My third finished project was these six blocks for the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild's 2014 quiltalong, featuring the Modern Mondays blocks from Jenifer Dick's 42 Quilts blog. Jenifer led the Modern Mondays quiltalong some time ago, but we've picked it up this year as a little project for our group. I decided to join up because
1) I feel like I almost never participate in anything, despite being an officer. We've had a lot of fun things: a couple of retreats, a quilt bee, swaps and challenges, sewcials...and most of the time I have to pass. I don't even bring things to show most of the time. Granted, that's because most of what I make is clothing, and this is a quilting group, but sometimes I don't bring the quilts I've made--or I bring them and don't show them (I brought the Birthday Cake quilt when I finished it, but didn't have the nerve to show it till the very end, and then it was too late. It went on my bed the very next day.) Plus my workload has been very unpredictable in the last year or so, so I don't like to commit to doing things I'm not sure I can follow through on. We're co-sponsoring a regional sewcial--the Mid-Atlantic Mod Retreat--in April, and I'm not going because I have a client meeting the next weekend, and am on alert for another client meeting sometime in April. But this is just six small blocks per month, so I figure perhaps I can get these done...?
2) It gives me an opportunity to practice making different kinds of blocks. Each block is a modernized variation of a traditional quilt block. I feel like I don't spend nearly enough time familiarizing myself with the nomenclature and history of various blocks (which is so unlike me!) But this a nice little introduction to different skills without the commitment of a full quilt. Jenifer also offered traditional versions of each block in a Traditional Tuesdays quiltalong--I think I'd like to try that sometime, too.
3) It's a low-pressure way to get another top done. I tend to want to crank crank crank and by the time I'm about halfway through a top, I'm bored, it's no longer fun and I'm ready to move to the next project. That's why I have three tops sitting around here right now--one half-quilted, one sandwiched and pinned (A YEAR AGO!!!!!) and sitting, and another folded away waiting to be sandwiched. argh.
So here I am. On to the blocks! (jump ahead)
The blocks are so different, and I didn't want to commit to buying fabric only for this (what would I buy anyway?!) I decided to use my giant scrap pile as much as possible, and to limit the colors I'd use to red, yellow, and blue. I have TONS of red fabrics, not much blue and very little yellow, which is a bit surprising as I love yellow--but it's kind of hard to find interesting yellow fabric. I think I may be alone in my fondness for it. And because the blocks are so small--6.5 inches--scraps work well. I haven't decided what I want to do for sashing yet--I figure I'll give the blocks a chance to tell me what they need once I've got more done.
From top, left to right:
This one was pretty easy. Two triangles, two strips. I could have played around with the strips' sizes more to make it more interesting...but I figured I was just getting my feet wet here.
2. Log Cabin
Also easy, both in construction and design--though I think I got ahead of myself in one place and the pieces aren't quite attached in the order they are supposed to. oops.
3. Rail Fence
Believe it or not--this was actually the hardest of the six to make! It looked deceptively easy--sew three strips, whack, position and sew--but the first time I made it it was undersized! WHAT. I still don't know how I managed that. Something about freehanding the strips but keeping them within a certain size was a little too much for me late at night. And I wasn't even drinking! I had to redo the whole block.
4. Churn Dash
I thought this one would be harder--but it actually came together very easily. My only qualm is that the red fabric came out much darker than the other reds I've used. I'll have to be careful to make sure I incorporate more dark red so this doesn't stand out too much. And I wanted that fussy-cut heart in the middle.
5. Sawtooth Star
I spent a while going back and forth about fabric choices for this one, full of trepidation the entire way through. And...honestly, it's my favorite block so far, I think because I just think all that fabric is so fun! The middle square is from David Walker's "Robots" line from a long while back, and the points are "Little Apples" by Aneela Hoey. And that red! Love it. I don't think it's as wonky as it probably should be, but I'm not losing sleep about it. The points were constructed in a way that reminded me a great deal of paper piecing (which I actually enjoy, aside from my environmentalist qualms about it).
Possibly my least fave of the six. There's nothing wrong with it really, it's just...eh. I wanted to love it, especially after discovering that my Pink Chalk Bits and Pieces bag had a nice gradation of yellows I could use, but it's still kinda meh to me. I wasn't certain about that center square at all and still am not, but what can you do. I'm not redoing it--obviously I didn't have any better ideas!
I know some people are not in love with this project, because the instructions are sometimes rather free-wheeling. I am actually liking that; it keeps me from obsessing over details and focusing instead on how to create the effect I want and learn to do these new things. I like that while Jenifer encourages you not to sweat too much over precision piecing and cutting and perfect points, her work still is thoughtful and not sloppy, which is what one aims for, no?