I worked hard on the Aqua-Red Sampler quilt over the weekend. It was great to have a nice long weekend. I made a lot of progress and will be glad to get this quilt out of my hair.
You will notice that I rearranged the blocks since my last layout. I also did not include the Cathedral Window block. It was just too thick. I have another test block from this quilt and I think I will make a pillow from the two of them.
I made a new block and needed to rearrange the blocks because of the colors. I didn’t want all the big red dots and daisy fabrics lumped together in one area. This quilt has been one problem after another and I hope that the borders will cut me some slack.
I found a bright white (Pure Elements Snow, which is different from Kona Snow) that picked up and highlighted the other bright whites in the blocks. I tried not to include too much cream where possible. I’m not sure about the width of that white border (2.5 inches). I may rip it off and make it smaller. That is not my first choice.
I thought the daisy fabric would be exciting, but I would have to struggle with making sure I used every scrap if I can’t find the rest of the stash of it that I know I have somewhere. The solid turquoise would be a solid choice. By that I mean that it would work, it would probably hold in all that is going on in the quilt.
As part of the Sampler Quilt Class and other tutorials I have on this site, I want to add one about putting a quilt together. I thought it would be good to include information about sashing at the same time. Since I have been using this quilt to write the Sampler quilt posts, I thought I would use it to create the latest tutorial.
Process can be a difficult mistress (boy toy??) and she had both fangs and talons out for me on Sunday. I really wanted to just piece a bunch of stuff together, so I took Who Am I? off the design wall and started checking out sashing options for the Aqua-Red Sampler. I thought this would be a relatively easy task and I would be sewing in no time.
HA! I should never think that.
I started off thinking that the version above with no sashing just wasn’t quite right. I have a stack of fabrics that I keep for backs and sashing (larger pieces) so I started to look through them and try them out.
I always use Lorraine Torrence’s rule to “make visual decisions visually”. Well, when I do that I usually get good results. When I don’t, I ruin the quilt.
I pulled out the most likely option and pinned some blocks up on my design wall (2 layers of fabric don’t stick). You can see how optimistic I was that this would work based on the number of blocks I put up. It isn’t terrible, but I didn’t like the way the red was interacting with some of the reds in the blocks.
I thought maybe some blue and I have a nice turquoise solid that I got out. Not terrible, but nowhere near great either. The blocks with the lighter blue backgrounds stick out like sore thumbs and the blocks with the medium blue backgrounds wash out. I wasn’t daunted yet.
I thought maybe I should introduce a new color. I know I wanted this to be a, basically, two color quilt, but I started to think, perhaps, that there was no way to keep that dream alive with the two colors I had chosen. I thought about the green in Stepping Stones n.2 and I picked out a nice floral without flowers that included that green plus the blue.
I couldn’t yank that fabric off the design wall fast enough. It made me think of my man, Phil, though. I tried one of his prints. Also hideous. Well, not hideous, but it really didn’t work. The blue was wrong. The pink was wrong. It looked messy and slapped together.
I decided to try some white. It wouldn’t be my first choice because it is too predictable, but I was starting to feel desperate. Just a little. The white is wrong, too. I am not sure why, but it doesn’t add anything. It was too white as well, as if THAT makes any sense.
Since I liked the dots and was still thinking the white might just too white, so I pulled out a different dot and tried to like it. It isn’t terrible. It does add a bit to the whole piece, but the black dots just aren’t right. There is none of that fabric in the whole piece. I put it aside as a possibility.
Still thinking dots would work, I pulled out a different red dot print. The red wasn’t exactly the shade I would have chosen if I had all the fabric in the world, but the dots were larger and that was promising. Also, not terrible, but also not exactly right.
By this time, I was starting to feel disheartened and needed some input so I posted to Instagram to get some feedback. People were very kind and had some good ideas.
One person suggested navy, which might work, but I don’t like navy much and don’t have any navy fabric – yardage, at least. I might have some scraps. Amanda suggested yellow. I had a nice sunshine-y orange, which I just thought I would try to see. Not terrible, but not right either. It came across as gold in the photos (even the one above, I think). You remember the hunt for yellow in which I engaged for the basket quilt? I really didn’t want to go out and buy fabric. I really felt I had to have something that would work.
I found some cherry fabric, again by my man, Phil, and thought I would try it. The first Philip Jacobs option was still on my mind. I wasn’t ready to give up on him again. This fabric is actually okay. I think ‘okay’ is a step above ‘not terrible’. Still it didn’t scream YES! at me.
Much more sighing went on.
My last option for the day was a grey. I was not hopeful. I really wanted to sew and I had used most of my sewing time on an unsuccessful attempt to choose some sashing.It didn’t work. It doesn’t look much better than the white
I gave up and went to sew the latest donation quilt. I am starting to think this quilt does not want sashing and I’ll have to make the tutorial with another quilt.
I decided to make this block after finding I needed one more block to complete my Aqua-Red Sampler. I have never made one of these, so I thought “what the heck?”. I had seen some directions for it and it caught my attention. As mentioned, I had to cobble together instructions from at least three different tutorials to be able to make the block. Below is my version. The tutorials I referenced are noted below.
Finished Block Size: 12 inches (12.5 unfinished)
In this tutorial, the background is turquoise and the foreground is red.
Thread – you might want to use your regular piecing thread for the first part of the directions, then switch to a thread that matches the background fabric for sewing the curves shut
1/4 inch foot
applique’ foot (foot with a center mark)
square ruler at least 12.5 inches square
long ruler at least 12 inches long
snips or scissors
Tool to poke out corners
A pen or pencil you can use to draw on fabric (I like Sewline pencils)
Stiletto or dental pick type instrument (something thin and pointy)
hand sewing needle
Instructions for making a 12″ (finished) Cathedral Windows block
1. Cut 4 squares of background fabric 12.5 inches by 12.5 inches
2. Cut 4 squares for inset pieces 4 inches by 4 inches.
3. Fold each of the 4 background squares in half. This will make your 12.5 x 12.5 inch squares into rectangles (e.g. do not fold NOT along the diagonal).
Hint: I sew all four one after another, but you can sew one at a time, if you prefer.
3A. Sew along the short side, backstitching at the beginning and the end.
4. Open your rectangles and match up the raw edges.
Hint: I nest the center seams and pin, starting in the middle
Hint: leave an opening 2-3 fingers wide for later turning. I mark this with two pins right next to each other.
5. Sew your pinned seam shut except for the opening you have left.
Hint: I backstitch at the beginning and end of the seams including next to the opening. Yes, it is a hassle to start and stop, but I don’t want the edges of the seams to come apart when I turn.
6. Place recently sewn squares on the ironing board and smooth out wrong side out (above). They should make nice squares.
7. Press nested seams in opposite directions from the center out.
8. Press long seams in one direction, being careful to line up edge of opening as best you can. You can press this seam open if you want.
You should now have 4 nice flat squares with wrong sides out.
9. Turn squares right sides out.
10 Poke out corners carefully. I use a knitting needle whose mate broke.
Your squares are now on the bias, so be careful when you handle them.
11. Fold corners into the center. Do this with all four corners and make a new square. The square should be 6 inches.
12. Lay out the blocks in a 2 x 2 grid, so you can see what you have
13. Pin the center triangles of the two top triangles together. Do the same for the bottom triangles. Now your 2×2 grid will be pinned together in two rectangular sections
14. Using a ruler (I use a 3.5 x 12.5 Creative Grids), and your marking implement (I like Sewline pencils), draw a line in the crease under the triangles you are about to pin
15. Line up squares with backs together and triangles pointing to the right.
16. Put your applique’ foot on your sewing machine.
17. Sew along the crease on both sets.
18. Lay out the 2×2 grid again. Now you will have two ‘rows’. You are going to sew the rows together.
19. Fold up the top triangles from the bottom row and the bottom triangle from the top row.
20. Draw a line along the crease at the bottom of the two triangles.
21. Sew along the line. After, you will have your 2×2 grid of squares sewn together and the triangles will be flapping around.
22. Take your foreground triangles and lay them on top of your background
23. Tuck the flaps in towards the center and pin in place. Watch out that the edges of your foreground squares don’t show. Make the edges curve slightly
Note: this was confusing to figure out and it turned out that I did not have all the sewn triangles in the right place. After you sew the triangles together, make sure you flatten them back in their original places, e.g. one layer of background on top
Note: I had to use a thin sharp tool, like a stiletto or dental instrument to tuck in some of the foreground edges. I sometimes use a seam ripper, which is a very bad habit, because if you aren’t careful, you can rip your fabric. You can definitely trim the foreground fabric, but trim a little at a time very, very carefully
24. Pin each edge in three places with the heads of the pins facing the center of the foreground fabric. This is not micro management; this technique will allow you to sew as long as possible with the pins in place
25. Sew very close to the edge of the background. I sewed slowly and carefully. I used the above mentioned sharp tools when I needed a little help. Leave LONG tails so you can knot off and hide the threads
26. Handstitch the other triangle flaps closed with a few stitches. The other tutorials said to use the machine, but 2 stitches is a pain and an irritant on the machine, so I hand sewed the flaps closed when I was sinking threads.
I never thought of making it before, but this block did kind of take my fancy. This is kind of a strange block, partially because of all of the layers. It is lumpier than I expected. Warn your longarmer about it.
Fons & Porter Cathedral Window block– I originally found the instructions in one of their magazines as part of their ‘learning to quilt* series’. I had to go looking for other instructions when I found the directions had no sizes or actual cutting instructions. Directions are brief.
Sometimes Crafter Cathedral Window block – some missing detail, but has the instructions for cutting the right sized patches. I also don’t like it that the viewer cannot enlarge the photos to see the details.
*Nota bene: not sure if this is the correct name, but it describes the basic idea of the series.
I found some directions for a machine pieced (machine sewn?) Cathedral Window block and it was bugging me, so I decided it would be the last block in my Aqua-Red Sampler. It wouldn’t be the same as all the other sampler quilts and I would get to finish something today while progressing on something else.
I started with the Fons & Porter directions I found in one of their magazines. 🙁 These directions did not tell me what size blocks I was making or what size to cut the patches. The directions were not that helpful either. I am not sure what the company that owns Fons & Porter is doing, but they aren’t doing themselves any favors by hiding this crucial information.
I went to the web and found two tutorials. I used them in conjunction with each other, because neither had all the information. Sometimes Crafter had the right size, so I could tell what sizes to cut and Lovely Little Handmades had excellent directions though used different sizes patches.
My block is still in process, but it is coming along very well.
I have some hand sewing to do, which neither tutorial recommends, but I don’t care. It is the way I want to finish my block.
I decided to create a tutorial. I think the quilt world needs a more complete Cathedral Windows block tutorial in the 12.5 inch (unfinished) size, so look for that soon.
When I finish this block, another decision will be made and I will be able to put the Aqua-Red Sampler together.
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I have the Aqua-Red Sampler on my design wall and I am trying to figure out what block to make as my last block.
I was thinking of the Nosegay. I have a great version for the Handbag Sampler, so it isn’t pressing that I make another one. Still, it’s a good block. Then I remembered the Tea Basket block. It isn’t very popular. In fact I don’t know if I have ever seen a quilt that included that block. It is in Jinny Beyer’s The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns, so I was able to find it. I also found it in BlockBase and made some adjustments so the BlockBase version looked more like Jinny Beyer’s version. I also added some color to get an idea of how it would look. Looking at it now, I think it is more of a contender than I thought.
We have been on a bit of an unintentional hiatus, because I was out of town for 10 days, she had some things to take care of and went to the beach, the Young Man graduated and, generally, life got in the way of quiltmaking. I needed to get in gear for as much sewing as humanly possible this weekend, so I started in on the Dutchman’s Puzzle on Thursday night.
Doing one block doesn’t take very long. I thought I would just getting the cutting done, but I was able to piece the whole block together. I had enough time even after I sewed the four major sections together wrong and had to rip them out! Being more of a morning person, I don’t sew well at night (make lots of mistakes) and usually just hand sew bindings or something. I am glad I didn’t do worse damage!
Now I have a nice round 6 blocks. This reminds of the goals of the first ever quilt class I took. The goal was to make a 6 block sampler. The blocks are different, but this group of blocks provides me with some fond memories.
I also was able to look at the piece from a color and fabric stand point. I am not liking the Card Trick. I need to decide if I will make a new one or include the light background fabric in a couple of other blocks.
I can also see that I need to include the Big Plain Jane fabric, and a few other fabrics, in at least one more block. I am pondering whether or not there is a block scheduled that will showcase it.
All in all, I really like the way this is coming out.
Selecting fabric is a very personal choice. I have a group of fabrics for my sampler class with Frances and I needed to choose some background-esque fabric to go with the Four Patches for my Double Four patch block. These are large blocks and I don’t normally work in this size, so I found it challenging.
I fell back on Lorraine Torrence‘s old adage: Make Visual Decisions Visually. That is the best advice I have EVER gotten in quiltmaking. Go take a class from Lorraine and buy her books. She is awesome.
I liked the bold graphic-ness of this print, but thought it might be too large.
I thought for sure this would work, but the cherries felt too scattered. They need to be hemmed in a little.
Something in the color was off with this print. The aqua in the Bliss print is more green while the small flowered print is more on the turquoise side.
This is the same print as the first one, but the flowers are smaller. I like the way you can see more of the flowers. Success!
I chose the last print and above is how the finished block looks.