Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Sunday Paper - or inspired by the parts department.

As has been my process lately, I've been slowly whittling away at my scrap collection.  Slowly is the operative word. It is hard to go fast when you don't know where you are going!

I started this project with no plan in mind other than to put scrap strips together log cabin style. I chain piece starting with the smallest strip and work my way through about six blocks at a time.. until I get tired of sewing and then I square each block up.  None of the scraps are equal in width, so some blocks have more strips around than others. Also, I don't follow a light/dark patterning. What to do with them once they are squared?

I could put them together to create a mishmash. That didn't appeal to me.

I could stick them into my parts department box.  (The parts department is a concept I learned from Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran. In preparing for their collaborative quilting projects, they made various block pieces ahead of time, not knowing just how they would use them. The idea was to provide time efficiency when they got together to make the quilts.) I really wanted to make something with my scraps and not have them sitting around in a box waiting for an idea.  I dug into my parts department box and found 10 more similarly pieced blocks waiting. With 16 log-cabinish squares available I had to do something.

I decided to feature each block separately, so I turned each on point and surrounded them with strips of text prints and other neutrals.  These strips were sewn to the blocks in a log cabin fashion. But, after three rounds of text I realized that the center blocks (measuring six inches square) were getting lost.  By now I had decided that the finished block would be 20" square.
First rendition of the 20 " blocks

Back in the parts department,  I found several long strips of scraps approximately 2.5 inches wide. Just what I needed.   I ended up sewing many more scraps into strips. These replaced the third round of text strips mentioned above.

trying out the scrappy strips

Once the colorful strips were sewn on I had to come up with a way to deal with the corner triangles.
I sewed three rows of rectangles for each corner. Then I took my 20.5" square ruler and laid it on the block, lining up the centering lines with the corners of the central blocks. This showed me where to trim the color strips and where to mark the midpoint of each side. Once the big block was trimmed and marked, I matched it to the midpoint of the strips that would make the corner triangles.

The faint white lines show the centering lines I used to trim the block

trimmed and ready for corners. 

Pins show matching midpoints

Corners attached. 
ready for trimming

one block 20.5" x 20.5"

16 blocks

When I tried sewing these blocks together, I found too many discrepancies.  The ruler had slipped while I was trimming. Consequently, some were smaller than the others, never by much but enough to skew everything.  Another problem to solve.

Cornerstones and sashing were added all around and it worked to add another dimension to the quilt and to disguise any mistakes.

The final version

By this time, I had a name for the quilt.  When I was little, the local paper published the funnies in color. That was a big deal.  The scraps of color and the text and gray reminded me of that... hence, The Sunday Paper - printed with lots of help from the parts department.


  1. Great looking quilt! I love how each adjustment you made added another dimension... very clever!

  2. Your hard work paid off, this is a wonderful idea ! Great job~
    :-} pokey

  3. It's looking great, I agree if you had stuck with just scraps it might have looked a bit messy, but with the black and white elements it has come out looking very cohesive, and interesting story that you have shared on the evolution of your ideas for this pieces. Did you make a dent in your scrap pile??!! :)

  4. Your Sunday Paper is a clever beauty. I love the neutral space between the colorful scrap blocks.
    A winner in my books. Thanks

  5. Absolutely wonderful - the design story, the inclusion of "the funnes" to make everyone smile, and the quilt's name. LOVE!!!

  6. Funnies ... The funnies ... (Sigh)

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  8. Impressive!

    I'm burning through strings, experimenting with log cabins of various sorts. Slow process. Love that thought--"hard to go fast if you don't know where you are going." Story of my life right now in this phase of quilting.

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