Thursday, March 8, 2018

Improv Hourglass Wallhanging

In quilting, I am most interested in traditional blocks, and using them as a template to explore repeating patterns, using simple patterns and altering it as it repeats, mostly by changing colors within the block. I love lots of color! You may have noticed.

For this quilt, I was very inspired by Sujata Shah’s book, CulturalFusion Quilts, which uses improv on a small scale to make traditional blocks in a looser way. A woman in one of the guilds I belong to had brought in an improved hourglass mini quilt, also referencing Sujata's book (she'd taught a class at our guild last year) which was quite striking, though hers was more monochromatic than mine.

The center fabric in this log cabin is the Dear Stella print I used as my starting point.
I started with a fabric (the maple seed print from Dear Stella, and I used it to make dining room curtains at our previous house) and chose colors that either matched the colors in the fabric, or were similar to those. Then I added a few browns, because my living room is red, mustard yellow, and brown, and I knew where it was going to hang. Then, looking at the brown and the green, I thought, hey, Oh Deer, by Momo, has that green and brown! So I added in the deer and the dot in that color scheme (I thought the scale of the bird would be too big to be included.)

From these, I cut many 6 inch blocks, 4-6 per color, plus and occasional 6x7 inch rectangle. I think every 4th or 5th piece was a rectangle. Of course, I did not take notes on my process.

I paired the rectangles, generally with a piece of a similar color or tone, and sliced off some amount perpendicular the long side at a random angle. Then I swapped those pieces, and sewed them back together, and placed these back with the squares, so that some pieces already had two colors. Then I put them in groups of five, and cut them in a rough hourglass, then assembled 4 or 5 blocks from the pieces. Not every combination got in, some were consigned to the scrap pile.

Three of these hourglasses were made with those two color rectangles

Once I had made all the blocks and counted them, I realized I didn’t have enough, and to make the last twelve I dug some pieces out of the scrap pile, but also this is where a few random colors came in, the pale pink, that neon orange, the gray, and the black, because instead of going back to my original fabrics, I just used what I could find in the scrap bin.

 Then I trimmed down all the blocks, and it wasn’t very random, since mostly I looked at where I could position the 4.5 inch square that would keep the diagonal seams out of the corners of the block. 

Then my kids and I laid them out in the front hall and crawled all over it to assess the look. I am pretty happy to use the front hall as my design floor, because I can lean out over the staircase and get a farther away view of whatever I lay out there. 

They were laid out on design boards, 9 per board, and I labeled the boards in a grid (numbers for columns and letters for rows) but while I was assembling those blocks, I came to the conclusion that I must have mislabeled something. Then it was just making it work. But despite it probably not being the optimal layout of the blocks, I think it looks great in its spot.

I realize I didn't mention the quilting! I did fmq it, fairly loosely on most blocks.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice quilt/wall hanging. you'd never know you were scrambling for the last twelve blocks.