White-ish

White donation blocks are probably not the best idea. I am thinking dirt. Still, I have a lot of white scraps and something has to be done with them. The first two are from a chunk that was large so they look very similar, if not the same.

These, once in a quilt, will fit with the others in the series.

Retreat Donation Blocks

Retreat Donation Blocks
Retreat Donation Blocks

I needed something for leaders and enders at the Retreat. While there, I made donation blocks for the Community Giving Project at BAM.

I didn’t have it in me to gather up and bring the pieces I needed for my new strips donation blocks, so I grabbed my bin of 2.5 inch squares and used those. Peggy always appreciates more blocks and I have been wanting to make more for her. Since I have been focusing on my strip quilts and improv quilts for the community giving project I haven’t made as many of the postage stamp donation blocks.

I had a slow start, but eventually ended up with 6. I made these while I worked on the Running with Scissors tote.

New Donation Blocks

I am not quite finished with the Orange Improv Donation Top, but I had to start on new blocks for leaders and enders reasons.

I won’t have enough strips in these colors to make the number of blocks I need for a quilt top, but it is a start. I will either make chunks like I did for the Red Chunk Donation top or put the blocks aside until I get more of the right color scraps. I could also combine these blocks with the greys, but that might muddy the brightness of the quilt.

A Couple of Donation Blocks

Zipper Pouch Day Donation Block
Zipper Pouch Day Donation Block

I took some packs of leaders and enders at Sew Day. I wanted to make a couple of blocks in between sewing the zipper pouches. I used the packs that Peggy always has available.

This is the first time I have made the postage stamp blocks in awhile and it was kind of fun, though my fabric placement was a bit off.

Donation block from Sew Day
Donation block from Sew Day

Orange Strip Donation Top

I worked on Flying Around over the weekend, as mentioned. In addition,  I made the orange strip donation blocks as leaders and enders.

4 Orange Strip Donation blocks
4 Orange Strip Donation blocks

These are harder to make. Not in terms of technical skills, but in terms of fabric. I don’t have as many orange scraps as I have other scraps. I went through the unsorted scrap pile on my cutting table and came up with a few strips and chunks that will help with the effort. I may have to abandon the strip idea and go straight to more of a chunk/improv look.

As I make these blocks, I am amazed at how much I love the fabrics in my orange scrap bin. As I said, I don’t have a lot of orange scraps, but most of those I do have speak to me. perhaps I chose well when buying orange fabrics?

Thinking about Blocks

I love blocks. I have always loved quilt blocks. I love how they can be broken down into component parts and combined with different blocks built of the same component parts to form a whole new look. I love they way they can be combined. I love how you can make the same block from different fabrics and have a completely different look. It seems, though, blocks are not popular now, being deemed old fashioned by the Modern Quilt Guild.

I am in a closed Facebook Group that is talking, in a sort of roundabout way, about blocks. The overall theme is the 1930s, so naturally the block patterns in newspapers came up. I have been interested in block designs since I started quiltmaking. One of the first books I bought was The Quilter’s Album of Blocks and Borders, the precursor to the more complete Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns. Both are written/compiled by Jinny Beyer.

I don’t know the history of blocks, in general, though I have read enough about them. The most famous publisher, probably,  was the Kansas City Star, because they published quilt patterns in their newspaper. The patterns were syndicated across the country. Quilter By Design says that these patterns were published from 1928-1961, first weekly then monthly. I have not checked the veracity of these date. I am fortunate enough to have set of the newspaper clippings reproduced and spiralbound. In this set is a wealth of inspiration. There are amazing blocks and quilts that spurred on the quilt imagination of a generation of quiltmakers.

I have heard that many of the blocks were not designed by quiltmakers, but by journalists and were never made. The Snowball Wreath is one of those blocks and Barbara Brackman does a great job describing it and showing photos on her blog. Apparently few of this particular block pattern were made into quilts. I salute those ladies! I did a search and saw some that had been made recently. I did a project a few years ago to try and make a block. I made it a little differently than the pattern implies, but didn’t want to make myself crazy.

The oldest block design Jinny Beyer found in her research was from the January 1835 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a hexagon design. Ladies Art Company published quilt and other needlework designs starting in 1889. Beyer reminds us that many block designs in a publication such as Ladies Art Company were republished later by other companies.

One thing modern quilters have done is revived old blocks using new methods. Paper piecing is a great way to get good results without too many tears. Rotary cutting templates make the cutting of strange shapes easy. Jen Kingwell revived the Circle Within a Circle (Ladies Art Company, 1897. It was also published as Bird’s Eye View by Clara Stone in Practical Needlework, 1906**) block, calling it Steampunk. You can see a version of the current incarnation on the Diary of a Quilter page. My only objection to this revival is the lack of citing sources. I can’t complain much since Clara Stone didn’t cite her Ladies Art Company source.

I would love to make at least one of the all the Kansas City Star blocks. I would also like to make one of all the blocks in Jinny Beyer’s Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns. I don’t think I have enough time left in my life. I also am refusing to let myself think of that as a real, possible project. Perhaps a project for me and 100 of my friends?

One of the things I have is knowledge about blocks. I was taught to make quilts using blocks and in the teaching I learned about grids. Now, for the most part, I can break a quilt down into pieces and have a good idea of how to make the quilt. Sometimes having a pattern is easier, but not having to spend $12 on a pattern I will make once is something to think about. Of course, I support the designers when I think I will make a quilt. Remember Metroscape?

Anyway, I love blocks. What about you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

** This information came from The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer, ©2009

Red Strip Donation Blocks

Yes! It’s all about red lately!

Red Strip Donation Blocks
Red Strip Donation Blocks

I finally finished all of the blocks for the second Red Strip Donation Top. As mentioned before, not all of these scraps were strips, like in the Green Strip Donation Top. There are a lot of chunks. Perhaps I should call it the Red Chunk Donation top? That would differentiate it from the first one.

One of the things I like about working on a design wall is that I see different things after I put the blocks (or pieces) up. In this case, I saw that the quilt looked pretty good with thin white strips in between the blocks. I may cut strips and try that as a layout. I’d use cornerstones as well. More scraps to use up.

The quilt won’t end up as large as the Green Strip, the Purple Strip or the first Red Strip Donation quilts, but it will still be big enough for something. The layout will be a little different than the first red version.

Heading to the Finish Line

24 Red Strip donation blocks for second red quilt
24 Red Strip donation blocks for second red quilt

I am heading to the finish line making blocks for the second Red Strip Donation Quilt, but it is painful. The other day I had 7 left to make and I still have 1 left to finish. It is almost done. Maddeningly, it needs a very small strip on the top or bottom to make it the right size. ERGH!

I thought I would be able to finish by the meeting, but I doubt it now. Fortunately, there is no deadline except in my head.

Red Strip Donation Blocks

The Purple Improv donation top wasn’t even off the design wall before I started in on red scrap strip blocks, the next color in this unexpected series.

I have 15 more blocks to make, but they go fast and I have 3 in process at the moment.

There is something very satisfying about sitting at my sewing machine, grabbing strips and shards from a drawer right next to the machine and ending up with a quilt top. When I started the Green Thing, it was kind of a lark, an experiment to try the blocks that were inspired by Alison. Now this seems to be a whole project. It’s unexpected, but oddly satisfying.

New Donation Blocks

Purple strip blocks
Purple strip blocks

I worked the other night while DH was out on clearing out my purple scrap bin. This resulted in a new set of blocks for BAM’s community quilting project.

There are a couple of duplicates as I had some long strips that resulted in two blocks.

There are also a lot of light scraps – lavender and very light purple. I was surprised at the variation in color. I don’t think I am a strictly dark purple lover.

I also made 6 more blocks than I did for the Green Strip quilt. I was on a roll and had the blocks in process before I realized how far along I was. It will be a slightly larger quilt. I haven’t decided what color to put with it for the plain blocks (I am using the same design as the Green Strip quilt). Chartreuse is across from purple on the color wheel I use.

I don’t feel like I used up enough of the purple scraps. The bin is definitely more empty, but still not empty enough. I even sorted out some super small pieces that would be much better as pet bed filling. Still I need to make more headway on purple scraps. Another similar quilt? Should I make this one larger?

February 2019 Donation Blocks

It is a little early to post a complete list of donation blocks for February. I am dong it anyway. I have been doing quilt a bit of gift sewing, which I can’t show for a few weeks, so here we are.

It was easier while I was working on my secret project to make donation blocks rather than work on the back of the City Sampler, thus I used the 2.5 inch squares as my leaders and enders. I’ll finish up the city Sampler back today.

Not a ton, but some progress. I have more ends to use up, so I may work on that next.

More New Donation Blocks

A few days ago, I wrote about some new strip donation blocks I was working on. I have made a few more as I have worked on other projects. I think they are looking good.

Mrs. K was interested and pointed out some challenges with my previous post. I know she didn’t do it intentionally, but I was glad to be reminded that I am not one of those people who hides information so I can sell a kit.

Strip donation blocks
Strip donation blocks

Each block is 4.5″ x 8.5″ unfinished. I sew them  with whatever strips I have, trying to keep the bias straight since I am not using  a foundation. Once I have a large enough piece, I trim it with my Creative Grids 4.5 x 8.5″ ruler. This is a ruler I use all the time. I keep it on my cutting table for quick cuts, because it fits my hand really well, but is also useful for cutting 2.5″ squares and other sizes I am Hunting and Gathering.

My plan is to alternate them with plain blocks. I will make enough for 5 rows of five blocks, which I think is a total of 20 blocks. I’ll have to actually draw a picture to be sure.

This is an exercise in scrap clearance and workings towards my goal of using 100 yards of fabric (net).

 

Bonnie Hunter has a pattern using the same technique, but with foundations and set a different way. Having a real plan might be better for some of you than my random way of working.

New Year New Donation Blocks

Strip blocks
Strip blocks

I am not sure what exactly made me think of it, but part of it was contemplating my scrap pile. After cutting a bunch of squares with the Accuquilt, I still had a lot of strips. Also, as I have said, a block Alison showed me  and our discussion inspired me. Instead of making the regular 16 patches, I have been making these strip blocks. I want to use up scraps and I have a lot of strips left.

I decided to start with my green scrap drawer. It is closest to my sewing machine.

So far I have three blocks done. I’d like to make the blocks for the entire quilt green, but I don’t know if I will have enough strips/scraps to do that. I’ll see and will be flexible.

Spiky 16 Patch n.3

Spiky 16 Patch n.3 for quilt n.3
Spiky 16 Patch n.3 for quilt n.3

I finished another Spiky 16 patch over the weekend, so my collection is growing. I need to start thinking about how I will set these blocks. I could do another quilt like either n.1 or n.2. I am trying to think of something different. Something different might be a small addition like Mrs. K added to her corners.

On point settings are kind of a hassle, but so effective. I have two more blocks to make before I have to decide.

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