Thursday, February 17, 2011

Change of plans - cooperative quilting

Ever have a day where it's like you didn't get the memo?

The quilt block we made at Saturday's fiber guild workshop is an applique block made with Do Sew® and called Really, Really Broken Dishes by Kim Montagnese.   Because of the way you make the block, cut it into quarters and then trade quarters with other quilters before re-assembling, the blocks are integrated, sharing fabrics and pattern though each is made by a different quilter. So the blocks we made Saturday will become the quilt for our expectant member.
Makes more sense to me than combining disparate blocks into a quilt so the embroidered block I made last week is now the center block for a small quilt (about 3x4-feet) which I'm putting together as a baby gift.  With luck I'll even get it done before the baby arrives!

Saturday's Really, Really Broken Dishes block was very easy to make -- circles without fear of piecing curves (I love that part especially!) and is a great way to mix up colors in a modern-looking quilt pattern.  You start with a square of fabric that will serve as the block background.  Sew a piece of Do Sew to the right-side of the piece that will be the largest circle on the background.  Then cut away the Do Sew, being careful not to cut the other circles you're drawn on it.

I've never worked with Do Sew before but can't wait to use it for other sewing.  When you spritz Do Sew with water and then press with a hot iron, the Do Sew draws up just a bit, letting you easily fold the edge under as you press.  No burning your fingertips or resorting to a pin to try to fold over the edge as you press.

The largest circle is sewn to the background (we used sewing machines set for a blind hemstitch but you could also do that part by hand), then the block is flipped over and you carefully cut away the background fabric from within the stitched circle.  This keeps the block from becoming too thick with the multiple layers and also gives you a circle of fabric just a little bigger than you need for the next circle.  So you trade that circle with another block maker and then you each have a new fabric to sew Do Sew to, using a slightly smaller circle pattern drawn out on the Do Sew.  And spritz, press and sew to center of the larger circle on your block.

Follow the same process for one more smaller circle (trading fabric again) and press the completed square.  Then take a deep breath, pull out your rotary cutter or scissors and cut the square into four even quarters.  Trade three of the quarters with other block makers and seam them back together into a square.  Take a look at what you've made and say "Wow! That's pretty neat!"  Because it is.

Here are photos of my block in the making and the photo above is of all the blocks laid out for the final assembly. (My block, after trading off 3 quarters and re-assembling, is in the lower left. Can you spot my other quarters now assembled into other blocks?)

The same designer, Montagnese, also has a block called Really, Really Mended Hearts that I want to try next.  It's a similar block but the appliques are hearts not circles.  Then, instead of dividing in quarters with a vertical and horizontal cut through the square, you make three or maybe four vertical cuts (perhaps even cutting wedge-shapes rather than, say, perfect thirds) and re-assemble.  Trading sections encouraged, when working in a group setting, though you can get the same effect (but probably without the comaraderie) by cutting, sewing and mixing blocks you make all by yourself.

1 comment:

A Brush with Color said...

Wow, Carol--you never disappoint, of course. So unusual, but intriguing--I love it. Do take photos of the final product!