Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Little Big Quilt

I love taking classes, but I don't have much time to do that anymore. When my parents lived in Atlanta and I was footloose and fancyfree, I drove to visit and take a class with the Little Quilts ladies. It was designed as a methods class in which you produced a small star quilt (4 blocks). The goal was to learn their method for selecting colors, using "magic" colors that spark others, using mix-matched piecing, getting an antique-y feel to your quilt. Well, I left the class with four blocks and a mission. I just wanted to keep making these stars. I cut up my scraps and stash and through all the requisite pieces into a box. Then, I would sit for a couple hours "auditioning" fabrics and building the little stars. I would pre-assemble them and store each star--unsewn--between the pages of a quilt book. Eventually, I filled a few books and decided to sew. Then, I had stacks and stacks of stars . . . and absolutely no clue what to do with them. In looking at a book of antique quilts, I found a strippy set quilt. A-ha!! So, I set them this way. Here's the resulting quilt:

Years after taking that first class, I had the opportunity to show my finished quilt top to the Little Quilts ladies, from whom I was taking another workshop at a retreat. They were suitably impressed. At that time, I had some loony notion that I would big stitch quilt it by hand. Um . . . yeah, that didn't work out. Instead, I finally finished machine quilting it a few months ago (about 7 yrs after starting the project). Each one of those setting triangles is quilted with a folked-out fleur- de-lis pattern, the stars are quilting in a plus sign, the setting sashes are quilted in rolling loops, and the border is quilted with stars. About half way through quilting this, I cursed myself and decided to never make another big project. But, I do love it!

In my second Little Quilts class, the goal was to learn their color techniques (which I already had down after obsessively making a billion star blocks) and to make a small 4-patch doll quilt with these techniques. Well, about 75% of the class seemed really confused about the color stuff, so while they kvetched, I made my four patch quilt. And, then, with more than half the class to go, I was essentially done. This is when I learned that nothing turns a quilting class against a member faster than being efficient and paying attention (meow!). At this time, I was really obsessed with 16-patches for some reason, and sitting there, I realized that I could turn a lot of my 4-patch scraps into strip sets to make little 16-patches. So, I did. This also peeved a lot of people, because now I was making an even more intricate quilt while they were struggling with the 4-patch (really meow). Good gravy. Anyway, this is the quilt that resulted:

Like the larger quilt, this small one hangs in my office. The 16-patch blocks are 3.5 inches, I think. It's quilted fairly minimally. I gave the 4-patch to my sister, and it's somewhere in her house. It had the best pink in it. Ah, fabric memories.

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