Friday, September 2, 2011


I am a member of the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild. And part of me is still trying to figure out what makes a quilt Modern.  This month, the TMQG is hosting a Miniature Quilt Swap. After seeing how much fun the participants in the Pillow Swap a few months ago had, I challenged myself to participate. And as I seem to work well with a deadline, sometimes, I signed up.  Between signing up and being assigned a partner, I found a pattern that  struck me as "modern."  Hoffman Fabrics is showcasing one of their new lines with the California Rain quilt pattern.  The line is called Full Spectrum and the designer is Brenda Miller (Among Brenda's Quilts).  I really love the design, and while I like the individual fabrics in Full Spectrum, Gus and I agreed that they don't do the quilt pattern justice - not enough contrast - the values are too close together.

My first task was to reduce the size of the pattern to meet the Swap guidelines of 24 inches or less per side.  I decide to work on a 3/4 inch scale. In looking at the pattern, I see a 1-2-3 ratio:  Strip height 1/Sashing 2/ Width of color bars 3.

In using a 3/4 inch scale, I determined that the color bars would finish at 3/4 each, the solid sashing at 1 1/2 and the strip sets finish at 2 1/4.  Somehow, I managed to remember to cut my strips for the strip sets at 1 1/4 and my black sashing at 2 inches. But when it came time to subcut my strip sets, I forgot the seam allowance - so everything was cut at 2 1/4 instead of 2 3/4 which I figured out after constructing all 9 units...  And because of the way the units need to meet on the corners of the L's, I could not figure out a way to adjust the sashing and still make it work.

As a result, I now have an outstanding, 84 inch, pre-prepared binding strip...  I had planned to bind in the black background fabric, but this will be more fun.  I reassembled all of the units into one strip.

So much for the relaxing Tuesday evening. By Thursday, I drummed up the courage to start over again - which meant creating 2 new strip sets, subcutting 25 sets, undoing select seams to create the 9 units needed and getting everything appropriately pressed again.

A few days later, I started assembling the vertical black strips which have the rain drops.  I adapted the original pattern here as there were a few corner units within the design that didn't "work" for me. So my version has rain drops to the left of each color bar rather than some of the heavier corners.  Once I started assembling the units, working from the lower right, I learned that on my second set of strip sets, apparently some of the seam allowances were not the perfect scant 1/4 inch I had hoped for - and that I was not as accurate as I thought...  and also that multiplied over 15-19 seams, a few threads difference REALLY adds up. And that there is only so much one can do to ease the strips and stretch them - you really can't get back a full inch... so I adapted again, and added to the ends of the longest units.

I have one more rain strip and two borders to attach and then I'll be ready to figure out how best to quilt this.

I like the challenge of working in Miniature!


Cherry Red Quilter said...

this is going to be so gorgeous I would struggle to give it away!

Impera_Magna said...

Wow... that is a very cool quilt!!! I too would struggle to give that away!