Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of talented readers who take one pattern from each issue and make scrap quilts to inspire you. Today we begin posts featuring a new Scrap Squad quilt from Quiltmaker’s Nov/Dec issue.
You’ll find the pattern in the Nov/Dec issue of Quiltmaker, on newsstands now. The digital pattern is also available as a single from quiltandsewshop.com.
Today’s quilt is by Louisa Robertson from Merritt, British Columbia.
You’ll hear from her in her own words below.
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The process of Christmas Ribbons becoming a Corn Maze included many detours and changes of direction.
The detours began with those 6″ Snowball blocks. They’re perfect to show off a feature fabric as in the original quilt. But for a scrap quilt they presented a challenge. Perhaps I could add the snowball corners to scrappy pieced blocks? Wonky pieced log cabin blocks, just the right size, were at hand.
I added corners to a few blocks. Hmm—they are very busy and I just don’t like the effect.
Time for a new plan.
The colours of the season led me to a palette using some of the yellow and gold fabrics recently received as a gift. I decided on golds, rich browns, yellow-greens and reddish purples.
But I still had not solved the problem of the large pieces in the snowball blocks. Turning to my Electric Quilt software, I adapted the block by connecting the ends of the triangles producing a square-in-a-square.
This new block led to construction challenges because the resulting patches were non-standard, i.e. rotary cutting would involve guesswork between the eighth-inch lines of the ruler. That did not sound like fun, so I printed off a foundation piecing template.
I was able to rough-cut the pieces a bit too large and trim them to exact size as the block was constructed. My freezer paper foundations were re-usable. Three sets were enough to construct all 32 blocks.
As I worked I found that my fabrics included plenty of lights and lots of darks, but not enough of the mediums for that inner frame in the block. Raiding the stash of a friend helped fill this gap.
The smaller rectangular snowball units were simple to construct by adding triangles to corners of rectangles—although I was thoroughly sick of stitch-and-flip corners by the time this step was done!
As I played with these blocks in EQ I saw that turning the smaller snowball changed the direction of the design. Adding sashing to the design opened it up, giving more space around the Snowball blocks and creating a path between the blocks.
A dilemma emerged when it was time to decide on the background fabric. My favourite scrap quilts use “Total Scrap.” However, the only colour family in my collection that would accommodate the large area of background fabrics needed was lights/creams. I wanted to use blues to suggest the summer sky behind the corn fields. Finding a good variety in the right value range would be a challenge.
A visit to my LQS confirmed that it would be difficult to gather a stack of blues that would play together gently enough to back up my muted colours. However, on the sale table I found one lovely blue print. I purchased a generous length and took it home.
For a few days I wavered back and forth between cream and blue. At last I re-read my teaching notes in which I tell students that scrap-plus-constant is a good way to give unity to a scrappy design, and I convinced myself that yes, I could use this single fabric for background.
A path was created by adding sashing pieces between blocks, some pieced, others plain. Sashing units are the same size as the F units of the smaller snowball block. Strip piecing made the construction simple, and pressing the seams to one side ensured that seams would interlock.
The components of the quilt barely fit on my design wall. I sewed them together row by row, carefully checking my “map” to make sure the path through the maze would come out correctly.
Then it was time to create the maze by filling in the sashing pieces.
I added simple borders to repeat the colours in the blocks and continue the path out to the edge of the quilt.
The quilting step gave me an opportunity to play with designs, knowing that my errors and wobbles would not be very visible on the printed fabrics. I practiced “pebbles” in all the areas of the quilt that were the “path” of the maze.
This took a long time – and lots of thread! I emptied 12 bobbins on that part of the quilting. I outlined the blocks to make them stand out more clearly and quilted a spiral flower design through the pieced blocks.
This might be my new favourite quilt!