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Supernova Quilt-Along: Finishing the Supernova Blocks

Welcome back to the Supernova Quilt-Along! Before we get started, let me say that this has been a ridiculous amount of fun for me. I love seeing the gorgeous Supernova blocks that you all have put together and posted in the Flickr group. There are some amazing quilts coming together, if I do say so myself! Here are just a FEW of my favorites:

1. “Landing Strip” Supernova 1, 2. supernova mosaic, 3. SuperNova, 4. Supernova subblocks, 5. supernova2, 6. IMG_3536, 7. Supernova block #1, 8. SN Design wall, 9. March 039, 10. Piecing Sub Blocks – Supernova Quilt Along 1-9, 11. Supernova Piecing, 12. Supernova blocks

And it’s not too late to join in. Click here to find links to all the posts. In fact, you can follow along with the series at any time later on, whenever the mood strikes you.

Anyway, it looks like you ladies participating in the Flickr group are itching to finish these blocks—if you haven’t done so already! So here we go:

1. Start with the four pieced sub-units for your first block, shown here.

2. Of the pieces you originally cut for your first block, you should have 13 3″ squares left—four each of three prints, and one of one additional print. Here are mine.

3. Lay out your remaining 3″ squares with the sub-units you pieced last week. The print square with no remaining mates will be at the center of your block. Arrange the remaining squares in rows between the sub-units, as shown in the photo above. You want the three remaining prints to work their way out, in the same order as the print progressions that you photographed during the planning and cutting phase.

4. You’re now seeing exactly what your completed block will look like when you finish piecing it. This is your last chance to evaluate the design and colors of your block, if you choose. I was planning to have you do some strip-piecing during this phase of the quilt-along, but I changed my mind about that, because I wanted to give you a small amount of design flexibility at this stage. So, if you like how your block looks, great! But if you want to tweak it, you can do that too—you could swap the order of your squares around, swap squares between blocks, or you could even cut a few new squares if you have the fabric and you’re really motivated.

I like to tweak, right up to the last minute. : ) So I decided I wanted a bit more contrast in the center of my block. I found a scrap of orange polka dots in my stash that I hadn’t originally planned on including in this quilt, and cut four more 3″ squares from that. Then I moved the orange/yellow squares toward the center, replacing the yellow lattice print, and ended up with the new layout shown above. Don’t worry, those yellow lattice-print squares won’t go to waste—in fact, I’m planning to incorporate them into the back of the quilt. Obviously I know changing out your fabric so late in the game isn’t doable for everyone. But this is a design-intensive quilt, and it can be difficult to make hard-and-fast fabric choices prior to seeing the block in this way.

In general, regardless of what type of quilt you’re working on or the fabric you’re using, I would encourage you to always keep evaluating your design and stay flexible with it right up to the point of no return—whatever that point may be with you. Sometimes the difference between an okay design and a great one is just a matter of a few small tweaks like the one I made above.

5. So now you’re ready to piece together your block! From here on out, it’s cake, I promise! Start by piecing together your 3″ squares as shown above. You’ll piece two units of three squares each, and one longer unit of 7 squares (including the center square).

6. Join each of the smaller three-square units in between two of the 8″ square sub-units, as shown above.

7. Join the top, middle strip, and bottom sections. There you have it, a completed Supernova block. Your block should measure 18″ square (14.5″ if you’re using a jelly roll). One block down, eight more to go!

And that’s it for this week—hope your Supernova blocks are coming together beautifully. Next week, we’ll be assembling our blocks and adding the borders for a completed quilt top. Those of you who would like to work ahead, please feel free to do so. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!


Block Party Entry

I wasn’t going to enter the Block Party at Quilt Story – I didn’t think I had any existing blocks that fit the bill, and I had too many other things going on to make one just for this. But I’ve been seeing all your posts with the blocks you’re entering, and I decided I couldn’t sit this one out. I guess peer pressure still works on me. If you all jumped off a bridge wearing nothing but your Flea Market Fancy yardage, I’d probably do that too.

So anyway, here’s what I came up with. I’m calling it “Photo Corners” because that’s kind of what it reminds me of. It’s basically a log cabin, but the logs have some bias piecing. I just sewed strips together like you would do with bias binding (lay them perpendicular, right sides facing, and sew across them diagonally). Voila!

Now go look at all the other pretty blocks at Quilt Story. I wish I had time to do a traditional one.

Fresh Poppy Design

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Hope Valley Top Complete

I finished my Hope Valley quilt top last night! I’m very happy with it, although I can’t say I’m sorry to be done piecing it. : )

This one started out as a sketch. I didn’t have any particular fabric in mind at the time—I was just sketching. But I knew I wanted small-scale prints with very little white. Hope Valley jumped to mind immediately.

Next, I made a mock-up in Adobe Illustrator. I don’t do mock-ups for all my quilts, but I knew this design would take some hard-core planning in order to pull it off, so no flying by the seat of my pants on this one! I like to use Illustrator for my mock-ups because you can import scans of your fabric and save them as pattern swatches in the color palette. Then you can easily fill any shape with that pattern—it will automatically repeat the pattern to fill any shape/size. It makes mocking up with prints easy, quick, and accurate.

Even with the mock-up, I kept making adjustments to the design as I pieced it. Most notably, I dumped the yellow/green inner squares. And that was after I sewed all the HSTs! (But before I squared them up, at least. And I’m sure those HSTs will make an appearance in something else.) There are a few other smaller differences between the mock-up and the finished top. I also went back and forth about the borders and sashing before finally settling on what you see here.

And I am so happy with how all of those seams came together! Finally my seams are starting to match up! As I finished piecing this last night, I thought back to when I started quilting and would get so frustrated because things just wouldn’t line up. It’s so nice to realize that all my failed attempts and all my practice are finally paying off. There are certainly places where this top could have come together better, but it is head-and-shoulders above where I was last year at this time. Now I just need to work on that quilting!

So of course, I’m planning to quilt this one myself—probably diagonal lines through all those little squares. Hopefully I can get to that after Thanksgiving.

Oh, I’m also adding this to Quilt Story‘s Fabric Tuesday. And don’t forget WIP Wednesday tomorrow—please join us with your WIPs!

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A Brand New Plan

So I have completely scrapped my original plan for the Three Generations quilt.

I made some of the alternating blocks (as shown in my digital “sketch” in this post). Somehow those blocks were both too plain, and took away too much of the focus away from the vintage pinwheel blocks. I’m not sure how it was possible to do both at once, but leave it to me to come up with something that doesn’t work in any respect. : )

(In retrospect, I think my mistake was that I got lazy and only scanned in one of my grandma’s original blocks for my digital design plan. As a result, my “sketch” didn’t accurately reflect the colorfulness of the real quilt.)

This is a special project, so I want it to be right. And the star of the show has to be the curved pinwheel blocks, especially the original five that my grandma hand-pieced all those years ago. So once I decided to scrap my original plan, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to better showcase those blocks. I also did some looking around online, and eventually came across this quilt from Red Pepper Quilts:

Pinwheel Baby Quilt by Red Pepper Quilts

Now, those whirlygigs really pop. So, with this quilt as my inspiration, I decided to frame out all my pinwheels in the same blue retro print I bought for the back of this quilt, and then sash it all in some sort of neutral, probably beige. (I love the putty color used on the Red Pepper quilt, but my mom and grandma aren’t big fans of anything even close to gray.) Then I’m going to fill it out with a pieced border or two to make the whole thing queen-size, so that my grandma can use it on her bed if she wants.

Of course, the new design plan calls for more pinwheel blocks, so I spent my weekend making eight more colorful curved pinwheels. Now the big push is on to finish this top—I’ve set myself a deadline on this one, and I’m determined to meet it!

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Knocking Out Blocks

Got some work done today on my Fat Quarterly Quilt Along blocks. I’m really liking the solid colors I chose (there will also be blocks with printed centers and solid on the outside). I’m not really planning anything out. Whatever feels right at the moment becomes a block, and I’ll just have to wait and see how it comes together in the end!

And these little guys are piecing up at lightning speed! I just might catch up after all.


Single Girl Shapes Up

She’s shaping up!

Yes, all my quarter-blocks are sewn. I laid out the entire quilt on my dining room floor. (It’s the only room in my house with enough floor space—and that’s only after moving the table way off to the side.) I’m now in the process of sewing it together.

I have to say, laying out all of those quarter-blocks was one of the most satisfying moments I’ve experienced in quilting. This project came together exactly the way I had envisioned it. Plus, it’s king-size, and I’ve never done anything even close to this big before. To see a project this huge come together in its finished form made me feel like I’m really accomplishing something.

Also remarkable: The fact that I haven’t gotten sick of looking at the darn thing by now. Usually, by the time I get to this stage, fatigue has set in on the colors, prints, pattern, etc. But this makes two projects in a row that I have not been tired of by the time I’m done piecing. Makes me think my design decisions are finally on the right track.


My Single Girl

Oh, how I love Denyse Schmidt’s Single Girl. I’ve been wanting to make this quilt for ages. I literally wanted to make it before I even knew how to sew. In fact, DS quilts are what originally made me want to learn how to sew. Single Girl is everything I love about modern quilting: Bold, geometric, scrappy, yet minimalistic. I’m going to employ a phrase graphic designers love to use to describe their work: It pops.

And now I’m finally making one of my own. But like most things in my life, there’s no part-way on this. I couldn’t just piece together a little baby Single Girl. I had to go and make it king-size.

Well, if I’m gonna make this dramatic design that I’ve been admiring for so long, I might as well do it up right. Right? This puppy’s going on my own bed. That means it has to be king-size. That means I have to make twenty of the Single Girl rings. Twenty.

And since I can’t spend more than an hour or two a day sewing, it’s been sloooowwwww going. It took me at least three weeks just to draw out and cut all the pieces. Now, for the past two months, I’ve been piecing the quarter-blocks. Piecing in the background feels like it’s taking forever.

But it’s getting there. Just five more of the outer background pieces, and it’s done. I can’t wait to piece together the quarter rings and see the complete top. And my thoughts have now turned to the back. A plan for that is definitely coming together in my head.