Life happened and I didn’t get to quilt my Marsala top(s) yet. Heck, I only just managed to get some last much-needed fabric for the back yesterday. But that’s ok, I’m really happy with my top and would not have wanted to mess up the quilting by rushing and trying to get it done by today. So here it is, Marsala Spice is my official entry for the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge!
Size: 72″ x 72″
Material: Assorted 100% cotton fabrics, including an over-dyed solid
Pattern: Own design (watch this space for a tutorial…)
A reminder of my original design:
More info on the Pantone Challenge can be found at On The Windy Side and play crafts. Thanks guys, it has been awesome fun working with a colour that I would probably never have tried otherwise. 😀 No, honestly, I’m serious! 😉
Yay! It’s not completely as I envisaged it, but it’s ok. No idea whether I’m going to get it quilted in time, but if I don’t I’ll just enter it as a top only. If nothing else, I really like how the block came out in large quantities (and large sizes).
Obligatory close-ups/gate picture:
I’ve started putting a back together for it, using some spare blocks and the un-dyed fabric I bought:
The centre is together now and I’ve started adding the necessary borders, only to discover that I fluffed my calculations a bit and I’m short on two sides. Argh. 🙁 Back to the fabric shop on Monday, I guess!
A Marsala Side-Project
While I was making the Marsala Spice blocks I ended up with a pile of HST units needing a home, so I pieced them randomly together:
Then, because I wanted to test out a possible idea for another quilt, I stacked pairs of blocks together and cut them up again, then skiffled the bits about to make two new “fractured” blocks:
They trimmed up nicely to 5″ square and made 12 new blocks in total, to make this:
It’s an interesting effect, though quite difficult with HSTs of this size and density; the reverse is a nightmare of seam bulk.
I was thinking of turning it into a cushion or maybe adding the blocks to the back of the main quilt, but those seams would make it rather less than comfortable. It’ll probably be a wall hanging, assuming I don’t break ALL the needles trying to quilt it. :s
On Friday I blasted through a bunch more Marsala Spice blocks and then finished the last few off this evening, so that I now have three complete blocks for each variant – over-dyed solid, print and un-dyed solid (oh, yeah, I went and bought a lot more of the Marsala solid I started with). And….
….I dunno. I skiffled some of the blocks around on Stef’s floor on Friday, rather unconvinced by the combination. She suggested running the print blocks as a diagonal across the quilt, with the solids arranged around it, but when I tried it with all the blocks on my own floor, the result was a bit underwhelming. So much so that I didn’t bother to photograph it. I didn’t HATE it, but I certainly didn’t love it, either. In desperation, I summoned Mum for a second opinion (once I’d finished clarifying that I liked the colours and I liked the pattern, I just didn’t like how I’d ended up interpreting them). Mum suggested distributing the print blocks about more evenly, and in doing so I ended up with them arranged in an X across the quilt. This looks…. better?
Maybe. After considering it some more (and mysteriously referring to the two gold/brown fabrics as “green”), Mum noted that the un-dyed solid just doesn’t look as good against the other fabrics as the over-dyed fabric does. I do see what she means (strange comments about fabric colour notwithstanding). And the mixture of the two solids looks a bit weird. I think I’m going to have to cut down the variety to just the over-dyed and print blocks, which I should be able to do with some careful cutting. The “spare” un-dyed blocks can go on the back.
Interested in the possibility of potential patterns formed by arranging the print blocks in different ways, I shuffled some more and came up with this:Yeah, the different-coloured solids still look weird. I must do something about those. And I MUST-MUST-MUST do my quilt maths BEFORE I buy my fabrics next time! >_< It’s quite possible that I’m going to end up with a layout like this:Perhaps not fabulously exciting/original/modern/whatever all the cool kids like, but it would work…
At last, I’ve made a proper start on my Marsala Spice quilt! Here are some assembled blocks! I’m thrilled by the colours so far. As a reminder, here’s the palette I picked from Pantone’s website:
Not a bad match, eh? 🙂 So there’s good progress, but I have a problem. Part of the problem is that I’m short of my over-dyed Marsala colour so I can’t make the big 72″ x 72″ quilt I’d had in mind with it. And I really like that quite strong, graphic look of the basic blocks, so in many ways I don’t want to detract from it by adding complications. I still have another “marsala” fabric that may yet get added into the mix, but it is patterned and looks quite different to my solid Marsala and I’m having trouble picturing how it’s all going to work together.
When I get a chance I’m probably going to churn out some more blocks using the leafy fabric, probably in both large and small versions, and then skiffle everything about until I get something I like. Spare blocks will probably end up on the back.
I wasn’t happy with how burgundy my Marsala fabric appeared in some lights, so I decided to hit it with some dye.
After some deliberation, I picked Dylon’s dark brown. I only wanted to shift the shade of the fabric a few clicks towards brown, so I only used one sachet despite having slightly more than 250g of fabric to dye.This plastic bucket was the perfect size to hold both fabric and dye and kept me from making an epic mess of the kitchen sink! In fact, the only thing I managed to unintentionally dye was myself:
When dyeing, it’s important to establish beforehand that your gloves don’t leak!The packet of dye suggested a total immersion time of an hour, but I decided to remove my fabric after only half an hour because I didn’t want it to be too brown. Then I rinsed it out really well and threw it in the washing machine with a couple of colour catchers (which came out very brown!).
I’m really quite pleased with the final colour; it seems more red-brown now rather than burgundy.I was disappointed that I didn’t get a textured look at all, but I’m not sure this dye works like that and I did stir the fabric in it pretty well. Anyway, I like this colour and I’m looking forward to seeing it in my blocks. With luck, I should get a chance to get started with cutting and piecing this weekend. After some back-of-envelope calculations, I’ve realised I don’t have enough of this fabric to be able to make the size of quilt I want with the large (24″) blocks, but I should be able to do something good with the small (12″) blocks, or maybe even a combination of the two. That’ll teach me to buy fabric first and do the maths later! (But probably not.)
I finally got a chance to test the blocks for my Marsala quilt, and I am extremely pleased to discover that they work!
Excuse the somewhat random fabric selection, I basically rummaged through my stash and pulled out whatever I could find that I had a good amount of and didn’t mind using up. (Though I think it could have been MUCH worse!)
The large block is a rather giant 24.5″ square; each sub-block in it is 12.5″ square.
The small block is exactly 1/4 the size of the large block, weighing in at a svelte 12.5″ square (6.5″ sub-blocks).
In terms of piecing, it’s all pretty straightforward (although I did have a Special moment when doing the smaller version where I sewed the wrong corners onto four identical units and had to re-cut and re-do them). The larger one is much easier in terms of handling to put together, and has more tolerance of error, whereas the smaller one is a little more fiddly and offers less wriggle room for mistakes. Right now I’m not sure which I prefer, though I’m leaning towards the larger version.
Another consideration is the fact that I have TWO Marsala-coloured fabrics, which I am trying to figure out how to best combine in the blocks:
Certainly, if I want to do any curved piecing, I would be much better off making the larger block! Of these examples, I quite like option 1 or option 3/4.
Lastly, I need to consider quilt size. If I choose the big block, my quilt is likely to end up being ~72″ square (three blocks wide, three blocks long), but I’m less sure about the size I’d want to make if I choose the small block. And borders? Do I want borders? I don’t know!