2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

It was only relatively recently that I heard about Pantone’s Colour of the Year thingie, when I saw a blog post with a quilt made in 2014’s colour, Radiant Orchid.  Intrigued by the idea of a challenge to make a quilt in a colour I might not usually choose, I decided to keep an eye out for this year’s colour, which turned out to be….
2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

Marsala.  Hmmm.  Pantone says:

A naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls.

Ummm, I’m not sure I’d go that far, but ok.

From what I’ve seen, Marsala has not met with overwhelming joy and excitement (there’s at least one blog post floating around with some hilarious alternative names for it).  To encourage enthusiasm for this year’s colour, On The Windy Side and play crafts are jointly running the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge, and I decided I couldn’t resist starting another project!  In fairness, the colour is growing on me, assisted by the fact that Pantone has helpfully provided several palettes based around Marsala here.

The name Marsala makes me think of marsala tea and rich aromatic spices, so I found myself drawn to palette 2:pantone_marsala

I love the warm spicy look of these colours with the bright coral to liven everything up.  As far as a quilt design goes, I was attracted to the idea of the mysterious East, Islamic motifs and exotic souks (because I am endlessly fascinated by Islamic tile designs).  By chance, I happened to spot a tile design in a magazine that would, I thought, be perfect for this challenge – interesting enough without being horrendous to piece.  Grabbing some graph paper and MS Paint, I doodled about to see if it was something I could successfully translate into my chosen colour scheme and into fabric.Marsala_01

This is an initial mock-up of my design in Paint, and I like it a lot.  Yay!  Although I showed it to mum and she said, “Oooo, that’s nice!  Does it have to be those colours?”  After I explained about the Pantone thing, she commented that Marsala looks like the colour a person with cyanosis goes, so I guess this quilt won’t be for her, then!  After fiddling about considerably with my graph paper, I’ve come up with three possible versions of the basic block for this design, which I need to mock up before I start cutting up fabric in earnest (not least because one version is HUGE and I need to be quite sure I want the scale that large before I start).

My next task was to buy the fabric, since I have none of those colours in my stash (certainly not in any significant quantity).  Luckily(!) we’d planned a Quilt Club outing on Thursday to the local fabric shop, where I was overjoyed to discover that 1) I was *not* the only person to have heard of the Pantone Colour of the Year thing and 2) there was a good selection of all the colours I was looking for, including several candidates for Marsala itself.  Phew!  These are the fabrics I settled on finally (the two golden colours got chosen almost instantly, as did the coral, the marsala shades took a little longer):Marsala Spice fabrics

There was also a bit of a challenge in explaining exactly what I had in mind to everyone else, given that I’d run out of the door that morning without bothering to pick up any of my sketches of the design.  Handwaving apparently did a very poor job of explaining what I wanted to do and I ended up scrawling a rough outline on a paper napkin, which wasn’t much better!  And there was also a problem with the fact that, since I still haven’t trialled my block sizes or done any manner of yardage calculation or considered how big to make the quilt, I haven’t really got a clue how much fabric I needed.  (Sometimes I plan EVERYthing meticulously, other times I screw my eyes shut and run screaming head-first into an idea; guess which this is?)  As a result, I’ve probably overbought at least some of them, but I can always find something to do with extra fabric!  After all, it’ll need backing, possibly a border too.

If anyone is interested, I also tried the tile design in different suggested Pantone palettes.  Some work better than others; my favourite is still the first one I tried!

It’s really interesting to see how the same design changes depending on colour choice and placement.

My plan for now is to run up small and large test blocks to get a feel for the construction and how I like the scale (I have a feeling I’ll prefer the larger version, but you never know), then figure out how big a quilt I want/can make with what I’ve bought.  Watch this space for more Marsala Spice!  :D

Play Craft’s Equal – CUTTING! SEWING!

See here and here for my previous posts about using Play Craft’s Equal.

Frostbyte triangles

I love these fabrics, they’re so SPARKLY!  (Even if my cutting and ironing boards are now covered in glitter.)  Anyway, these are some of the triangles I’ve cut for Frostbyte; they are 4.75, 2.75 and 1.75″ tall, and have been cut starting from the largest and working down, which worked well because I could cut up any left-overs from larger strips for the smaller triangles.

Half-equilateral triangles

Not the same!

I also re-discovered that not all half-triangles are created equal!  Initially I just cut them at random without referring to my printed Frostbyte diagram, but then part-way through cutting the medium-coloured, medium-sized triangles it occurred to me to check against my print-out and I realised that a lot of the ones I’d cut didn’t “point” the right way.  Ooops.  But fortunately I realised in time and could cut the rest of the ones I needed the right way around, though I did have to go back and re-cut both the large dark half-triangles.

Medium triangles

Part-way through cutting the smallest triangs, I confess I got kind of bored (I’d done all the dark ones and was still faced with the prospect of cutting some 220-odd more light- and medium coloured ones, blah!), so I took the large and medium triangs over to the sewing machine and started piecing neighbouring same-size triangs into strips in a vague sort of way.

Triangle strips

This is not entirely how I intended to piece this, but I think it’ll work.  I also think that my medium-coloured fabrics are a bit light in places (depends which bit of the print is showing), but I think I’m still going to like the finished product, even if it’s not identical to the concept image.Triangle stripsWhee!  :D  (We’ll see if I’m still squeeing when I have to join triangles of different sizes…)

Linking up with Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday.

Play Craft’s Equal – Yardage calculations

See here for my wall of text introduction to making a quilt by using Play Craft’s Equal.

FrostByteThis thing is still preying on my mind, so I decided to crunch some numbers and see if I could calculate yardage estimates for making it!  :D  I adore stuff like this, I really do.  (Hey, I’m a scientist – clue’s in the blog name!  ;))  This post is likely to get pretty mathsy pretty quick, but I’ll do my best to explain my workings and keep it all clear.

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Baby Chevrons progress

HST blocksThese have been sitting around in a poly-bag for far too long, all trimmed and ready to go, so I finally got up the enthusiasm (and floor space!) to lay out, join and quilt them:Final arrangementThis is the final layout I decided on – a randomly mixed variant really wasn’t working for me.  Annoyingly, I found that I had two pink blocks too many and not enough greens, so I ended up remaking those two with a left-over blue charm square (thank goodness I saved the “spare” two) and reshuffled things a little so the colours flowed better.

I added borders of yellow polka-dots, and backed it with the same:With bordersI still don’t know what I think of these charm squares – they’re quite strange shades, really.  Very hard to match with anything.  But I’m very pleased I struck on this arrangement, it should be cute enough for a little girl.  :)  Right now I’m most of the way through straight-line quilting it with some multicoloured variegated thread in similar soft colours and it’s looking really good!  More stuff to add to my “needs binding!” pile.  ;)

Playing with Play Craft’s Equal

I stumbled across Play Craft’s blog while looking for information about Pantone’s Colour of the Year and noted with interest the web-based quilting tools they have available there: Palette Builder, Color Play and Equal.  The last one in particular caught my eye, being the lover of equilateral triangles that I am!  After poking it for a bit, I decided to see if I can make a quilt from a generated pattern and document the process.

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Quilting the Japan Fan Club

Japan_Fans_1002_4It’s all gone a bit Art Deco, and I LIKE it!  :DJapan Fans quilting

I did most of the outline quilting on the fans at Quilt Club last week, now I’m working on the straight lines on the “plain” halves of the fan blades.  One half of the curtain is now quilted like this, next I will do the same to the other half and then steel myself for the FMQ.Japan Fans quiltingI was worried that the metallic thread would be too much on the blades (especially the black ones), but I think it helps to differentiate fans from frames, which is important given they’re all the same fabrics!  This is particularly important for the red fans because they sit right next to the red frames.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Project Linus – The Scrappening

After finishing the two Bear Adventures tops, I found I had quite a lot of squares and strips left over.  In the spirit of not wanting to waste anything from the charity’s supplies, I cut the strips into more squares, made a big pile of four-patches and then pieced them into four bigger squares in a fairly random way.butterflies_2The sashing and borders are from my own stash.  It reminds me a lot of a window, and the green and yellow looks like dappled forest light.  Although I like this a lot, it’s not really very kid-friendly (it looks like the world’s greenest wall hanging), so I rummaged in my scrap drawer for some colourful bits and threw some butterflies at it:Butterfly WindowMuch better!  :D

The butterflies were added with fusible web, but could do with a bit of zigzag or blanket stitch around them to make sure they stay put and give them a nice bit of definition.  Quilt Club is tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to handing my three Linus tops to Cath so she can add them to the cause.  :)

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Project Linus Sewing Day

Cath from Quilt Club has been involved with Project Linus for some time, and recently became an organiser for our area.  In a show of solidarity and team spirit, most of Quilt Club showed up to attend her first Project Linus Sewing Day last Thursday.  We were told to turn up armed with our sewing machines only, everything else (including thread) would be provided.Linus_2901_2

She wasn’t kidding!  There was a long table crammed with baskets full of enticing fabrics (why are other peoples’ scraps always more interesting?), wadding, loads of reels of thread (though I ended up using my own because I prefer to piece with cotton).  As well as familiar Quilt Club faces, there were several people I hadn’t met before, including the lady who runs night classes in PW&Q at the local college.  Everyone was very friendly and keen to quilt up a storm of Linus quilts!

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The Scraps of my Heart(s)

After making all the heart blocks for the Wedding Quilt, I was left with a whole bunch of half-square triangles trimmed from the corners.  The larger triangles come from the bases of the hearts, the smaller ones are from the top points of the hearts.heart_scraps_largeheart_scraps_small
I didn’t keep all the off-cut triangles; some weren’t cut well and I chucked some of the smaller ones because I wasn’t sure they’d be big enough to do anything sensible with.  But there’s still a whole bunch of the things!  :o

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A Billion WIPs

Doing that WIP Wednesday Thing again!  Does twice count as a habit?

I’ve been muddling along with quite a few different projects recently.  Why is finishing things so hard?  But actually, I am beginning to feel more on top of my current projects.  Woo!

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