Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Splendid Setting, Part 1

This week, after the release of the 100th Splendid Sampler block, in the Splendid Sampler Facebook group, I posted this photo of me with my quilt top (sans border) and Pat Sloan. The photo was taken back in September when Pat happened to be teaching a workshop just minutes from my home.

My quilt center was done even though all the blocks hadn't been released yet. The design team had access to the patterns before they went public, so I was able to binge-sew during the summer.

The setting I chose for my blocks would work with just about any sampler quilt. A year ago, I started the project with a couple of packs of pre-cut 10” squares from Hoffman California Fabrics, one from Timeless Treasures, a partial pack of 2-1/2” strips, and some yardage amounts—all batiks in variations of turquoise, sea blue and beachy/earthy browns—and a fair amount of natural-colored flat cotton. After all the blocks were constructed, I still had a fair amount of fabric left.

I decided to put those fabrics to work to frame each and every block before adding thin sashing and cornerstones. The effect was to highlight each individual block in the quilt. For each block frame, I selected a fabric from the group of leftovers that suited the block itself. and cut four strips 1-1/4” wide (finish to 3/4”) by 7-1/4” long. (The blocks are each 6-1/2" square (unfinished size).)

I could have bordered each block with a strip on each side, then one on the top and the bottom. Instead, and for no other reason than to do something a little ‘unexpected,’ I added the strips to the block starting with a partial seam.

I aligned the first strip along the left edge of the right-side-up block with the top edges aligned.

Then I sewed a 1/4" seam, with the block right side facing down while sewing, leaving the last 2” or so unsewn. Pressed the attached part of the strip toward the strip.

Rotated the block 90-degrees, and added another strip to the adjacent side, and press. The ends lined up pretty good with the block!

Continued until all four strips are sewn, and pressed, leaving only a partial seam on the original strip to be sewn (between the red arrows, below).

Sew the partial strip.

Press, and Wah-lah!

With so many fussy, lovingly-sewn details on these special blocks, framing each one helped to show them off individually and set the stage for a cohesive, but scrappy quilt.

I then added very narrow (1/2” finished width or 1” cut width) cream sashing strips and vibrant turquoise cornerstones to complete the quilt center. Yup indeed, the sashing is really, REALLY narrow, but added the ‘pop’ that was needed to set off the blocks without making the quilt super-huge. 

Only problem: I still had lots and LOTS of blue and brown scraps left. . . What to do?? More on that next time . . .

Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford

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