I'd shown you a little sneak peek at the quilt that's currently on my design wall but didn't give you much information . . . well here's everything you ever wanted to know about this quilt, and more!
First off, the fabric: While the picture makes it look like the fabric is shot cotton (which seems to be all the rage today), the fabric is actually Moda's crossweaves, which we stock tons of colors of at the store (yes, I will now be saying "we" when referring to City Quilter, since as of Tuesday I work there part time now!). I think we have all of the colors but I'm not 100% sure. I fell in love with most of the color range a few weeks ago and brought home a quarter yard of each color to play around with, not knowing what I wanted to do with them.
I think this fabric would look beautiful in a simple strip quilt and that's what I was originally leaning towards, but I still had half square triangles on the brain so I ended up going for that instead. I cut all the colors up and stacked them to see what I had to work with, here they are on my ironing board:
In order to break them up by how "dark" they are, I took this picture and changed it to black and white:
Which clearly revealed that I had three "darknesses" to work with: light (see the two lights?), dark (and the two darks?) and medium (all the rest). I stacked them up in groups and started pairing squares, making sure to pick from two different piles each time. As I paired them up, I also pinned them together, ending up with a stack like this:
(aside: this picture is the best in terms of color/saturation)
The next step was to draw a line down the center diagonal of each pair, which I did with just a regular colored pencil:
And then sew two seams, each 1/4" in from the drawn line. After that, I cut on the line to split each pair into a single half square triangle:
And then pressed the seams to one side:
This is the part of quilting that I find to be the most different from knitting: the assembly-line bulk processes! In knitting, it's rare for you to line up a bunch of something and then work one process on all of those somethings, then work another process on all of them. If you were knitting three sweaters I suppose you could do all the fronts, then all the backs, then all the sleeves, then all the seaming, but I just don't think anyone would want to work that way! It would be so boring and would feel like you weren't getting anything accomplished.
When quilting on the other hand, the batch-processing steps definitely save you time, and while it can get a little boring to press 80 identical seams in a row, it's usually over so quick that you don't have time to get too bored. All the steps I described up there? Took me only one evening!
There's actually one more step that I actually haven't done yet, which is squaring up each square so that its corners are perfect again. I skipped that step temporarily in order to get the blocks up on the design wall, which is the fun part!
This is the design I originally started with, which is sort of what I had been imagining all along:
I actually really love the way this looks even now, and I think I'm going to end up making a quilt like this one day soon. I love the non-pattern-ness of the arrangement, which is made up of such regular squares . . . I don't know, it just speaks to me. It looks vaguely Amish so sort of traditional, but also very modern at the same time.
Even though I quite like the above, for this quilt I wanted to do something a bit more graphic and unusual, so I started playing with putting all the "dark" colors together in a line to draw something. After some designs I ended up going with a zig zag, which is probably my favorite design motif so should come as no surprise. I first took all the squares that had dark brown in them and put them up in an asymmetrical design, and then I added the dark green as an echo:
I like how this creates a totally different look that's more bold and graphic, while still feeling a bit retro at the same time. I knew I was onto something when I did this and took a step back to inspect it from afar! I am planning on changing the upper right-hand corner slightly, as I think the zig zag is a bit too "perfect" right now and I want it to be more dynamic/off-center, but it won't be changing too too much from this. After I had the basic design up, I started adding the other squares in:
For the "background" squares I positioned them so that the dark half is away from the zig zag, and the direction of the squares align with the zig zags.
What do you think? I think I love it!
This quilt hasn't progressed any since the photos above because it got sidelined by my dad's quilt. Here is that one, getting its binding sewn on:
As you can see I ended up going for simple straight quilting instead of the circles I was planning . . . but more on that later, I need to go finish hand-sewing the binding to the back of the quilt!