The Scrap Squad is a select group of eight QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue and make scrappy versions to inspire others. A brand new team for 2013 has just finished their first project. Four members of the team were recently introduced here.
The original quilt appears in Quiltmaker‘s March/April ’13 issue and is named Majestic Garden.
It was designed and sewn by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts in Rockford, Illinois. It was quilted by Sue Glorch. The fabrics are Monique’s own Royal Gardens for Maywood Studio.
Today’s featured quilt is by Gina Elias from Spring Valley, Illinois. Gina blogs about quilting and knitting—from the look of things, she knits a lot! You’ll hear from Gina in her own words below.
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The first thing I did when I received Majestic Garden was to recreate the block in Electric Quilt. The drawing in the pattern had a strong diagonal line because of the darker value fabric. I started playing with values and placed a light value on the diagonal line instead.
I chose earth tones as my color palette. I make a lot of quilts out of earth tones so I have a lot of fabric and scraps available. However, I also set “quilting resolutions” for the new year and one of them was to use colors that I don’t normally use. Orange is one of those colors, plus it’s an earth tone, so orange became a focal color in this quilt.
Time to pull from my stash. I keep my fabric that is a half yard or less in labeled bins like these on my shelf.
I began there and pulled out some browns, oranges, lime greens, and golds. My background was going to be a variety of light tans and creams.
I changed the picture to black and white to check the value. (Editor’s note: You can easily do this in Microsoft Word or by using free photo editing software. You can also put fabrics on a copy machine and make a black and white copy of them to check the values.)
I check the value because I tend not to use enough mediums in my quilts. The gold fabrics were supposed to be my mediums but they were too dark—I wanted them to recede, to give the other colors more impact. I swapped those gold fabrics out for lighter gold and dark tan fabrics.
I also tend to pull fabrics from my stash bins that are too similar. I’ve found that if I add fabrics slightly darker and slightly lighter, it gives the quilt more “sparkle” and movement. Enter the 2½” strip bucket and my 11-year-old daughter.
2 ½” strips work for this quilt because I use a triangle ruler (like the Easy Angle) to make the 2 ½” half-square triangles in this quilt.
Once I had my color palette and my scraps sorted, I made a test block.
1970’s here I come! I don’t like the brown and green so close together. What to do? Swap the green out for RED! Red is the new black—at least in my quilts! Red goes with everything.
Another advantage to using the red? I already had a couple dozen red/cream half-square triangles leftover from a previous quilt. BONUS!
Much better. I didn’t throw away the green/cream units because I liked them paired with orange.
The center went together seamlessly. Pun intended!—there were seams—just no problems!
I liked the green border above but my family did not.
I tried this dark brown batik but decided it was too dark.
This wood grain fabric looks a bit brown and a bit orange. This was the winner.
That little half tan/cream star in every other row was bothering me so I went back to the drawing board (EQ) and played with extending some of the rows into the border to complete the light star blocks. At another Scrap Squad member’s suggestion, I tried two different versions—one where the star only was extended and one where the star and the cream background were extended.
I liked both versions, but my border fabric had a direction with the wood grain and I’d have to really watch how I pieced the half-square triangles. I opted for the easier piecing and went with the whole block extended. I was already going to miter the corners because of my border fabric choice and that was enough brain activity for this border!
To quilt the top, I chose a gold thread and quilted freehand swirls in the center blocks with 1″ spaced squiggle lines encircling the border. I bound the quilt in the same fabric as the border.
I like the quilt and the pattern. Even though I stayed with a palette I was comfortable with, I like the how the orange really adds something that my ordinary earth tone quilts lack.
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I’d say this year’s Scrap Squad is off to a terrific start! Please join me in congratulating Gina for a great job on this project. We all know how hard it can be to branch out with colors you don’t normally use. Take a cue from Gina and try it on your next quilt!