Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why I Love Traditional Blocks . . .

I was one of those kids who spent a lot of church staring at the panelling behind the pulpit counting how many strips of panelling were contained in each row, or staring at the tiles on a restaurant floor trying to figure out the order they had been laid out in. This is why even through I love free piecing and the freedom of "Modern" quilting, I also love traditional blocks laid out in traditional patterns.

For example, I've been working on this sweet little peach and yellow hourglass quilt for my friend Emily. I started with this stack of peach and yellow and white fabrics - some of which I didn't use. But as you can see, there's a lot of medium tones in that stack. Because Emily likes clean, and simple, I made about half the blocks with white and one other medium to dark value fabric. But because Emily also likes vintage, I made the other half of the blocks with a light-to-medium print and a medium-to-dark print.
 I initially tried to lay these out the same way as they were laid out in the tutorial I followed , which only had white and a medium / dark pink. In that quilt, the blocks form a secondary hourglass pattern.
I found that this layout didn't really form anything with my blocks, as you can see in the top right of the photo. So I started playing with the layouts of the blocks, and I discovered that with a few alterations, I could get this pattern:
That is a lot of secondary pattern bang for your buck, don't you think? First there's the appearance of on point dark / light square in squares. Then there's a sawtooth star in the white fabrics as well as another star that I don't know the name of . . .and if you look really closely there's something that looks a little bit like a  churn dash block as well . . . in any case, this is the kind of quilt that I would love to hang somewhere to stare at all day. Or at least I hope it will be when I'm done.

And that is why as much as I love the energy and boldness of modern very simple quilts, I also love making these kinds of quilts too - pattern and colour and value play are so satisfying.


  1. I agree - traditional blocks and patterns are always so interesting. This quilt is going to look great.

  2. Beautiful! She will love it!!