For those of you who remember to back in December or January, a lot of folks on Instagram were looking for their key word for 2015. I picked serendipity. Why? Because I felt that 2015 would be marked by the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. And it happened! Really!
A border I had envisioned for my recent Bunnies Gone Wild did not work out. I had pondered doing a border of Chinese Lanterns, which you can see here: Chinese Lanterns. So I stuck that paper piece template aside and merrily went with a four patch border.
But never a dull moment with moi! I found myself with a blank design wall and was wondering what to do next. When I looked over at my cutting table, the Chinese lantern pattern was sitting there, with a ruler on it, and serendipity! I traced the line with a pencil and my gem block was born. Of course, it looked wretched but it worked for me – Gem 2 Original Pattern
And my Andover fabrics stash was calling me again. As it usually does. Because its pretty. And fun. And it needed to be used. So the Gems of Andover were born. The pattern is more simplistic than some of the gem blocks floating around these days – not as many facets and shapes. But I was happy.
So happy that I kept making them. And made a larger one. And people on Instagram kept encouraging me (bad move!). I got to this point with six, and laid out six more. I figured a dozen would do!
Then I decided some Alison Glass handcrafted for a big finish and VOILA! I wound up with a most delightful project that has been a lot of fun. I did some ditch quilting and some wavy lines and voila, Gems of Andover.
If you want to make your own gems, here’s the cleaned up PDF Gem 3 Updated Pattern. The proportions for the top section are a little different than my pencil mock up, but it still is a gem of a block (I should stay away from puns or whatever it is I think I was getting here). I even made a pattern cover – you know, just to get all fancy Gem 4 Colorized.
You know me, I spend far too much time on Instagram and not a lot of time on the blogosphere. I probably need better time management skills, but figuring that out would just interfere with my quilting.
Back in March, I posted a piece I was working on and came across a comment from RJR Fabrics inviting me to participate in their What Shade Are You blog hop. Well, you never have to ask me twice if I want to play with fabric! So with a heartfelt Yes, of course, I received their Cotton Supreme Solids color card and began plotting my quilt adventure in earnest.
So in 25 plus years of quilting, I’ve used RJR fabrics before (yes, I have a fanboy thing for the mad skills of Jinny Beyer and if you’ve not checked you Patrick Lose’s Basically Patrick line, you are missing out), but believe it or not I had never discovered their solids. And as with all things fabric, I was a kid in a candy store! As you can see over at their site, the color range is fantastic. Deciding on which ones to use was a bit of a challenge, since I just wanted them all!
I had for months been pondering doing an economy block piece. There were lots of folks doing pieces with them earlier in the year, and I felt like I had been left behind – but not in a Kirk Cameron bad movie kind of way though. And I had also become intrigued with Cotton and Steel, a division of RJR Fabrics. I had been using their basics line and was happy with the colors and patterns. Their fall 2014 line up included Tokyo Train Ride, Mesa, Cookie Book, and of course Mochi. The bunnies. Oh the bunnies.
Now to figure out the solids to go with them! Here’s what I went with: Citron, Raging Ruby (which btw needs to be obtained if for no other reason than it’s name), Denim, Riviera, Meadowland, Egg Nog, Meissen Blue, and Battleship. I also used a Cotton and Steel solid called Moonlight. Armed with these solids, I was ready to go. Here’s the complete line up!
(Confession time! I picked three others – Caviar, Jacaranda, and Bougainvillea, but I confess, picking fabric from a color card or on line has proven challenging for me. I am old school I guess in that I really do like seeing fabric up close and personal. Sometimes the color, particularly saturation, can be different. Those three will have to await their quilting destiny!)
The RJR solids were great to work with. Nice weave, texture, and sewing with them was a breeze. So with a plan, I started in earnest making economy blocks. The original design called for 60 of them – I called it quits at 48. You know, those suckers become a tad tedious after four dozen (for me the number of blocks you have to make for a large quilt becomes more daunting when they start to take on epic proportions where you have to start referring to their count with words like DOZENS). But I truly loved the results I was getting. The square in a square let me focus on fussy cutting and the solids were perfect for setting off the centers. And while the finished piece may to some not look like there is a lot of rhyme or reason to the layout, there is some distinct patterning that I put into the top (the center square are my zen bunnies – there is a perfect combination of bunny, Riviera solid, and Cookie Book ghost saltine navy in those blocks).
I did have to alter my border plan – I originally had a diagonal stripe worked out that would have become triangles when put on. But, since I caved on making any more economy squares, I put on a skinny border of the most beautiful grey I have used in a while – Battleship – along with the navy ghost saltine. I then did a simple four patch combination of all the solids I’d used for an outside border. I then used the inner border combination for the binding. This is the third piece I’ve done lately where I’ve used more than one fabric for the binding and the results make me pretty happy. And of course a special shout out to my long arm quilter friend Sue who again worked her magical quilting skills on the piece.
And this is the finished piece. I could think of no better picture than to have the bunnies out in the wild!
So there you have it! My What Shade Are You quilting adventure. And the answer to that question remains a mystery. As one of my Instagram friends put it, I tend to be dark and brooding with flashes of brilliant color (thanks @debpotteringabout!). My color interests span the spectrum and I want to thank RJR Fabrics for letting me have some fun with their solids.
No quilt would be complete without a label!
And as a fun fact for those of you who have never met me in person – my eyes are green. They can also turn blue, grey, and also a lovely shade of yellow (that is the ‘do not approach’ color!). So even my eyes don’t know what shade I am!
Happy quilting adventures to you all! I’m going back to working with the remaining RJR solids to make some more fun things!
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