Andover Adventures – Handcrafted and Chambrays

Those of you who may know me from Instagram know I rarely pass up a good quilting adventure and every now and then the stars align and a quilting adventure comes your way that you cannot pass up. So I was very excited when I got the chance to explore and work with some great offerings from Andover Fabrics – Alison Glass’ new Handcrafted line  which you can see here at Andover as well as some wonderful chambrays. Did I use them together? You bet I did.

The Handcrafted  line is the upcoming collection from Alison and brings to mind the feel and look of a batik. The fabric is a wonderful cotton weight with a good feel. The four pieces I had the opportunity to work with had great colors and design. The designs do have some subtle color and print variations to them in line with what you would expect from a handmade piece of fabric. The fabric looks less machine produced than a lot of items that are currently on the market. The fabric also had good shape retention – you will see in the blocks I created that fabric that retains shape is important to me!

I also had four chambrays to play with too, though I branched out and brought in three additional ones for the pieces I worked up. The chambrays are a slightly heavier weight and the plain weave typical of chambrays lent a great contrast to the Handcrafted fabrics I was going to use. I was particularly taken with Pumpkin – maybe because fall is setting in! You can see the chambray collection Andover has to offer here – Andover Chambrays.

And there you have the fabric line up I was diving into. What to make? As many folks know, I tend to go a little out of the box sometimes. As is often the case when I am working with specific fabric designer’s efforts, I want to let the fabric remain the center piece of the design. The four Handcrafted pieces needed to stay front and center. And since I was working with materials that evoked a spirit of hand craftedness, I thought of stained glass. I then turned to my favorite piece of quilting software, Electric Quilt and looked through the collection of stained glass blocks available. I chose three to work with. The first I left in the same way I found it, though I did blow the block up to a 24 inch finished size. The other two took some twisting and turning of the blocks to get the 24 inch finished squares I used.

Once I had the block patterns developed, it was time to get to work. I am an FPP (Foundation Paper Piecing) fan. I have been quilting for about 25 years, and early on I fell in love with the work of Karen Stone and Carol Doak. While I can stitch a mean nine patch with the best of them and my geese can fly, I continue to be drawn to FPP for the ability to create intricate blocks without some of the mechanical challenges (I hate Y seams – it had to be said).

I precut as many of the shapes as I can, though some cutting is reserved as I work up the block when I want to fussy cut some of the shapes or designs from the fabric. One of the Handcrafted fabrics I had to work with was a gorgeous red with a white flying geese pattern, and those needed to be integrated into the block shapes in a specific manner. Once all the fabric was ready to go, I shortened my stitch length on my trusty Bernina and had at it.

And here are the results. The first block evoked a star in a star pattern for me. The second was designed to focus on the geese and for me had a very Pendleton look to it. The last is a manipulated quarter rose bloom block which I think worked well for the two pieces that make up the larger points on the outside. The final picture below has all the blocks finished, with binding and hanging sleeves.  A great big thank you to Andover for letting me have this opportunity and to Alison Glass for creating another great line for me to use in my quilting adventures.  I think I see a quilt out of the middle blocks in my future!

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