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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Uphill Climb - a traditional nine-patch with a modern twist

     I recently took a detour from my current white and bright quilts to get back to basics, with a nine-patch lap quilt made from a beautiful assortment of rich colored traditional fabrics for my friend Priscilla.  The colors didn't show up correctly in pictures taken in the shade.  The pictures in the sun show the depth of the colors.
     Sometime back in the early 2000s, I received a very generous gift of a bundle of  36 Moda Patchwork Garden fat quarters.    The fabrics were beautiful, and so richly colored.  I put them in a basket on my shelf, as I didn't have a project immediately in mind,  and then somehow over 10 years went by.  

     My friend Priscilla and I power walk a few miles every morning, and I started thinking about a quilt for her. During one of our conversations she mentioned her love of sage green.   I pulled out my stash of greens to see what I had.
       I was not inspired by my green bin.  The old (but beautiful) Moda bundle caught my eye.   I thought this might be the perfect bundle for her quilt.    I wanted to use up as much of the bundle as I could, and decided to go back to a favorite traditional block, a simple nine patch.
      I started cutting 2 1/2 inch wide strips from the fat quarters, and cut those into 8 inch long strips.
The leftovers from cutting the 8 inch pieces.
      I grabbed three strips each of two colors to make two three strip blocks.

I  made many blocks that alternated light and darks, but some used two darker fabrics since the bundle contained more dark than light fabrics overall.
These pieces then got cut into three 2 1/2" wide pieces.

Not much waste in making those pieces. 
     I really concentrated on keeping the seams a very accurate 1/4" (not easy for me for some reason), and carefully pressed the seams towards the dark side of each piece.  As a result, piecing together the nine patch block was painless!

I started laying out the blocks, and loved the checkerboard look.  (The photo really washes out the gold tones in the light fabrics.)

Plenty of the sage green that inspired the quilt!
     I was torn with what to do with the darker squares.  I didn't care for just tossing them in, and decided to stack them on the bottom.  When we do our daily walk, we end with a climb up a hill, thus the name of the quilt!  I fiddled around with a few variations, before settling on the finished layout.

The final lay out.  
  I backed the quilt with a dotted tan wide backing (Blank Textiles Chromodot 108 inch) and quilted a stipple design in a beige Aurifil.   I thought the fabrics and checkerboard pattern provided plenty of visual interest - a simple quilting suited me.
     I used some of the leftover fabric for the binding, and fussycut pieces to make sure that the dark section had darker binding and the lighter sections had lighter binding.  I had never planned the binding colors before, but it turned out nicely.  To me, despite the traditional pattern and traditional fabrics, I think it has a bit of a modern feel.
Close up of a portion of the quilt.
     It was a joy to surprise Priscilla with this quilt!  I was delighted to find the perfect project and perfect recipient for the fabric bundle!  The quilt finished at 60 x 72 inches, and washed up nice and crinkly and soft. I did not wash the fabrics before completing the quilt.  Despite being at least a decade old, the fabric was in beautiful condition. 
     I have kept the leftover pieces (some big and some pretty small) and will try to create something using up those scraps in the near future.  I was surprised that I didn't have more left over from 36 fat quarters!  There is plenty for another project, so stay tuned!  



Thanks for stopping by the blog, and enjoy the rest of July!

Take care,
Gretchen