Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Bee Blocks, part 2!
more bee blocks!
these two months were so much fun, really getting into improv!
first up was Holly's Echino block, inspired by Elizabeth Hartman's "Put A Bird on It" quilt.
honestly, this was the block that threw me for a loop in the first place, back in the fall. at the time, i hadn't done much improv, so i was nervous, and i knew from the super quick members of the bee that there wasn't much fabric if i screwed it up. i actually did up a sample back then, but never brought myself to cut into Holly's precious fabrics. but no more! i opened them up and dove in!
Holly had earmarked a focus fabric for each block, and had cut other smaller pieces of Echino for us to incorporate. she also sent along chunks of several solids, and asked us to use the white primarily in smaller, narrower strips.
after all of my stress, i had so much fun making this block! i changed my mind about the positioning of elements multiple times as i went along, but i love the composition that i ended up with. this block is too small as well, because i ran out of fabric. we were asked to make a 15.5" square block, and i managed to get the height, but i could only eke out 14" in width. if i'd had enough fabric, i would've added at least two more narrow solid strips on the left side, of varying widths, each with a small chunk of white. i think it would have made the single strip look more intentional. but it won't be up to me! i can't wait to see how Holly puts them all together.
we were also asked to make a 4"x4" signature block if we had enough extra, but obviously, i didn't! i pieced together the three little scraps that i did have (this is seriously all i had, i didn't waste a thread on this block!) and hand embroidered my name on it. my signature block ended up being 4.5" x 1.5".
i didn't really think about the colour combination of this block, but it feels very flag-like to me now! once it's sewn together with other pieces, it'll be less obvious, thankfully. and speaking of sewing it together, if you look closely, you can see where i marked the 1/4" line around the edges to ensure that my embroidery didn't end up in the seam allowance. i used a pilot friction pen, which i quite like for some things, but it unfortunately left a light line around the edges. from everything i've read, it sounds like that'll wash out, luckily.
and then i moved on to Christine's blocks! her instructions were "fun"! she asked us to improvise, make our blocks any size or shape that we wanted, and to try to use up all of the fabric that she sent, whether that ended up being a few blocks, one large one, a bunch of tiny ones - whatever. she also asked us to add at least a bit of fabric from our own stash, even just a teensy bit, and she provided us with some visual inspiration, all of which were quilts and blocks made by Malka Dubrawsky.
when i opened up the envelope, i didn't know where to start! the fabrics that she sent were nearly all very bright, with quite busy prints. i don't think i'd realized how much i'd come to rely on solids! quite a few of her prints were Kaffe Fassett designs, which i usually admire in the store, but don't buy because i never know what i'd do with them. she forced me to figure it out, and they grew on me super fast.
i started out spending some time going through Malka Dubrawsky's etsy shop and flipping through both of her books, her older book Color Your Cloth and her more well known book, Fresh Quilting. this was one of the times that my ridiculously extensive library came in handy!
a lot of Malka's designs are recognizable because of her dyeing, or because of her quilting, neither of which are relevant for a bee block, so i tried to pick out distinctive shapes and go from there. quite a few bee members had incorporated curves into their blocks, especially since the Half Moon Rising pillow was one of Christine's examples.
i decided to keep with the curve trend and create improvisational drunkard's path blocks. the blocks are made by stacking the fabric and cutting it, and they are usually trimmed down after they're sewn to make them into proper squares, but i decided to add strips to them instead, a bit of a homage to Malka's log cabin blocks.
i love it. it is so much busier than i usually make things, but i think it's fabulous, and i think a 6 year old girl would love it.
after i finished my big block, i had all sorts of scraps to play with! i was inspired by the diamonds improv pillow cover and made up the first in what ended up being a little set of 6"x6" blocks.
i love the look of that block, but the majority of my scraps were strips, not triangles, so i went back to the wonky log cabin idea for my second scrap block.
my third scrap block used the two prints that i struggled with the most. the colours are less saturated in them, so they didn't seem to flow with the others as well, and the enchino is a heavier weight. usually i love the cotton/linen blend that Kokka uses for their fabrics, but it just didn't seem like a good combo for improv curves!
those used up most of my scraps, but inspired by some of the blocks that Cynthia made for Christine, i decided to sew together all of my eensy-weensy squares and make a crumb block as well. it ended up being 6.5" x 9.5"
fun, huh? i'm working on a couple more bee blocks, but they're all still in progress. i'm super excited about them, and oh-so-happy about these ones!!