Monday, June 28, 2010

Busy week, new quilt

I have had a busy week after arriving back home with my daughter Genevieve and granddaughter Danica in tow. My husband and I took Danica floating on the Current River last week and had a fabulous time. Thank goodness for sunscreen! It was hot, but we didn’t get burned. Genevieve had another chemotherapy session and is doing well this time, thanks to the massive dose of steroids she is now getting with the chemo. She even felt well enough afterward to eat pasta and a sandwich from the Whole Foods deli and do a little “retail therapy” at the Galleria mall in St. Louis. I’ve cooked all week—whatever Genevieve feels like eating. And then there has been laundry and garden-watering, and even a little sewing!

I haven’t finished quilting Genevieve’s recovery quilt—that’s going to take a while. But I decided I had to have something new, easy, and fun to hand quilt during my next road trip, which starts tomorrow. My daughter Anne and I are headed to Colorado to help my sister put on her step-daughter’s wedding. I turned to the simplest of shapes—the square—for a fast project, and to my 1930’s reproduction stash for the fabrics. Working with these fabrics makes me happy—the prints are SO cheerful, and I’m frequently reminded of my grandmother’s quilts.

I began by choosing 24 fabrics, mostly fat quarters I hadn’t used yet, and arranging them in a sort of “color wash.” Each fabric has a bit of color in common with its neighbor so that when they are placed adjacent to each other, they begin to run together. See my fabric choices above. I eventually eliminated the two fabrics at the bottom right.

The template for Kaffe Fassett’s “Boston Common” quilt is a 3-inch square, but I wanted a much smaller project I can work on while traveling. I cut two 2-inch strips from each fat quarter and sewed them together, carefully keeping them in order to preserve the color-wash effect.

I created a new striped fabric and pressed the seams to one side, all in the same direction. I then cut 2-inch strips—squares by the strip! See the photo below.

The squares in “Boston Common” are arranged in a rectangular pattern, which I tried with my squares. But I wanted to keep my project small and quickly realized I would need a lot more fabric to accomplish the “Boston Common” look. So I arranged my squares in a stair-step pattern, with my favorite red fabric in the center and the black print slightly off-center. The black print is so strong that it immediately attracts the viewer’s eye, and I did not want it to divide my quilt down the middle. I decided on a size of 20 by 20 squares, which are 1½ inches finished, to give me a center medallion of 30 by 30 inches. This size, with borders, will be large enough for a table topper, but small enough to quilt while traveling.

In the photo above, you see the process of arranging the strips of squares in a pleasing stair-step pattern. Tomorrow: the finished top.

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