I use the descriptor "planned improv" loosely. Sometimes the improv comes in the piecing. Sometimes it comes in the design work before piecing starts. In this case, the improv had to do with having no idea where I was going when I started piecing scraps together. And the plan was that HSTs would be involved, and I was working with a limited amount of scraps (at the beginning) with a limited color palette (that I'd curated for the bag of scraps).
This quilt has been a long time coming. The scraps that were the start of it predate February 2016 when I took Jeni Baker's Creative HST workshop at QuiltCon in Pasadena. (We won't discuss how these are scraps from another project that is not yet finished.) This three-hour evening class was a chance to play. I finished my first four blocks for this quilt that night and eventually went on to create 140 more!
As with many of my quilt projects, I worked on this one intermittently over the years. It had no deadline or destination. The quilt top was finally finished at a quilt retreat in September 2018. I mailed it away to be quilted (by Jess Zeigler) in December 2019. No rush on this one. ;-)
I finished the quilt with a faced binding in order to submit to it PIQF in October for their Online Quilt Festival.
It's 59" x 59". I plan to hang it in my entryway.
Unrelatedly, check out the new short film, Canvas, on Netflix.
This tutorial features fabric given to me by Island Batik.
My two favorite ways to make HSTs (half square triangles) are to make them 2-at-a-time or 8-at-a-time. For my September Island Batik project I chose to make sawtooth stars. 8-at-a-time HSTs are perfect for these blocks, so I thought I'd put together a tutorial for you!
For this project I used precut 10" squares, but they work with any size squares. See the table below for size of squares and size of HSTs you can create. Two starting squares will create eight HSTs.
Step 1: With right sides together, mark the two diagonals on the wrong side of one square with your favorite marking tool. When marking the second diagonal it helps to make sure that one of the lines of your ruler lies on the previous line. This will ensure that your marked lines are perpendicular. My preferred marking tools are Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen (for light fabrics), Fons and Porter White Mechanical Fabric Pencil (for dark fabrics -- that's the one I used here), and a Hera marker (which I generally use for solids).
Step 2: Stitch 1/4" on either side of each line. I use my 1/4" foot. If you don't have a 1/4" foot, you may want to mark your lines before sewing.
Step 3: Cut the square in half in both the horizontal and vertical directions to make four squares.
Step 4: Cut on your original marked diagonal lines.
Step 5: Press seams. Note: If you are pressing seams open (which is my preference), you'll have to trim off the stitches in your seam allowance as shown in the first picture below. This can be done with scissors or your rotary cutter.
Step 6: Trim down each HST to the desired size. Use the chart below to determine the largest HST you can make from each starting square size.
I'm participating in Cheryl's Meadow Mystery quilt along. By "participating" I've been mostly "watching everyone else make progress sewing for the past 3 1/2 months while I do nothing."
In September, when the first sewing instructions came out, I cut out all my fabric (only a month behind schedule). This week I finally sewed some of that fabric together. So far, I've finished the September, October, and November sewing steps. And I'm about a third of the way done with the December sewing. With any luck I'll finish those blocks up today and switch gears to a couple free motion quilting projects that I'd like to finish in the next week or so.
First, September's instructions were all about HSTs. I made 56 HSTs using the two-at-a-time method. 32 of them went together in these four colorful blocks and the other 24 (butterflies/white, not all shown) were awaiting further instruction. I'm so pleased with having chosen the Tula print for the variations in color it brings to the project. My last mystery quilt was scrappy for each set of fabric. This time I stuck to one fabric for each set, but this print brings a bit of that scrappy quality that I love.
October's instructions were to make all the hourglass and half hourglass blocks (52 total!). You can better see here that my white is actually a white on white print with small flowers.
November's instructions were to create the 16 flying geese and 16 square in a square units. I'm a little concerned that my square in a square units don't quite have a quarter inch seam allowance off all the points. Hopefully I don't lose too many points from my inner squares once these are pieced into larger units. I totally could have ripped out all my stitching before I trimmed them so that I could fix my seam allowance, but it seems this was one of those "done is better than perfect" moments. ;-)
Today I used a bunch of those units from September and October's sewing to start making these blocks. There are nine in all to make in December. I have three more to sew of each of the top blocks. I had all nine blocks up on the design wall and what stood out to me is that this quilt is going to be a lot of white. Perhaps that should have been apparent when there were 2 1/4 yards of my white fabric and 3 1/4 yards of my four other fabrics combined. But it didn't really hit me until today. I have never made a quilt with so much white fabric. That said, I'm excited to see it coming together. I'm eager to see what January holds for this project. It's feeling great to be nearly caught up. Note to self: start piecing the backing fabric. I think I'll use remnants of these fabrics and other purples.