Actually, I did trip a few weeks ago and wound up jamming a couple of toes into the shopping cart at Fry's. I think I broke two toes because they still hurt. It's another reason I don't really like wearing flipflops.
But I digress...
Earlier this year, a lot of quilters were making Scrappy Trips Around the World quilts. I was tempted... really, really tempted. But, alas, I had other things going on in my life so it went on the "eventually" list.
Welcome to Eventually!
I finished my blocks a few weeks ago... then well, you know the drill. I had other things to do.
The appeal of these quilts is easy - they're wonderful. Each one is completely different, unique and... wonderful. Even though I had made quilts like this before, I hadn't used this method to make this block or quilt, or to make this block or quilt quite this scrappy. I liked that part of it because... well, it isn't like I don't have enough scraps to make 237 of these quilts. I also really liked Trip Around the World quilts, in fact, back when I was first starting to make quilts, I had made a couple of them, including a scrappy-ish Many Trips Around the World. Rotary cutters were the new thing so this sort of design was very popular.
So what changed? How did I go from "eventually" to "now"? Two things happened..
First, while I'd seen lots of beautiful, amazing, spectacular quilts on blogs and Flickr, one day I saw "the one" that made me think "I need that quilt." In my case, it was the "two". Those two.
The first one is by that Thimbleblossoms girl - Camille. It's wonderful - I think it's all that Bonnie & Camille fabric.
Picture shamelessly swiped borrowed from Simplify.
The second quilt was by Lissa Alexander - ModaLissa. It arrived on my doorstep in early February on the cover of my favorite magazine, American Patchwork & Quilting to celebrate their 20th Anniversary issue. It's gorgeous, colorful, and I loved it.
Used without permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2013 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
While I was lusting after these two quilts, another very important thing happened. I realized that I needed / wanted / craved some diversionary sewing - something that wasn't for a pattern, a class, or anything other than the simple pleasure of just making something. (Isn't that why we sew?)
I decided to follow Bonnie Hunter's instructions - mostly... more on that in a moment - because I was familiar with the basic technique of making looped strips and separating the squares in different places to create the stair-step effect. It's a great way to make these blocks quickly and easily, and kudos to Bonnie for coming up with the idea to use the technique for this block. I don't know who invented it but I first used it more than 20 years ago while making a Grandmother's Dream quilt using Marilyn Doheny's pattern. I know others have used it for other blocks and quilts, including me.
I'm all ready to start, right? Not exactly. The first thing I had to decide was how to proceed with fabric. I had several Bonnie & Camille Layer Cakes that provided the perfect starting point but because I was using Layer Cakes, I decided to cut the strips at 2 1/4" wide instead of 2 1/2" so that I would use just half of the square. (And could save the other half for another project!) That meant my blocks would be 10 1/2" x 10 1/2" finished size. Thirty-six blocks would make a quilt measuring 63" x 63", a little smaller than I wanted. So I just made more blocks - 49 to be exact - and set my quilt in seven rows of seven blocks each. I worried that it would look lopsided but it didn't. Or rather, if it does, I don't care. The size is just about perfect - my quilt top measures 74" x 74".
The other change I made was to the pressing. Bonnie's method works just fine and we both wind up in the same place - seams abutting - but I did it the way that made sense to my convoluted thinking. After all, we all do what makes the most sense to us, right? I made regular ole' strip sets of 6 strips and pressed all the seams in one direction - away from the fabric that would be going across the middle of the block. (Up or down, it really doesn't matter so long as all the blocks are done the same way.) Instead of making a tube, I cut strips from my strip set and then joined five of the strips to make loops. I separated squares as required and then pressed the seams of strips 2 - 4 - 6 in the opposing direction.
After the six strips were joined, I clipped the long vertical seams at random places and pressed the seams so that the top half was going in one direction and the bottom half was going in the opposite direction.
For my blocks, the seams were going in a clockwise direction on the wrong side. So long as all the blocks are made the same way, the quilt goes together very easily. As in - with one or two exceptions for blocks I made in the reverse direction - I didn't have to pin anything to assemble the quilt top. (Look, Ma! No pins! Are you shocked?)
It took me only an hour or so to sew everything together. And just so you know, those squares that look almost black are navy-blue.
As much as I loved Lissa's quilt, I decided mix the values of the row across the middle of the block. In some blocks, that row is the darkest and in others, it's the lightest or the mediumiest. (Spellcheck is going to love that.)
Forty-nine blocks. Six fabrics in each block. No repeats. That means 294 different fabrics. (Obsessive? Moi? Like it was ever in doubt...)
Just so you know, I do have a plan for the other half of the Layer Cakes. I've already started cutting strips at 2" wide.
I promise pictures when it's quilted and bound... that reminds me, I need to order that.
Until the next time!