Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Caving in and Starting Something New

Aah! I am back quilting in my sewing room again after what seemed like a long absence. I have two sandwiched quilts of my own to FMQ and one I promised to do for a community outreach project, but I wanted to start something new. So I did. A while back I'd bought a kit from the Fat Quarter Shop to make a quilt out of Lotta Jansdotter's fabric line from Windham Fabrics called the Bella Collection. Here are the fabrics that came in that kit.

At the time, I thought I wanted to make the quilt in a blue palette rather than an orange one, and so I bought fabrics to substitute out in the kit. Here is the blue colorway. I probably bought the kit on sale in a weak moment. Any money I may have saved on the "sale" kit was re-invested into the blue fabrics. I do not know what I was thinking about with that weird mustardy gold dot. Maybe I just intended it for another project in the future. It is quite a unique color so I am sure I will find someplace that it absolutely has to go to complete the look but certainly not in this quilt.

The pattern came in the kit from the Fat Quarter Shop. I was not aware of it at the time, but a pdf of the pattern itself is a free download from Windham Fabrics. It is titled Bella's Bird and the kit colorway was dubbed poppy.

The construction of this top is very straight forward, just uneven log cabin type blocks with all straight seaming and rectangular pieces. What lends interest to this top is the directionality in which the fabrics, particularly the quasi-stripes, are cut. Looking back at the fabrics from the kit, four of the nine behave as stripes. Two of the fabrics, the branches and the itty-bitty birdies, are directional. Although I cut everything with a rotary cutter and ruler without any templates, I found it useful to make myself to-scale pieces of paper to track what I was cutting. I was careful to put the direction of writing on the pieces in the direction each will go into the quilt.

Then, as I cut out the pieces, I stacked them under the associated size "template".

I decided to go with the orange colorway after all, instead of the blue. The blue leaned a bit toward teal and I am a bit more of a true-blue rather than turquoise-esque kinda gal in my decor. Besides, orange was on my brain from Halloween and we'd just bought this piece of wall art. I think the grey tones and bold orange accent will coordinate with the quilt. Maybe birds do not make you think of streetcars but they are related. Think of city streets. Think of downtown San Francisco or New York. Think of pigeons. Stop thinking about what pigeons leave behind! Do not go there - it will sully my vision.

This itty-bitty birdie fabric, called Tipu, is printed on the diagonal so I am pausing in writing this post and scratching my head a bit to get the orientation correct. Note this fabric is three years old; printed in the selvage is © 2012. I rationalized that it was OK to start a new project because one of my 2015 quilting resolutions was to complete kits I have in my stash.

I wanted to see how those bold grey dots and orange leaves (on the left) looked worked up as block centers so I put off fussy cutting the little birdies and elegant tree branch fabrics (on the right). Prints on the diagonal always have me exercising a few more brain cells to get the orientation just as I want it. I will cut those when I am fresher.

The bold grey dots and orange leaves, really drifted as they were printed. Across the width of the fabric, the double row of orange leaves meandered down to the level of the double row of grey dots. I had to cut each center block individually if I wanted fairly consistent centers.

My "templates" and already cut centers came in handy in deciding where to place rectangle to cut out. In order to get eight centers, I wound up cutting four strips parallel to the selvage.

Then I could shift my template up or down along that strip to quasi-center a row of orange leaves for either a vertical rectangle or a horizontal rectangle. It is a good thing that the Fat Quarter Shop is generous in putting together their kit fabrics. I had a bit more than the pattern called for, and so I could be flexible.

I usually do all my cutting out at once, and then sew assembly-line style. When I don't, I am often annoyed with myself that I have to stop the momentum of sewing to cut out more. This self- knowledge does little to change my actions, though. I guess I have no self-discipline whatsoever. Sigh. I will be a bit put out when I go to continue sewing tomorrow or the next day and have to cut out first. Here are four blocks I have sewn up because I was too impatient to complete my cutting out. The orange leaves still have a free-form wandering feel but they are pretty much centered in the block. The other four blocks will have two other framing fabrics.

My lack of self-discipline also extends to completing some home decor items hovering on my to do list. Double sigh. So I am blogging instead, and linking up to this week's WIP at Freshly Pieced. I often like to quote Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind, "I'll think about it tomorrow." Today I had fun playing hooky and working on what I wanted to.


  1. Those fabrics are perfect for that pattern. It will be great! And I'm not just saying that because I have a thing for orange!

    1. I do think this pattern would work well with most combinations of stripes and large scale prints. Orange is a new adventure for me - at least using it as more than just an accent. My color tastes do change with time. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  2. It sounds like you're planning on redecorating a room in blues and oranges and greys - which one?

    1. Family room perhaps? But quilts and artwork are quite portable so who knows?