Saturday, July 3, 2010

Americana Quilt for the Fourth of July

You may recall a selection of blocks, united only in that they were red, white & blue:

When you have blocks of all different sizes, the first step is to lay them out to see how they'll balance. That means you're just looking for where each one will look best in relation to the others.
These blocks are in their suggested places for the quilt. You'll notice there are some spaces...those will need to be filled with plain fabric, pieced units, or a slight shuffling of the existing blocks. That where the fun is in making this sort of quilt!
Taking a picture comes in handy when there are not really any traditional rows. It was picked up and carefully given labels. 
It went home to my design wall:
This thing is huge...but doing a scrappy sampler is a puzzle made of parts, so it's fine to just worry about one section at a time. I tried to lay it out according to the photo of the blocks on the table. The center-to-bottom seemed to go well, though I thought it needed a lot of added peices.
Working on the top went a bit smoother, though the trick here is to get things centered, to match the "balance" of the original layout. The bottom section had established the width, so now the top had to be the same.
You might notice that the large Log Cabin Star is no longer surrounded by nine-patch blocks.
 Asymetrical is fine for some things, but the Flag Block needed to be right in the center of the Log Cabin star. Also, a directional block like that has now made this whole quilt have a definite top and bottom.
Well into the process, I actually stated to take blocks apart for several reasons:
1. I needed the units for filling in spaces.
2. The Rail Fence blocks looked like swastikas (they are now broken up, placed about half way down on the right side).
3.Some of the blocks just couldn't work. due to their construction. I was determined to have all the donated blocks in the quilt, and I even managed to get the double-knit one in (!!!).  
But the one that had no seam allownces to speak of...that one self-destructed during some reverse sewing and there was no saving even parts of it! At that point, I did not feel bad about sending it to the trash. It did, howvever, leave a 12" hole I needed to fill, which resulted in a complete re-design of the bottom section. This is why I am glad I did not write down or recall who had made any of the blocks.

After a simple border to "frame & contain", I patched a backing together from more donated yardage.
I am so pleased to tell you that there is a True Saint in my quilt guild!
DB took this mess and did a large meandering pattern with a nice red thread that pulls the whole thing together beautifully. I will be eternally grateful to her for relieving me of the quilting!

I did put the binding on and here it is finished....and handed over to the lady who wanted it for a fund-raiser for the church where my guild meets.
Happy Independence Day indeed!


Pat said...

Sunnie, you managed to pull together a nice looking quilt out of those odd-assorted blocks. I would've been pulling my hair! LOL


Cheezdoodle said...

It looks wonderful! I was imagining something quite different. So glad you posted this. J

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about this quilt, and about other quilts with odd-sized blocks, and this morning I had the sudden revelation that I don't have to sew my Mile-A-Minute blocks until they're all an identical size! I could put them together NOW! Woo-hoo!