This charm quilt may be quick to make, but my getting around to it most certainly was not. When I reviewed the Charm Pack Cherry video this week I noticed it was from slightly over three years ago. It and the free pdf of the associated pattern are still available. The pattern calls for an assembly line joining of squares, checker boarding between solid and random print. Nine-patch blocks are then sliced in half and rearranged. Random is very difficult for me but I thought I could handle this one. The pattern called for 72 solid and 72 print squares and each charm pack contained 42. This meant I would need remove six from each pack. Could I just pull out six at random from each print pack? No, of course not.
I laid out the pack contents in the order it had come in order to choose which six to remove. There are three columns of twelve and a rightmost column of six. I could have easily dropped that final yellow column but I wanted to keep in all the colorways.
On a lark, I decided to check if the second pack was identical. I guessed it would be the same as the first since they were both factory assembled. That was an incorrect assumption. It took me a while but I ferreted out what was different. It seems instead of an extra taupe square I had a yellow square with a cute clothesline print that was not in the first pack. I certainly did not want to eliminate that little gem.
Instead I removed a bright yellow square. I loved the color but the grid was not as interesting as that clothes line print.
My quick random quilt is becoming less quick and less random. I cannot deny my true nature. Let's see if I can "let it go" during the assembly process. I allowed myself one concession. These are the large scale prints in the pack. I would not try to control their orientation within the block. But I would see that they fell only on corners so that they would not get sliced in half per a later step in the pattern instructions. There were only four of these squares so that is not too much interference with the random process, now is it?
To make a nine-patch block of prints and solid you make print-white-print rows and white-print-white rows.
As it turns out, it was quite simple to guard against slicing those large scale prints in half in a later step. In my subsection rows of three I made sure they were never in the middle. The castle and pirate ships were preserved, intact in one of the outer squares of the print-white-print rows. None would be in the white-print-white rows to be at risk.
I could proceed with chain piecing my white-print-white rows of three, ignoring what print square happened to surface next. I am two thirds there in the next photo, adding the second white square.
I sewed merrily along until I went to join the print-white-print rows on either side of the white-print-white row.
I discovered there was a fifth large scale square, a second castle that I had missed. It was going to fall very close to an identical square in the same block. I interchanged that row with another print-white-print row so that did not happen. Yes, I interfered with randomness, but in my defense it was a minor readjustment.
Then when I was ironing my completed nine-patch blocks with corner prints I noticed that one had two of the same aqua grid adjacent diagonally to each other. I considered switching that row with the top row from another nine-patch block. Yes I would need to rip out the stitching along a 3-square row seam but that was not too bad.
Then I got the idea to go back and see what squares I had rejected. Lo and behold there was that bright yellow I had given up. I swapped it for the upper left blue one and voila I am a happy camper, once again. It even picks up the color of those little birdies in the lower right.
After sewing my nine-patches into two sets of eight blocks each, the next instructions were to cut them in half into sixteen half-blocks. Eek! That was a bit scary but I did it and here are the two piles of half-blocks.
I placed them in position on my design wall according to the pattern specified sequence and orientation, but otherwise randomly. I even allowed some upside down ships and castles. I traded the positions of only two blocks where adjacent identical prints glared out at me. I am pleased with the simplicity and straight forward, well-explained directions for this quilt. I got this much completed in one day, even with my non-random interventions. I have begun joining the blocks now, but stopped for the day to reflect and blog. Sometimes I find it easier to get back into my sewing room the following day when there is something simple and straightforward to pick up and continue.
After finishing the joining, my next step is to find a backing and binding and decide on an FMQ pattern. My husband came in and looked at the blocks arranged on my design wall. "Very pastel-ly " he said. He then innocently added, "Not like what you usually do." Then he left leaving me alone with my thoughts. He did say he liked it but his casual comment sparked some soul searching on my part. He is right. I do not usually use solids. I rarely use pure white. I like brights. Is that all he meant? Probably. But I took it a step farther.
Of late I have been trying to stretch myself. I tried a bit of Kaffe Fassett fabrics in my post for April 20, 2017. I worked on Y-seam and hexagons in my post for Jan 11, 2017. I completed four quilts in 2016 pictured in my 2016 in review post - and none them seem to be what I "usually do". I no longer know what it is that I "usually do". It is a bit disconcerting that I may have lost my quilting identity. I often say that it is the "process" not the "product" of quilting that is the important part of my hobby. So maybe having a signature look is not that important. Madonna is often noted to be continually remaking herself. But I am no Madonna. Should I have an identity? Or is this thinking too deeply? Maybe I should just have fun. I will zot over to Let's Bee Social #179 and do just that for now at least! Like Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind, perhaps I will just think about it tomorrow.