Sunday, August 21, 2016

Quilt Leftovers - Slow Sunday Stitching

I recently cut off the end of a quilt (because it was just too long) but I couldn't make myself throw away that quilted strip.  It laid around until recently when I realized I could cut it into smaller pieces, layer two together, and bind them.  VoilĂ !  Hot pads.

The strip was long enough to make four double-sided hot pads.  I sewed the binding on by machine and today I'll hand-stitch it to the reverse side.

Side one:

Side two:

Talk about scraps!  I just can't throw anything away.  I wouldn't give these hot pads as gifts -- they're just utility hot pads -- but I'm happy to have turned that waste strip into something useful.   

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

I hope you have a peaceful, restful Sabbath.

--Nancy.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

A Finished Top

It's been a long time between finishes around here so I'm pleased to have one this month.  This is based on "Morning Star" but I didn't measure the triangles that create the stars so they're not exact.

Morning Star quilt with liberated stars

When I was cutting squares and rectangles it seemed like I kept cutting more and more greens, more greens than any other fabric, but now that I look at the photo of the quilt green does not seem to be the dominant color.  Maybe it's just that the reds are brighter and the greens are more muted....  The colors are not exactly evenly dispersed but I think the stars overpower the background colors.  It would be less obvious if the quilt were larger but it is what it is.

I didn't measure it before I folded it but it should measure at 43 1/2" x 50" or thereabouts.  I hope to get it layered soon so I can begin hand quilting it.

I'll be devoting the rest of this month to my medallion quilt.  I've taken to calling it "Little Miss Medallion."  She seems to be just as particular as some little girls.

I'm linking this post to
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
> Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday (TGIFF) at The Quilt Journal
> Show Off Saturday at Sew She Can
Thank you for hosting, ladies.

I hope you're enjoying life.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Almost a Quilt Top

I've been cutting and sewing, snipping, ironing, then cutting and sewing some more.

Squares, rectangles, triangles....  It's such a scrappy thing with prints, plaids, plains, in greens, reds, blues, and browns, all together in the same quilt.  I love scrappy quilts for babies.  (Well, let's just be honest:  I love scrappy quilts period.)

All that sewing and finally, blocks are becoming rows.

I hope to have a finished top by the end of the week.

I'm linking this post to
> Building Blocks Tuesday at Quilter in the Closet
> Fabric Tuesday #284 at Quilt Story
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #138 at Sew Fresh Quilts
Thank you for hosting, ladies!

I hope you're enjoying fabric, family, and live in general.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Two Things

First.  Too much of a good thing is just too much.


That blue border is very scrappy.  There are at least half a dozen different fabrics but there are many, many more pieces of fabric.  I think it works.  But now that I'm thinking of another border made of several different fabrics, I'm not so sure more scrappy will make this quilt better.  Maybe too much of a good thing is overload, maybe just too much.  (Of course, there are several considerations yet for this border, the narrow border between it and the cabin border (color and width), and the stars.  Where are the stars?!)  Have I mentioned that I don't know what I'm doing with this quilt, or where it's going?  Even so, I'm (mostly) enjoying the creative challenge of it.

Most who are making Gwenny-medallions aren't posting about them until they've finished the current border.  Is that a "rule" for quilt-alongs?  I hope not because here I am with two "non-progress" posts in two days.


Second.  That voice in my head.

Are you like me?  Do you have a voice in your head that sometimes tells you negative things?  The disdainful little voice in my head tells me things like, "You'll never succeed at that.  You'll never be good enough."  Or, "Who do you think you are, trying to accomplish something like that?"  Or, "You may have talents/skills/abilities, but that's not one of them."  Or maybe one of the worst, "You always mess things up and you'll do the same with this."

I rarely have trouble silencing that voice.  I know whose it is and its purpose and I focus on other things, other grander purposes than the negative.  But there are times -- when I'm learning something new or challenging and haven't quite mastered it; when I'm pushing to finish something by a tight deadline; or when I'm tired or don't feel well -- that I have a little trouble ignoring the messages.  Today was one of those days.  I know it's because I'm tired and because I feel achy (which I hope is because I'm tired or slept in an uncomfortable position).  I know I'll feel better after a good night's sleep.  I'll have a better outlook and perhaps I'll dream of a great border idea, or maybe I'll just see the quilt differently when I'm not tired.

At times like this I love to remember this quote by F. Enzio Busche.
When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love, towards God.
What grand direction, worth heeding and following.  He has more to say, which you can hear in the brief video below.


I'm so grateful for so many wonderful blessings, including the freedom to choose creativity.

I hope you have a pleasant, restful Sabbath.

--Nancy.
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Friday, August 12, 2016

My Mind's Eye Needs Glasses

Sometimes I just have to try things to see how they look.  I imagined that Gwen's liberated stars, cut on the diagonal, with one of "Kathy's Blocks" (described in Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaing II) in the corner would be great for the star border on my medallion quilt.


But oh, no.  Epic fail!  In my mind that half-star did not have an Art Deco look about it but, rather, a liberated look.  My mind's eye needs glasses -- or something.

Now I'm going to fall back and punt -- try out another idea, or possibly two -- or more, however many it takes to make a border with stars. 

I'm glad I didn't wait until next week to try out this idea!

I wish you a good weekend.

--Nancy.
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Monday, August 8, 2016

Maybe. Probably.

Ignoring color placement, I think this pattern might work for my grandson's baby quilt.  I like the scrappy aspect of it (though it could be scrappier if I used smaller scraps to create the large squares). 


This variation of Pat Speth's Morning Star pattern has uneven star points instead of identical ones.  I like it if I look at the stars, less if I look at the shapes in the sashing created by the star points.

Because I'm so late with this quilt I wanted something that wouldn't take much time but wouldn't look like I'd taken the easiest way out.  I thought this quilt fit the bill.  With 5" blocks, sashing half that size, and only four seams per sashing unit, I thought I'd whip through this in no time.  But let me tell you, I was wrong.  It might be quick for someone who already has a lot of 5" squares and 2 1/2" strips cut, but I have neither of those.  And the points take time, too.  Only four seams, but each has to be pressed, then trimmed, then the fabric behind cut away.  Time, time, time.

I'm more than half-way finished sewing the star points on the sashing but have a few more sashing strips to cut and eight more squares.  It would be great if I could finish the top this week, but that may be too high an expectation.

And all the while I'm sewing little star points I'm thinking about the star border for my Gwenny medallion.  I suppose her stars influenced the stars in this quilt.

I'm linking this post to
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall - August 8, 2016 at Patchwork Times
Let's Make Baby Quilts! {8/12/16} at Michelle's Romantic Tangle
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

I hope you're having a good day.

--Nancy.
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Sunday, August 7, 2016

I Am Lost - Slow Sunday Stitching

I am lost without handwork to do.  I enjoy it, but more, I need it for its ability to let me sit while, at the same time, accomplishing something and to give me time to think while I do a (mostly) mindless activity. 

The last handwork I had prepared before my husband's bout in the hospital was stitching the binding to the back of a quilt.  Now that I've finished that I have nothing in the que:  no quilt layered and pinned and not not even a backing ready; no applique pattern already cut and ready to stitch, nor one in mind, either.  In fact, I don't even have any hand mending. 


The best I can come up with today is some unstitching of blocks partially stitched by another quilter who decided she didn't want them.  I have nothing in particular in mind for these, I just know I won't use them as they are.

Though I have no slow stitching, I can imagine myself nestled into a comfortable chair, slowly stitching . . . .


And I hope I'll have some hand work ready by the end of this week.  I hope!

Wishing you a peaceful, restful Sabbath.

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Do I Dare Set One Monthly Goal for August?

I nearly forgot it was time to set a monthly goal.  But then I wonder if I should set a monthly goal, considering July's events and how we're still recovering from those.  And I'm also working on border three of the Gwenny quilt this month.  Will one more goal be too much?

Dare I set a goal?  All things considered, yes, I will.  (Call me optimistic.)  Even if I don't meet the goal at least I will have had a goal in mind and worked toward something.

I started the Buckeye Beauty blocks for a quilt for my grandson (who is now over 6 months old) but it just doesn't seem like the right quilt for that cute little guy.  I'll make more blocks and finish the quilt but just not for him.


It's back to the drawing board for other ideas.  These are the possibilities for other quilts I'm considering -- all scrap/scrappy quilts, of course:
  1. Ohio Stars (in drawing above at top left).  They were on my list the first time but I didn't make any, thinking that the Buckeye Beauty blogs were perfect. 
  2. Gwen-style stars with "liberated" points, perhaps 8" or 9" blocks (on right side of drawing in above photo).
  3. Morning Star (the colored quilt in the above photo), a quilt pattern attributed to Pat Speth in the book, The Big Book of Nickel Quilts.  Except I would make the star points less precise and a little longer.  The stars in the photo look similar to the ones I used in Red Wings; I like them well enough but I think I'd like them more if they were longer.

One of the challenges of this quilt is that green is the dominant color.  I have plenty of green fabrics but the second challenge is the exclusion of flower prints.  That eliminates about half (or more) of my greens.  I'll be using a few that aren't too "girly" plus a few other colors.  I doubt my grandson will mind and I hope his parents won't, either. 

So, my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for August is to try out one or more quilt blocks that I think might work for a baby (or toddler) quilt, make a block or a few, lay them out to see what I think, AND decide once and for all a quilt for my adorable little grandboy!

I'm linking this post to Link to One Monthly Goal; OMG It's August! at Red Letter Quilts.  Thanks, Heidi.

I'm also linking this post to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework.  Thanks, Cynthia.

--Nancy.
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Little Cabins for my Gwenny Quilt

Gwennie-Inspired Medallion quilt with log cabin border

I chose to make little creamy-light log cabin blocks for the second border of my Gwenny-Inspired Medallion Quilt.  But before that decision I waffled -- not about the colors (which are a little off in the photo) but about the size of the cabins.  They started out about an inch larger, then I reduced the size to 4".  I think they're a good size and color, but what do I know about medallion quilts?  Next to nothing, and my success with borders is variable, so I'm just pleased that this is actually flat and square (despite the appearance otherwise in the photo).

After adding the cabins I wondered if I should have included a narrow border between it and the dark blue border.  I really don't know what I'm doing....  A copy of Gwen's Liberated Medallion Quilts finally arrived at the library for me.  I hope it will help with my decisions about the next borders.

I'm linking this post to Gwennie Inspired Medallion QAL Part 3 at Humble Quilts.  Click the link to look a thumbnails of other participants' quilts and then click through to read their posts.

Five quilt bloggers organized this Gwennie Inspired Medallino QAL and have invited others to participate if they choose.  There's still time to join in if you'd like to participate.  There will be two more borders as part of the QAL and there's a link-up on the first Monday of each month.  Katy of KatyQuilts chose "stars" as the theme for the next border -- your choice about how many and how to you incorporate them, whether appliqued, liberated, star fabric, or some other way.

I'm also linking this post to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Medallion with Pieced Blocks

I wanted to lay out some log cabins around my basket medallion but Red Wings was taking all the floor space.  So laid the medallion on top of Red Wings.  Hmmm.  Now there's an idea for some future medallion quilt.  Not these blocks but some blocks that fit and work with some center medallion.

Gwennie Inspired medallion center on top of pieced blocks

Red Wings is finished and the medallion already has another border.  I just thought this might be an interesting idea.

--Nancy.
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Bound and Finished - One Monthly Goal for July

folded quilt with Sister's Choice block variation

I'm so pleased to have this quilt finished to meet my One Monthly Goal for July.  I finished the quilting a few days before my husband went to the emergency room on July 12 (then stayed at the hospital for the next two weeks awaiting open heart surgery).

This is the quilt that was too long, the topic of a discussion about proportions, sizes, symmetry, etc.  That first night my husband was at the hospital and I was home alone I made the drastic decision to cut 8" off one end.  That night I also cut and sewed binding strips together, then stitched them to the quilt so I would have hand work while sitting with him at the hospital.

This quilt and I had an interesting experience at the hospital.  One of the PSAs (Patient Support Assistants) asked what I was working on.  When I told her I was stitching the binding on a quilt she told me that she was a quilter and did all her work by hand.  She wanted to know how long I'd been working on the quilt and whether I'd stitched the blocks by hand or machine.  The next day she asked me whether or not I was going to show her the quilt.  I'm happy to share my quilts online because there is that element of separation created by a computer monitor and some distance between me and viewers -- I don't see whether the viewer has an adverse reaction to the quilt -- but I'm not one to show off my quilts in person.  Even so, I opened the quilt for her to see.  She immediately looked closely at my hand quilting and evaluated it but she barely looked at the quilt and made no comment about it at all.  I was a little surprised.  When I see a quilt in person my first observation is never of the stitching.

quilt with Sister's Choice block variation

The photo above shows only part of the quilt: the top is folded over the fence.

I began making the blocks for this quilt in August, 2013.  It was a slow evolution to decide whether each block should have sashing and if so, how it should look.  Then I decided on the center white stars and played with sizes and colors for sashing, then did the same for sashing between blocks.   Little by little, all the decisions were made.  Perhaps the best (or worst) decision was to omit a border around the edges:  I had to redraft those half-blocks along the sides so they would have straight grain along the edges.  I finished the top in November, 2015, quickly layered and basted it, and immediately started quilting it.

I used Soft & Crafty 80% cotton / 20% polyester batting.  It quilts easily and washes well.  I have used it before but this time it seems slightly less thick than in previous quilts.  Still, I love how it crinkles and makes the fabrics puff up.  The quilting is not dense.  I think the places for pockets of air are part of what makes a quilt warm.

quilt with Sister's Choice block variation

Measurements (blocks finish at 9 1/2"):
99" x 65 1/2" - top
97 1/4" x 64 3/4"- after quilting
89 1/4" x 64 3/4" - after cutting off 8"
86 3/4" x 62 1/4" - after washing and drying

When I look at this quilt I see other ways it could have been sewn together and wonder how it would have changed the overall appearance of the quilt.  I'll get to try out some other layouts because I have fourteen more blocks, a dozen of which are finished and two that are yet to be sewn.  I probably won't get around to playing with them for a while so you won't be seeing layouts too soon.  (Any of you who visit my blog very often must be getting tired of seeing this quilt!)

I'm linking this post to;
OMG It's Finished: July Linkup! at Red Letter Quilts
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.

P.S.  For those who may be interested to know, my husband came home last Sunday evening.  It's been a little rough but he's slowly beginning to feel better.  Thank you for all your kind comments, encouragement, and prayers.  They mean so much.
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Monday, July 18, 2016

In Control, or Not

I want to thank all of you readers who took the time to leave kind, thoughtful, generous comments on my last postThank you!  I appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than you know.  (I haven't responded to your comments yet but I will, soon.)

My husband's surgery went well today.  They let me visit for only a few minutes while he was recovering in intensive care.  He had at least half a dozen tubes including a breathing tube, several IVs, and a few other tubes coming from/going into places that aren't natural openings.  Ugh.

The surgeon quipped that this was a good time to say anything I wanted to my husband because he couldn’t talk back.  And the nurse chimed in, "And he won't remember anything you say, either."  A little levity after a long, serious, grueling day.

Knowing the surgery could last from four to eight hours, I waited at home till four hours had passed, then spent the next few hours in the waiting room at the hospital.  After seeing my husband I returned home.  While at home I sewed and did a few chores.

liberated log cabin quilt blocks

As I was sewing these liberated log cabin blocks I was thinking, "I can't do this out-of-control block-making.  I need more structure.  I need to be in control."   (It feels like I'm living a life out of control at the moment.)  While I sewed I continued to think about this and it eventually occurred to me that with blocks like this I am in control.  I'm the one who's controlling the size of the logs, the size of the blocks, the colors, the color placement, everything about these blocks.  I think it feels out of control because only a few decisions were made before cutting and sewing.

When I sew a block from a specific pattern with squares or triangles cut to specific sizes, I'm in control, then, too.  It happens before I cut anything, while I cut, and while I carefully sew -- all for accuracy to that specific pattern.

With liberated blocks the control happens throughout the whole process of making the blocks but in a different way.  I will have chosen my fabrics (and therefore colors) and the pattern, but I may not have chosen the exact sizes of each piece of a block.  The blocks may be put together in a way that looks less accurate than a traditional quilt block.  But all of those choices are in my control and will determine how the finished blocks look.

Liberated quilting may look more playful, less structured, and less controlled than traditional blocks but I believe the creator must have as much or possibly more control than with traditional blocks.

I wish life were as easy to control as quilt blocks.  My life is certainly beyond my ability to control it at the moment.  I know He is and was always in control, but when things were going smoothly, I had the impression of having some control over my life.  Now, my control extends only as far as my own actions and thoughts. 

Even so, isn't life grand?!  And how wonderful that we get to play with fabric and make quilts.

I hope you're having a good day today.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Life Interrupted

The regular rhythm and routines of our lives have been interrupted this week (and will be for weeks to come).  My husband had a heart attack on Tuesday and has been in the hospital since then having tests and being monitored.  He's scheduled for triple bypass surgery on Monday.  He and I mutually agree that being the patient and being the caregiver are equally difficult and stressful, but in different ways.  He was caregiver when I had hip replacement surgeries a dozen years ago.  Now it's my turn.

Sewing a few (almost) mindless blocks is relaxing during times like this.  I began these weeks ago -- chose the colors, decided the size -- but until I sew more and lay them out I won't know if they will work for their intended purpose.  (They are paler in real life than in the photograph.)

improv log cabin blocks

These rust-colored flowers at the far side of the hospital parking lot caught my eye as I walked toward the entrance. 

On the way out I stopped to take a closer look . It wasn't until then that I realized they were orange and maroon/purple/violet.
I doubt I would ever have put those two colors together, but I might now.

I've had to pick up the Buckeye Beauty blocks.  My older daughter, her husband, and their three little ones are coming to visit this weekend.  I know she wants to see her father and I couldn't tell her not to come.  Many years ago my own father went into the hospital on a Thursday having suffered from a heart attack.  I was 8 months pregnant at the time but intended to visit him that weekend.  My mom insisted we not come, that we wait and see.  My father died the following Monday.  I believe my husband will be fine but I would never tell either of my daughters not to visit in a situation like this.

While sitting with my husband at the hospital or waiting while he has tests, I am stitching the binding to the back of the Red Wings quilt.  (I find it difficult to just sit.)  At least I will have accomplished one goal this month.

If you leave a comment I will respond but it may take me a few days or a week longer than usual.

Happy quilting to you!

--Nancy.
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Buckeye Beauty Block Play

I've been playing with the Buckeye Beauty blocks again.  Lynn Roddy Brown's original quilt (scroll down at this link) had blocks with both light and dark centers sewn together slightly differently.  In her layout all the light centers went in one direction and the dark centers in another.  Something about my blocks with that layout bothered me so I cut and sewed more blocks with dark centers and tried a layout with only those.


I wasn't sure I liked all darks any better than I did my original lights and darks.  Something  doesn't work, in my opinion. 

With more darks to choose from I tried the light/dark layout again.

I think this might be a go.  (Unfortunately my vacuum ate one of the light-centered blocks this afternoon so I'll have to figure out which one and either remake it or unstitch a finished dark-center block and restitch it as a light-center block.)  There may be one or two blocks I will change out and there may be some changes in the block placements.  This quilt will also get a border, probably green, maybe plaid, or maybe brown.  I suppose I should try out border fabrics before I sew the blocks together?

This is probably not a quilt I will ever love but I don't dislike it.  I know that I'll make another, different quilt in the future for the little guy who will get this when it's finished.  For now he can lie on it, spit up on it, play peek-a-boo with it, and cuddle up in it when winter comes.  It will withstand all of those and endure for many years (unless it gets lost like his sister's quilt), until he outgrows it.

I'm learning that every quilt will not be spectacular.  We hope they all will be but some quilts will be fabulous quilts, some will be great quilts, and some will be okay, everyday quilts.  But they can all keep someone warm, and perhaps warm that someone's heart because of the love that was sewn into every seam and stitch.

Happy quilting to you.

I'm linking this post to
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
Thanks for hosting, ladies.  I appreciate it.

--Nancy.
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Proportion, Size, Symmetry, Balance -- How Does a Quilter Decide?

Vintage 9-patch quilt set on point with alternate setting blocks
One of the things I love about traditional quilts is the rhythm created by blocks repeated across the surface of a quilt.  Even when colors vary, lights and darks change places, or many or few fabrics are used, I can usually see that rhythm (sometimes held in place only by sashing between blocks, other times interrupted by faded fabric).  Those variations create interest for me.  I see the whole then devour the quilt one block at a time.

I also love the balance and symmetry that I see in old quilts.  Of course, not all old quilts have balance or symmetry in the blocks or across the surface.  Those quilts that don't are, perhaps, more interesting and I try to imagine the creative ethic, experience/knowledge, and circumstances of the quilter.  What prompted her to choose those colors, or to use one odd block with 35 others all the same, or to make the quilt the size it is?

When making quilts --modern, traditional, improv, any quilts-- I give too much thought to quilt sizes and proportions.  Maybe it's because I'm still learning how to "get it right."  Not that there's any particular wrong about a quilt size but there are some sizes and proportions that seem more pleasing to the eye and are possibly more useful.  In fact, when I'm riding in the car with my husband driving and I have a quilt book in tow that I've finished reading or looking at the photos, I sometimes go through it quilt by quilt and write down the sizes of each.  Weird, I know.  What I've found is that quilt sizes and proportions vary a lot.  A whole lot!  (One of these days I'm going to type the numbers into some kind of order so I can compare.)

For instance, a few quilts in Unconventional & Unexpected:  American Quilts Below the Radar, 1950-2000, had these measurements (in inches):
61 x 78
61 x 81
62 x 71
62 x 77
62 x 80
62 x 85
63 x 79
63 x 81
63 x 87
64 x 80
64 x 87
65 x 78

I struggle with quilt sizes.  In a blog comment someone told me the quilt size I chose would depend on the bed I was going to use for the quilt.  She's right, of course, except that I don't make quilts for beds, I make quilts to keep people warm, maybe on a bed, but just as often for a nap.  And I make quilts to play with fabric.  But I also want quilts that are a comfortable size:  not too long, not too short, not too wide, not too narrow.  (I'm sure you've seen a hired man's quilt, at least in a book:  narrow and long.)  Proportion matters to me.

But it's not just the physical sizes and proportions I think about, it's also the balance in a quilt.  In an on-point setting, a row can end with four blocks or five blocks (or any two other numbers depending on the size of the blocks and the width of the quilt).  When the ends don't have the same number of blocks it looks odd to me.  Uneven, unbalanced.  To my eyes, the same number of blocks on both ends and on both sides looks balanced.

I have three quilts that seem too long. 

First:  String-X.  
Scrappy String-X quilt
Finished it measures 69" x 93".  That's 7' 9" long!  Who needs a quilt that long?  Each diagonal string block measures 7", each set of our measures 14" x 14".  When I was deciding the layout of the quilt I knew I wanted the ends to be balanced.  The quilt could have been 7", 14", or 21" shorter, but only by leaving a row of blocks off of each end would it still have been balanced.  I could have had a quilt that measure 69 x

Second:  Plaid Churn Dash.
Churndash quilt of thrift store plaid shirts
This quilt measures 64" x 89". The blocks are 7 1/2" square.  Again, it's a quilt with the blocks set on point.  (Maybe it's only on point settings that create this problem of quilts that are balanced are too long.  I don't know.)

And last, Red Wings (my most recent quilting finish).  It hasn't been bound or washed and dried yet, so the measurements will change after all that happens.  As it is now, it measures 64 3/4" x 97 1/4".  It's an inch shorter than String-X was before being washed and 2 1/4" inches narrower.  It's just shy of 8 feet!!!  I knew it would be long but I wanted those balanced ends.   

Here it is with one row folded under on the end.  It measures 64 3/4" x 89".  The overall measurement is better but it doesn't look balanced to me.  One end has 5 half-blocks, the other has 4 half-blocks (which are cut off toward the bottom of the photo).

Lastly, here it is with two squares folded under on one end.  It's balanced with 4 half-squares on each end, but it looks squatty to me.  It measures 64 3/4" x 81", nearly 7 feet.

I've seriously thought of cutting off the end of this quilt, even though it would mean I'd have a bias edge to deal with, but I can't make myself cut it to 81".  It could end up only 73" or 74" long.

The other consideration when deciding the size of a quilt is shrinkage.  By the time I finish hand quilting I've lost at least an inch in width and two in length.  Add to that (or subtract from that, if you will) the shrinkage from washing and drying and the loss in width could be from 2 to 5 inches and between 2 and 7 inches in length.  (To date the only bats I've used are Mountain Mist Cream Rose and Soft & Crafty 80/20 cotton/poly.)

If you've read this far you're a trooper and I thank you.  I hope you'll go one step further and tell me how you decide the size of your quilts.  Do you choose it by blocks:  x # of blocks by y # of blocks?  Do you go for length and width without consideration for balance?  Do you try to balance the ends and sides to have the same number of blocks?  Do you consider shrinkage when you're deciding the size of a quilt?

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about proportions, sizes, symmetry, and balance when making a quilt.  I appreciate it!

I'd love lots of responses to my questions so I'm linking to
- TGIFF : Go West Flimsy at The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts
- Off the Wall Friday at Creations... Quilts, Art.... Whatever
- Fabric Frenzy Friday at Forth Worth Fabric Studio {Blog}
- Fabric, Thread and Yarn at France Nadeau
- finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
- Can I get a Whoop Whoop?  at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
- Midweek Makers #27 at  Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies!

--Nancy.
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