Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Changing and Rearranging

There is a tune running through my head. It contains a line from the classic 1966 song Georgy Girl by the Seekers:
Don't be so scared of changing and rearranging yourself
It's time for jumping down from the shelf, a little bit

That is what I have been trying to do with this quilt. When I last left off in my previous post I was attempting to arrange the triads on my design wall into a cohesive and eye-pleasing setting. There were a multitude of options and I finally printed out all my hexagon alternatives, taped them together into one big sheet, and then posted that up to remind me how different orientations would look as hexagons. Each trio of options was annotated as to which had no red, no blue, no green, etc. and those which would contribute light on the outer edges and then sorted accordingly. I know this seems anal, but it really helped. My arms were aching from "changing and rearranging" the different possibilities on my design wall.

When I was satisfied with the straw man composition I had for my color blocks I asked my husband to come in and look at them and see if any one block jumped out at him. He immediately said "Too much grey". That was not the point here but, to his credit, in my previous post I had been waffling between consolidating white and grey blocks or scattering them. His unsolicited comment on the neutrals however did convince me that putting greys at the bottom and white at the top was not the way to go. I redistributed the greys and whites back to their balanced, scattered positions and left the colored blocks undisturbed from their trial positions. Apparently none of them stood out like a sore thumb. A bold grey and white plaid pinwheel near the bottom right may resemble the black sheep in the family, but I left him there intentionally to assert that neutrals can be fun, too! Those greys are from Moda's line Putting on the Ritz and I view him as the easy-going lumberjack amidst stodgy royalty. I let the entire composition marinate on the wall for a few days and then took a photo of my decided arrangement. I kept a printout of my "Rosetta Stone" sheet by my side at the sewing machine and referred to it constantly as I assembled those blocks.

This following photo is of the assembly process - nearest completion on the far left and least assembled on the far right. First I inserted those lone triads among the hexagons (open triangle at the far right in the photo). I initially found it difficult to align the two pieces that made up that angled seam so that the vertical edges would wind up even. I eventually got the hang of where to overhang the seam allowances and how to offset the triad so the column edges did not wobble in and out. In the center are two of those columns assembled and ready to be joined in a long vertical seam. See how straight those two outer vertical edges are? I think when I first started out, I unsewed every other one until I got the knack of it. On the far left are two columns joined so those half hexagons eventually become whole.

Per the American Jane pattern Flying Circles, while still in manageable column size, the neutral hexagons are intended to get small neutral- toned button-size circles appliquéd between the blades of the pinwheels and a colored dot in the center. My points met nicely in the center so I am hesitant to cover that up. Some of the colored star hexagons get appliquéd rings on them, like a bull's eye target. I think my prints are so busy that doing this could add too much distraction. These are issues I need to decide while I am assembling the columns and before I join them. Appliquéing is not my strength but I wanted to stretch myself with this quilt and certainly some stitched on embellishments would add a bit of flair and whimsy. I think those rings and round dots may have been part of the reason for naming the pattern Flying Circles.

Although I like to name my quilts fairly early on so I can refer to them, I need to see them nearly completed to decide what name fits. This conundrum creates a naming dilemma that I am now ready to resolve. I have been working pretty exclusively in January and February on this colorful, cacophonous quilt. The quilt's name has emerged and it is Whirligiggles. Per the Wikipedia entry on a whirligig it is defined as "an object that spins or whirls, or has at least one part that spins or whirls". The grey and white neutral pinwheels make me think of a whirligig so the term is appropriate. But why the giggles? The brightly colored stripes, checks, swirls, polka dots, and squiggles fabrics that I chose for the star hexagons are frivolous enough they make me giggle. Hence Whirligiggles.

This pattern does not lend itself to high speed chain piecing. I am taking my time and can really only do one column in a day without getting sloppy. It is time now for me to take a break and check out Let's Bee Social #165 before returning to my column of the day.


  1. Wow! I am just now seeing the secondary "star" pattern; this quilt is comig together nicely! I agree that covering up those fabulous points seems like a sin, maybe you can just applique some whirlygig artwork on the backing, or figure that getting all those points to line up is stretching yourself enough!

    1. The problem is I cut out some circles and plopped them on the center of the pinwheel on the design wall and they really do look cute and enhance the pinwheels. I would not do any on the stars though. For some reason however the star centers are not quite as precise as the grey/white pinwheel centers. That is why I am stalled on this quilt - Decisions. Decisions. Kits eliminate all that. Until I deviate from the kit that is...