I just love it when things fall into place and I have a reason to start a new quilt! Truthfully, this happens to me more often than I am inspired to finish an existing project – hence my reputation as a quilter with Quilt Project Attention Deficit Disorder (QPADD). Since this condition does not seem to cause me much distress, I will blithely tell you about my newest project. Here are the factors that fell into place:
A New Tool
CT has started carrying the Hex N More Ruler developed by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. This ruler sounds worth trying because with just ONE tool, you can make all of these shapes:
- Hexagons – 2″, 4″, 6″, 8″
- Half Hexagons – 2″, 4″, 6″, 8″
- Jewels – 3″, 6″, 9″, 12″
- 60 degree triangles – 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″
A Crazy Big Stash of Bright Tonals
I have a large (okay, very large) collection of tone-on-tone fabrics – mainly scraps and FQs – in bright, saturated colors that needs to be used.
A little niece’s birthday is coming up in May and I have never given her a quilt.
A New Tool + A New Pattern + A Crazy Big Stash of Bright Tonals + A Motivation = A New Project 😀
I started by going through bins of fabric looking for saturated, bright tone-on-tone, blender-type fabrics – mainly primary and secondary colors on the color wheel. I did not want fabrics with a busy print or lots of contrast that would draw the eye and distract from the overall geometric pattern of the quilt. I selected pairs of fabrics with some moderate contrast between them, and a few pairs with minimal contrast as the designer did in her quilt.
Since I had all of my fabric out, this quilt was for a gift, and I thought I might like to make another someday for a grandchild, I cut out enough pieces for two quilts. I thought my stash was large enough to make sort of a scrappy charm quilt – using each fabric only once – and still be able to make a lap or twin quilt. In the photo below you can see stacks of paired fabrics ready to cut, cut pieces, and sewn pieces.
It is always a good idea to make at least one or more units or blocks first before cutting a huge number of them. I made a few of the jewel-like units and placed them together. When I grouped units with similar saturation (see image below), as the pattern instructions show, I did not find it as pleasing as the image on the front of the pattern with its interspersed pastels and light grey colors. Also below, I added a unit with strong contrast. Even though the individual fabrics are pretty, the degree of contrast distracted from the overall effect when combined with other blocks because it stood out so much.
I proceeded to revisit my stash for tinted (white added), pastel versions of the bright colors and some light grey and white fabrics. Fortunately, I had made quilted projects for my quilting studio in yellow, grey, white, and black, so I had some fabrics that were grey, grey with white, and white with grey. I did not use any pure white fabrics but they could be used with light grey fabrics.
Much better! But wait..it looked like there were a couple of empty spaces! The units with very low contrast between the white/grey fabrics showed up as too light. I replaced them with pairs of fabric with more contrast later.
For a quilter without a large stash, it is easy to find a wide assortment of suitable fabrics among our CT collections, and especially Quilter’s Candy Basics. There are several precut samplers available offering a variety of great fabrics for the Disco quilt – such as the Quilter’s Candy Color Wheel sampler seen below. A FQ sampler would make multiple units (my guess is four). Stacks provide a sampler of 10″ squares; you could get one of the paired fabrics for a unit from each 10″ square. A perusal of the extensive selection of others fabrics on the CT website will yield lots of other possibilities. Remember, we offer FQ or 1/4 linear cuts of all the fabrics. Hopefully you can find other fabrics in your stash or do a fabric swap with friends.
It will help to be able to visualize what I am referring to as units. You can see with the two units below that, for each unit, you need one half hexagon and two triangles of each of the fabrics in the pair. For two units, I cut two half hexagons and four triangles of each fabric.
The pattern calls for cutting two 3-1/2″ strips of fabric from fat eighths, which would make two units. I found I could cut enough pieces from one 3-1/2″ x WOF strip to make two units. If I had a FQ, I could cut one 3-1/2″ x WOFQ strip but would have to cut two triangles from the remaining fabric.
I found it easiest to cut one end of the half hexagon (the pattern shows you how to place the ruler)… and slide it along the strip to cut the other end.
The triangles are cut by placing the 3-1/2″ line on the lower edge of the strip. Note that the top of the triangle has a small flat area – this helps a lot with joining the pieces successfully!
Two triangles are placed on a half hexagon as shown with RS together. The flat part of the triangle pieces are aligned with the top of the half hexagon. My absolute favorite 0.4 mm straight patchwork pins work well to secure the pieces. Here is picture of the pieces ready to be sewn to make two units.
Ready to sew!
Aren’t they pretty!
Chain-piecing speeds up sewing and keeps the pairs together.
Ready to press!
Here again are two units – now pressed open. One of these units will be used in this quilt, and the other saved for another quilt. Of course, both could be used in the same quilt to minimize the number of fabrics needed. Or more pieces could be cut from the same fabric if necessary.
I guess I assumed that the two sides of what I refer to as a unit (see above) would be sewn together… but NO!
The sewn segments are arranged and sewn in vertical rows. The next vertical row needs to have the other half of the unit next to it when the vertical row are sewn together. Planning the placement on a design wall or the floor is important!
Here is what I have on the design wall so far. If you look at the left and right edges of the quilt top on the design wall, you can see that whole units alternate with half units along the sides – but not the top and bottom, which has only whole units. I need to add two more rows to the bottom for a twin quilt; then I will start sewing the vertical rows together. There still seem to be a couple of spaces where it looks like there is no fabric. I will take them apart and add fabrics with greater contrast.
The fabric on the table is part of my stash that was not used – the fabrics that were used have been set aside. You can see the pile of unfolded fabric on the floor where I threw it as I cut. I usually start off folding fabrics neatly as I cut. Since I cut multiple fabrics (4 to 6 layers) at a time, after a while I tend to toss them on the floor and refold when I am finished. The trash can is full of small scraps from the project.
Bright Birch Trees quilt by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts is a great idea for using up the teeny tiny scraps from this project! I kept this quilt in mind as I went through the trash can and pulled out some more pieces worth saving.
Please keep checking back to see the Disco quilt finished. I do have a May deadline, so I plan to keep on track! 😉