A Plan Comes Together

11 06 2009


(Colors aren’t quite correct.  Violet never comes out right when I’m doing photography. The quilt is much prettier in person than it is on my screen!)

Don’t you love it when a plan finally comes together?  I finished embroidering the blocks for the Friendship Garden last summer during some forced rest after my bicycle accident.  (It has been one year today since my crash and I still have a lump in my leg.  It doesn’t hurt, but it is there.)  I put the blocks aside because I knew I didn’t want the simple sashing from the pattern, but didn’t know exactly what I wanted.  I recently spotted something I really liked on the Flickr group for “A Tisket A Tasket”.  You can see a picture of his setting of the first three of those blocks here.  The setting uses the traditional block “Duck and Ducklings” for the corners.  I decided I liked this setting so well I wanted to use it for the Friendship Garden quilt.  However, I had to complicate my life by using five different colors for the block, rather than one.

From picture to finish, this is how I did the sashing:

First I drafted the quilt in Electric Quilt so I could play with sizes and color placement.  It also started me thinking about how to put it all together.


I decided the sashing would be based on finished one inch strips.  So the first thing I did was cut 1-1/2  inch squares for the corners of the embroidered blocks.  It was easier to line up using squares and the waste was minimal.


I could have marked diagonal lines on the back of the squares for stitching.  However since they were so small and didn’t have to match any seams,  I just put the needle of my machine in one corner and aimed for the opposite corner.


Here is a picture of all the squares stitched onto the embroidered blocks.  At this point you could cut away the excess fabric behind the triangles, and if you were planning to hand quilt, you would probably want to do that.  I only cut away the excess from the small squares.  That way if the triangles weren’t perfectly square with the quilt, I still had the square corner of the block to line up with later.


Press the triangles out.


I cut sashing strips 1-1/2 inches wide and the same length as the embroidered block and stitched them onto the sides of the blocks.


I debated about how to cut the top and bottom strips.  I could cut them the width of the block plus the sashing, but I was going to cut the corners off.  I ended up cutting the top and bottom strips the same length as the side strips.  I matched the strip to the embroidered block from the  raw edge of one seam allowance of to the raw edge of the other seam allowance.


I pressed the seam toward the sashing.  Now another dilemma.  Do I cut a seam allowance or just mark the cutting line?  I chose to mark the cutting line, thinking if I messed up I would still have all the fabric to work with.  My solution– line the 45 degree line of a ruler up with the seam line and the 1/4 inch mark with the corner of the block.


This is when I could have just cut the seam allowance, but I marked it.


Because I was using a one inch finished size for my sashing, this corner triangle needed to finish at two inches.  I used the Omnigrid right triangle ruler and cut triangles from 2-1/2 strips of fabric.


I folded these triangles in half and finger pressed the center point.  I lined this center point up with the corner of the small triangle.  The hypotenuse of the triangle lined up with the marked line.  I actually made sure I could see the whole marked line and just butted the triangle up next to it. 


I then stitched along the cut edge of the triangle.  I pressed the triangle toward the corner of the block.


Because the Duck and Duckling blocks continued into the border, I had to figure out how to do those portions as well.  I cut a 1-1/2 inch strip of the border fabric the same length as my original embroidered blocks.  (By the way, I bought the rest of the bolt of this fabric years ago when it was on sale.  I remembered it while I was drafting the quilt in EQ and it looks  like it was made to go with the blocks.  Same insects, very similar flowers — it was meant to be.)


I used 1-1/2 squares on both corners of these strips to make the small triangles.  I did have to lay everything out to be sure things came out correct.  I still ended up unsewing a couple of corners.  If you look closely at the picture you can see I marked the corner that was going to be cut off before I stitched.  Again I just lined up one corner with the machine needle and stitched to the other corner.  IMG_1397

Again I cut away the excess fabric from the small square — make sure you are cutting from the correct side of the line.  I actually pressed all the triangles first and laid them out to be sure everything was correct before cutting away the waste.  Next I needed triangles of the background fabric.  I cut them with the Omnigrid right triangle ruler the same way I cut the 2-1/2 inch triangles, but this time from 1-1/2 inch strips.  These were lined up with the small colored triangle so the hypotenuses would be parallel after the pieces were stitched together.  (Do you like going back to Geometry with the terms?)  Stitch the triangles together.


The next step was to add the light green sashing strip.  Again I debated about the best/easiest way to do this. I ended up cutting  1/2 wide strips the same length as the original embroidered squares.  Then I stitched them onto the border piece matching the raw edge of seam allowances on each end.  I end up with a piece as shown  in the top of the picture.  I could have finished cutting the angle before adding the triangle or I could have marked it.  I didn’t do either of those things.  The angle on the border piece and the edge of the sashing piece gave me enough to line up my 2-1/2 triangle.  See the bottom of the picture. 


This only left the four corners to figure out.  I cut three background triangles from 1-1/2 inch strips of fabric, and one colored triangle from  the 2-1/2 inch strip of fabric.  I still had 1-1/2 squares remaining so I used that for the colored small triangle.  It would work equally well to precut a triangle.  I laid them out as shown below and stitched them together.


I cut 2-1/2 inch strips of border fabric to finish the border units.  It was at this point I decided to change the design I had drafted in EQ.  The design of a quilt is never finished until the quilt says so.  I had drafted solid border pieces for the outside edge.  I had left over bits of the dark green sashing and laid them on the border continuing the sashing from the center of the quilt.  I decided I liked that better, so cut the border pieces the same length as the sashing units I made for the border.  I stitched units together and then constructed the rows.


The rows were stitched together and TA DA another finished quilt top.

Nolan made the mistake of asking me how many pieces were in this quilt. (I don’t think he cared by the time I figured it out, but they should never ask me a question if they don’t want me to find an answer.)  I believe there are 309 pieces.  If I had used the straight sashing with corner stones there would have only been 49.  But I think this is so much more interesting.