Thursday, 14 January 2016

Sampler Block Shuffle: still shuffling along

Not much of a chance to get stuck into sewing this week, but I did manage one evening to make the latest two blocks of the Sampler Block Shuffle, blocks 19 and 20, plus a few extra variations of some of the other blocks.  

I am now completely up to date (till tomorrow, of course, when the next two blocks are released).  I am picking my block patterns up from Fat Quarter Shop and if you use this link it will take you straight to the current posting and with a further link to the block patterns themselves.  When new ones are released they are underlined and you can click and print the patterns and then stitch up the blocks at your leisure.

One of the nice things is that FQS are also showing blocks made up in different fabric palettes and with colour and value variations: the block makers may or may not have followed the pattern directions for their colour and value placement, and the patterns themselves give variations, so you can have fun making several alternative blocks - as I have. I suppose this might be why Moda have called it a block shuffle. I certainly expect to have to do some shuffling around when it comes to layout time.

The fabrics I have chosen to use are a range called Calico Craze by Barbara Brackman & Terry Clothier Thompson for Moda.  It is a few years old. I bought a bundle of fat quarters in a stack with lovely Moda ribbon, so I guess I got the complete range. I don't usually buy fabric in that way and sure enough the bundle, although beautiful, has languished in the cupboard as I didn't want to break it up and didn't have a project for which would use all the range.  

Well, I have now, and I am enjoying mixing and matching the prints. I confess I have added a few extra FQs from my stash to give me a bit more flexibility and especially some backgrounds and semi-solids such as the crackle fabrics, and one or two bigger scale florals. I hope to use up all the scraps in the flying geese border in due course.

I have mentioned this QAL in a couple of earlier posts (here and here) but I have not said all that much about it. This is almost the first sampler quilt I will ever have made (though I guess the Sawtooth Stars quilt-as-you-go is a sort of sampler as the middles of the stars are all different).I don't always like the look of sampler quilts, especially as they used to be done in the 70s and 80s with (often) just 12 really big, ungainly (in my opinion) blocks.They seemed to me to lack an overall cohesion and balance, as some blocks were inevitably more or less complex than others.

However I have come to admire more recent sampler style quilts and especially the Dear Jane and Farmer's Wife varieties where the blocks are quite dainty and there are lots of them - see Pinterest for some mind blowing examples if you are not familiar with them.  

These blocks are not quite so small, finishing at 6" and the instructions suggest making them from two Layer Cakes and 1.5 metres of background fabric.  I am having fun cutting strips of the required widths (mostly 1 1/2", 2" and 2 1/2") from my FQs  and then sub-cutting as required.  I can then mix and match the fabrics for my multiple versions of each block.

The QAL started on 6th November and is scheduled to finish on 12th February, with borders and finishing instructions to follow on 19th Feb. Not too late to join in!

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