I’m within half a breath of being caught up with my deadlines, which means I have a rare opportunity to sew what I want to sew. There are many projects on my personal list but because it’s almost October, the new Halloween Figs has risen to the top.
The fabrics in the original quilt are from a Moda line by Fig Tree called All Hallow’s Eve, but I didn’t wish to buy a kit and it seems that little yardage is still available. I’ve heard rumors that it will be reprinted but in the meantime, I want to make my quilt.
It’s not hard to find Pine Burr inspiration online. The quilt above is listed for sale at lstDibs with a price tag of $7500. It’s described as “exceptional African American pine burr quilt. All hand quilted and pieced. Found in Selma, Alabama. Fantastic color placement and design. These quilts were made with leftover fabric and clothing.”
The date is given as 1920s and the style is designated as folk art. It’s 60″ x 75″ which makes each block around 12″ square.
Two things piqued my interest in Pine Burr. One was the Bellevue Arts Museum’s exhibition “Bold Expressions: African American Quilts” of more than 50 pieces from the Corrine Riley Collection in the fall of 2012. The quilt above was part of the exhibit.
Last year I had this idea: Design a Christmas quilt with giant candy canes. The candy canes would be so big they’d cover the entire quilt. I nestled them together and topped them off with a Starlite™ mint.
Quilty magazine published them as Prancer’s Peppermints in the Nov/Dec ’18 issue.
Then I thought it might be fun to make a giant pineapple quilt, and that’s how Welcome was born.
At the end of last year I decided I would make a climate quilt to record the high and low temperatures of each day in 2019.
I would use Baby Windmill blocks, which have a way of creeping into everything I do.
I messed around with some ideas.
The Churn Dash Cross block appeared during the recent Churn Dash Remix here on Stash Bandit. It’s an ordinary Churn Dash but it has been recolored to emphasize different parts of the design.
Here are instructions to make the block which finishes at 9″.
The back story: I was away from my machine for four weeks this summer so I played with the traditional Churn Dash in Electric Quilt. I called it the Churn Dash Remix.
We’ve played with block proportions, now let’s mess around with settings. A setting is just how blocks will be put together. A setting can be blocks arranged in horizontal rows or on point, blocks with sashing or without, blocks arranged vertically or randomly—there are endless variations.
While I was away from my studio for the arrival of new grandbabies, I dreamed up the Churn Dash Remix so that I could play with virtual quilt designs in Electric Quilt design software. I used a basic traditional Churn Dash quilt block as my starting point. If you missed it, check out Part 1.
In the first part, we left the block proportions alone and just played with the lights and darks plus some scrappy variations. Pretty entertaining! But now we’re getting to the really fun stuff: altering the size of the block’s grid.
I’m away from home for several weeks because I have new twin granddaughters, born in Hong Kong about two weeks ago. It’s been a whirlwind with so many emotions, and it’s been wonderful.
The short story is that everyone is doing great! I’ve had a lot of extra time with my grandsons, ages 3 and 7, as everyone adjusts to new babies. It’s been heaven on earth.
Being away from my studio for three weeks means that I don’t have much to share on the sewing front, but it has given me an opportunity to create some virtual designs in EQ8. In case you’re not familiar, EQ8 is quilt design software from The Electric Quilt Company. It’s an incredibly powerful tool and I design most of my quilts with it.
I dreamed up something called Churn Dash Remix last week in order to demonstrate some concepts about color and design while I’m away from my machine. I’m using the simple Churn Dash block as my starting point. Just above you’ll see a basic version with a nine-patch grid so that each of the three columns of patches is of equal width.
There is a lot you can do with just color and value before you ever alter the proportions of the block. Just above, the background patches become more important with zesty teal and a large-scale hot pink/orange. So simple, but effective.
Changed it up a little for a whole new look. Yellow adds spice to just about anything.
Now let’s rearrange the value placement. Value is just the lightness or darkness of the fabrics compared to their neighbors. The block above hardly looks like a Churn Dash, but it is. All I’ve done is place the lights and darks in different spots.
Here I’ve substituted reddish-pink roses for the aqua, and I love it! Plus-sign designs have been hot for a while. Have you seen them popping up in magazines, books and on social media? Who knew that a humble Churn Dash could masquerade as a plus sign?!
One more variation, above. Before we leave these proportions, let’s look at a few scrappy versions.
Here’s a tip:
One easy way to elevate your block to something special is to swap the normally light background for a dark one.
The navy blue above is a good example. The block is more exciting just by letting the Churn Dash shapes be lighter than the background and almost glow against the dark blue.
The same block with pinks instead of yellows. Here’s another tip:
The most important thing in a scrappy block is that the values in the different areas are similar.
See how all the dark background fabrics above read in a similar way? Nothing sticks out as a lot lighter. Same for the pinks: They’re all about the same medium value.
But here is what people sometimes do:
See how two of the background patches, even though they are blue, are much lighter? That doesn’t work in this case. The backgrounds need to be similar in value if they’re to work together as one.
You’ll notice that some of the pinks are more peachy and some are more purply, but that’s a good thing! The value is much more important than the shade of pink. Variety in the shades of pink makes the block interesting and engaging as long as the pinks are similar in value, which is just lightness or darkness.
Here’s the block in scrappy navy and aqua. Love it!
Everything we’ve done has just been with color and value. Wait until you see what happens when we change up the block proportions in the next post! So much fun!
My patriotic quilt called Indivisible came out in the July/August issue of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting.
This idea was born during a work day that my guild hosted to make Quilts of Valor. I made a few Friendship Stars as kind of a soup starter, not sure where they would lead. Our bin of donated fabrics had a wide red stripe in it, and I started thinking about combining it with the stars. Long story short, this is the design that emerged.