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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Square Roots

Project Quilting Week 1:  Square in Square in Square.
This wall hanging is 21 inches square.  It is made from vintage blocks originally cut and collected by my grandmother.  The binding is from a piece of vintage yardage collected by my great aunt.  I stuck with the simple relatively modern design to highlight these unique fabrics.  The square in a square pattern reminds me of looking into the infinity mirror seeing the past and future reflected together.  The traditional feather quilting is a nod to the skill of those quilters under whose quilt frame I used to play

The challenge for this week was really square.  Since I was overly ambitious the last time I tried one of the challenges, I decided to stick to the basics and work on technique.  Browsing through the myriad of square quilt blocks (did you know there was a myriad of square quilt blocks?  Whodathunk?)  I came across the picture from this tutorial  by Little Miss Shabby.

 This seemed like the perfect project to use some of my vintage patches from Grandma.  I remember my grandmother and then later my grandfather as well, sitting at the dining room table in the farm house, tracing around cardboard templates, cutting around the pencil lines and stacking them up.  Every time I see the pencil marks on these fabrics I think of them. 

 I sifted through the box of what I thought were 2 inch patches and pulled out my favorites.  Many of these were onsies, the only square of that fabric in the box. I chose them because they were some of the oldest and most interesting fabrics in the collection.   Most of them were wonky.  Every time I look at them I imagine my grandmother picking them up, seeing they don't work and tossing them back in the box.

As I was sewing the blocks together I realized that they weren't 2 inch blocks.  They are, in fact, 2 1/8 inches on a side.  It wasn't a problem.  I just had to do some more measuring and calculating for the white spaces.  There was a fair amount of ripping involved as I had to keep making fine adjustments to get the wonky blocks to line up.  Since I was working on improving my technique, I did a lot of ironing and starching and re-sewing to make sure I had quality seams. 

The completed flimsy measured 21 inches on a side.  I used a slightly off-white Kona for the sashing. 

I spent some time deciding how to quilt it.  Several of my on-line friends provided very useful suggestions.  A nod to the traditional feather seemed the most fitting way to celebrate my grandmother's fabrics.

I was all set to try a new marking technique.  

My test patches made it clear that this was not going to work.  So I resorted to cardboard templates and watersoluble pens.

There are some definite issues with my FMQ but I am generally pleased with my ability to follow the lines and keep a reasonable stitch length.

An over all view.  I probably need something in the last sashing but I don't have a good plan yet.

Here is a detail of the feathers on the outside.  Not too many crossed lines.

Deciding what to do for the binding was also an issue.  I had intended to use my standard fine black and white check.  However, it seemed more appropriate to use a bit of vintage yardage from my great aunt.  

Thus my completed project for week 1 of  Project Quilting.  Be sure to click on over to the Flickr page and see all of the really amazing quilts on display and to see the myriad interpretations of square in square quilt blocks. 


  1. It looks beautiful!! Great job quilting, and I love the vintage fabric. =)

  2. I'm finding the pace at Project Quilting hard to follow or to even begin to keep up with. So what you did amazed me totally.

    I was over at the Fliker group and kept saying Oh, Ohhh, Ohhhh as one great project after another showed up on my screen. And that includes yours.

  3. This is beautiful!! The quilting is so impressive!! I really like that you used a bright white background too. It makes the colored squares really POP!