♬ Brown paper packages, tied up in string... These are a few of my favorite things. ♫
I just love that song lyric from the Sound of Music!
(As an aside, my writeup about my visit to the shop is in my post for November 20, 2011. The visit occurred not too long after both my daughter and son had gotten married in 2011. Actually it was kind of a recovery-after-the-weddings trip. It was a chuckle to re-read my daughter's and daughter-in-law's comments about having kids in that post. Now one has a 27-month-old daughter and the other, a 9-month-old daughter.)
The shop had a display sample of a quilt where the blocks were wonky cut packages with bows. The quilt had been made up in reds, aquas, and light greens using Sandy Gervais' pattern #229 SHOPPING'S DONE! GIFTS WRAPPED! from her Pieces from my Heart collection. The pattern illustration presents darker tones of red, blue, and green but the fresh, light color palette of the store sample stole my heart. I bought the kit to make a similar quilt of my own.
The quilt requires thirty fat quarters. Here are the fat quarters that came in the shop-prepared kit that I bought. The technique is a stack and slice one where you make three stacks - one of ten reds, one of ten aquas, and one of ten greens - and slice along the pattern lines. Then you trade pieces among the stacks to form the gifts and the scrappy backgrounds.
There were just a few fat quarters from the kit that I did not like for this quilt. A hexagon-tiled green looked too much like lizard skin. A solid aqua read too much like a gray; but since there is a solid red and a solid green counterpart to it, I may leave it in for balance. A mottled batik-looking aqua looked cobwebby, seemed odd-man-out to my eye, and just did not appeal.
I have some fat quarter and half-yard pieces in my stash that I might sub in for the one green I did not like and for one or two of the less-favored aquas. I happened to have this green village fat quarter with aqua and red houses. For sure I will use it, not only because it includes all three colors, but also because cute Santa village houses trump lizards any day in my book. I also like those bright white kit tails better than mottled cob webs. Whether I keep in the subtle aqua solid or replace it with fluffy dandelion heads or bold polka dots is yet to be determined. I am thinking those dots, though small, may be too mighty and not grayed enough to fit in...
I read the pattern several times. Then I laid out the fabrics and studied them next to each other. I do find being random difficult. I was willing to let loose with the backgrounds, but I did not want to leave the gift part of the block totally up to chance since it is dominant in the pattern design. If I could manage it, I wanted to be sure that the fabric pairing for the paper and bow of a gift had good contrast, both in print and color saturation. Hopefully, if I understood the trading sequence of the cut pieces from the instructions, I could order the fabrics in each color stack such that I could control those paper and bow fabric pairings. I've laid out ten columns representing, from left to right, the fabric order in each color stack. Each column lets me preview which fabrics will fall side-by side in the gift. Red packages will have green bows, green packages will have aqua bows, and aqua packages will have red bows. Since each column represents a fabric combination for a gift, I tried to combine three fabrics that I felt would rotate well amongst themselves.
I am pretty convinced on the fabric combos for the first six columns from left to right. I like all the reds just as they are! Two of the dotted reds, in the second and tenth columns, have yellow and pink dots that are very subtle. The only print that was obviously multi-colored was the green one with ornaments in the last column. I wanted to incorporate at least one other strongly multi-colored print so that green ornament one did not look like a mistake. The green villages and aqua kite tails could do the trick. The seventh, eighth, and ninth columns from the left, which have four fabrics each, are yet unconfirmed. Whatever I decide, I will stick with it throughout the assembly. Once I slice and dice it would be too confusing to substitute in any alternate fabric choice. The pattern shapes as very wonky as shown in this closeup of four blocks.
I think I spent a over four hours meditatively playing with the yardages and reading the pattern. This does not count the time I invested recording my thoughts and decision process in this post. Noting the details and colors in each of the prints is mesmerizing and it is intriguing how they can interact with each other. I like this part of quilting. I can get lost in the zone. My next step is to methodically iron each fat quarter wrinkle free, stack and lovingly smooth them into three piles in the correct sequence, and prepare my freezer paper pattern template. I will put a fresh blade in my rotary cutter and, first thing when I am fresh and rested, I will slice away! For now, am linking up to this week's Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday.
So... back to what are my favorite things?
♬ ♫ ♩
Quilt shops and colors, quilts and granddaughters,
Wrapped gifts and patterns, fabric and blogging,
Time to indulge and to play with these things...
♬ ... These are my gifts of 2015. ♫