Gathering No Moss – In Progress

1/2 Done

I have just finished the 15th block for the Gathering No Moss (Kaffe Fassett) quilt. That’s half way. The block, by the way, is called a “rolling stone” – hence Fassett’s choice of name for the quilt.

Once people figured out the “quilt along” on Facebook (a “private” group for those who purchased the quilt kit) was mostly about us commenting on (and sharing photos of) our progress, the traffic has died down. I had decided to purchase the kit and join the quilt-along because I thought Fassett would discuss his decision-making regarding fabric design and choices for the quilt in some depth. Doesn’t appear to be the case. Had I realized that, I likely would have just deconstructed the quilt from the photo and done it in some colour set from fabrics I had in my stash and could pick up from The Woolworks in Mahone Bay. I wouldn’t have bought the kit.

Oh, well, I won’t do this another time. I have a greater sense of satisfaction when I’ve worked out how to construct a quilt from a photo and chosen my own fabrics, as I did with the Escher quilt. That was a real challenge and I was very pleased with the outcome. Here, although the quilt block is an easy one, it is fiddly – the four corners take time to construct – add one triangle, press, add the opposite triangle, press, add a side triangle, press, add final triangle, press – and hope you’re close enough to square that they will assemble with the rest of the block without too much distortion. But overall, there isn’t much challenge to the quilt once you figure out how to construct the block. In this case, I chose to change the block size, which required some testing out to make sure my pieces would match up, and I’ve changed some of the colour selections, but it’s still the “Gathering No Moss” quilt. Far less challenging than most of the quilting I’m used to doing.

Here is the panel at noon – with four rows now completed.

2/3 Finished

This time I worked on an entire row at the same time doing what’s called “chain piecing” – taking great pains to keep the elements in the order I’d planned on them having! At the bottom, second block from the right – not sure about this one. I want that centre where it is but the large blue and white dotted fabrics together are rather loud. Given the symmetry I set up, that pairing was bound to happen since I had five light and five dark fabrics.

Enough for today. On to other tasks.

Kaffe Fassett Quilt Along

In January I did something I have never done – I signed up to do a quilt along – this one with Kaffe Fassett. He (and the rest of the collective) have created a quartet of queen size quilts – same pattern but available in four different colour combinations. The quilt block resembles a cog wheel hence the name of the quilt: Gathering No Moss.

The project began when I received an email from Hyggeligt Fabrics in St, Mary’s Ontario advertising the quilt along. Over the years I’ve collected Kaffe Fassett fabrics – my diamond quilts, the Escher quilt all used fabrics from Free Spirit which produces and sells the Kaffe Fassett Collective collections. In years past, I’ve attended a lecture or two of his which I found underwhelming, but I’ve also watched Fassett lead a weekend workshop several years ago on YouTube from which I learned a lot.

I liked the “Delft” fabric collection well enough that I decided to buy the Gathering No Moss fabrics and join the quilt along. The zoom lectures begin on Wednesday – Aug 4 – on Facebook (why there of all places – I try to stay off Facebook). In any case, my fabric bundle from Hyggeligt Fabrics arrived last week. It’s a lovely collection of fabrics. The instructions are for a 77″ x 92″ quilt – a 5 x 6 array of blocks. I decided to keep the array, but downsize the blocks.

The intended quilt block is a 13 1/2″ square:

The 13 1/2″ block / an 8 1/2″ adaptation

I did a mock-up of the intended block but I wanted to make a smaller throw size quilt so I downsized the blocks which turned into a block a bit smaller than I wanted. [ A finished 9″ block x 5 = 45″ plus 1.25″ x 6 for the sashing = 7.5″ will give me a finished width of 52 1/2″ – a largish throw quilt.]

A 9 1/2″ block

Once I’d figured out the block construction and had dimensions for the 9 1/2″ block I was going to make, I got to work on the Delft fabrics. I simplified the instructions – rather than work with the chart describing what to cut from which fabric, I sorted the fabrics into light/dark and medium. The centre blocks I cut from the small medium colour fabrics; then I cut rectangles and squares for the corner blocks from the darks; finally I cut rectangles and squares (which I cut into half-square triangles) from the lights. The cutting went reasonably quickly.

I carefully laid out the centre blocks in a numerical order – Row 1: 1,2,3,4,5; Row 2: 2,3,4,5,1, etc, until I had six rows of five blocks. While I liked the colour of the Delft fabrics I thought the quilt could use a bit of additional colour – I went through my stash of Kaffe Fassett fabrics picking six bright ones, cut a centre square from each which I then substituted into the array on my table – one in each row.

Next I laid out the pieces from the dark fabrics B,C,D,E,F and the light fabrics G,H,I,J,K in an array and began placing dark/light pairs on top of the centre squares – using a similar shifting pairing so that in the end each block will be unique.

Quilt Construction Begins

You can see the lovely blue and “white” fabrics in the collection. I have so far completed six blocks. The remaining 24 are laid out in position on my cutting table. It takes me about 20 minutes to construct a block so I will need to work on these for the next few days. There’s sashing to insert between the blocks which will tie the whole quilt together – I just haven’t decided what width to use – I’ll make that decision when I have all 30 blocks laid out.

I knew from the beginning I wasn’t likely to follow the instructions. I like the block, so I decided to use it instead of creating something else. Deconstructing the block from the images of the Gathering No Moss quilt was straightforward. I will tune in on Wednesday to see what Fassett has to say – I’m sure I can learn some interesting things from him about colour flow and placement. I’ll report back as I make progress on the project.

Escher Quilt – Finished

Escher Quilt – Finished size: 53″ x 67″

Just finished. I wasn’t sure it was all going to work but it has.

If you click on the image above you will see the quilting detail. I thought about some kind of detailed quilting design but there were two problems. First, I didn’t have a hoop large enough to manage any kind of large block and there isn’t a really clear hexagonal shape to work with, even if I did. I defaulted to a diamond shape which is all I could accommodate. Second, any kind of detailed quilting, like I used on the previous diamond quilts, was going to detract from the effect of the rising, interconnected, vertical elements of the quilt design.

In the end I quilted the “diamonds” using a straight line design alternating the direction of the diamonds to fit into the overall array of interconnected elements.

Quilting Detail

Then what to do with the borders? I decided to use a rather dense floral quilt design; I set up a modified version which I used to fill in the half-diamond elements top and bottom. That decision turned out well.

Quilt Back

I assembled a double strip of pieced strips to allow me to widen the backing enough to fit the quilt top. I bordered the insert strip with unequal strips of a light batik which blended nicely.

I finished the quilt with a narrow 1/4″ conventional quilt binding using 1 1/2″ strips from some Skyline fabric still in my stash which let me get away without having to piece a gazillion tiny leftovers from the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. The binding finishes the quilt hinting at the colours in the main panel.

So, the quilt is done. I started playing with the idea on May 6 – so 2 1/2 weeks is the time it took me to construct, quilt, and complete the project. I’ve had a lot of uninterrupted time to sew since we’ve been on COVID-19 lockdown here in NS since April 25 (we expect to remain locked down until at least the middle of June – maybe longer because while new case counts aren’t going up to any degree, they’re not going down, either!).

Now it’s time to turn my attention to sewing some summer clothes – a couple of dresses, maybe a jean jacket, some linen pull-on pants. I have the fabric on hand. I’ll start by washing it all tomorrow.

Escher Quilt – 7

Redone – I removed the side border, extended the top and bottom borders, and added the 8th column.

Escher Quilt Top – Redone

I’m much happier with the balance. I understand why most people who make this quilt top choose to straighten the top and bottom edges but I find the zigzag edge an interesting detail.

So the top is now complete.

Next, the quilt back. I have to pull out the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric leftovers and see what I can do with them. I have lots of the backing fabric (Ruby Star Society Speckled Metallic Navy 2021). I was able to pick up 3m on Wednesday at my local fabric store.

So now full steam ahead….

Escher Quilt – 6

I thought I had the top finished – I’d added the 7th column, finished off the ends with border fabric, and sewed a border all around.

Escher Quilt Top – Almost Completed

I liked how the border accented the flow of the colour in the panel, I was fine with the finished size (~48″ x 66″). EXCEPT I was NOT happy with the partial points on the bottom left and top right!

That’s solvable one of two ways: either by cutting off the top and bottom point elements; or by adding the 8th column on the right:

Escher Quilt Top With 8th Column To Be Added On Right

I’m leaning toward the second option – I’d like the quilt top to be larger rather than smaller; I also like the top/bottom points – even if they don’t match they are complementary.

So my plan is to add the 8th column tomorrow – it means redoing the top and bottom borders because they will need to be wider to accommodate the extra column width (the length of the side border remains the same).

I didn’t want to add the 8th column – it makes the overall panel close to square (remember I don’t have enough fabric scraps to add a row (or two) to the bottom). I will do that, though, because the unattached points top and bottom are just too jarring – the top and bottom need to be symmetrical (if different).

It also means I have to come up with some kind of idea for a strip for the back – if I’d not used the 8th column on the top, I would’ve inserted it into the back. Now I need to go through the Kaffe Fassett Collective leftover fabric and come up with something that complements the quilt top.

Escher Quilt – 5

Four Columns Assembled

Just finished assembling two more columns and attaching them to the previous two. This represents half of the quilt top. The top and the bottom need to be trimmed. I’d love to be able to add half blocks to the top and bottom edges but I just don’t have enough scraps of all of the fabrics to make 16 more triangles.

I’m understanding the design better now – all of the light (L) pieces have ended up on the left of the verticals, the dark (D) pieces are on the right; and the medium (M) have become the horizontal elements. Very interesting; I didn’t understand that when I started. With that information in hand I’d think about the order in which I laid out the fabrics so related fabrics would form both the light and dark portions of the verticals. That’s if I ever consider repeating this design!

My niece went “Wow!” when she saw a picture of the Escher Quilt and said she’d love to have one. I might just consider buying a kit to simplify choosing fabrics and laying them out so they create the colour flow which the original quilt displays. I’m just not sure I’m up for tackling this project again!

Escher Quilt – 4

I just finished the first column pair using all 16 triangles (twice):

I will end up with an almost square quilt top – 48 wide x ~ 52 long. I can’t add more elements to lengthen each column because I’ve run out of some of the fabrics. So this is it. I could change the width/length ratio by assembling just 7 columns instead of 8; that’s a possibility – and then add a dark 3 1/2″ border to extend the size. I’ll make that decision after I have the 128 triangles sewn together.

I’m more pleased than I thought I would be – the Escher illusion works better than I expected it to, given I wasn’t completely lucky with my fabric colour placement – but the interwoven branching columns stand out clearly.

So, just carry on.

Escher Quilt – 3

I just finished the last set of the 16 triangles for this quilt top. The connections now all work – after taking apart four block sets yesterday and rebuilding them clockwise this morning!

IMG_ 0764
16 Sets of Completed Triangles

It’s hard to tell from the photo how the connections flow (I just realized looking at the photo closely, that I will have to redo that final set on the top left – it’s going counterclockwise! #$^%!)

I was expecting the triangles to align in a single long strip, but instead the connections form a double set of four pairs which will repeat twice to form the strip – the fabrics at the top matching the ones at the bottom.

I’m now seeing some significant differences with what I was trying to do and what I now have. The original Escher Quilt by Chris Weinhold, uses Kaffe Fassett small prints – my fabrics are mostly large scale prints – makes a difference – the small scale prints show the matching better. Also, while I’ve figured out the blocks and how they go together, I didn’t take into account the actual colour flow well enough. We’ll see how this all looks once I’ve sewn the top together but the illusion may not work as well as I expected it to.

Now it’s just a matter of sewing triangles together in columns, then sewing the columns together.

I’ll start that tomorrow – AFTER I take apart the last triangle and remake it!

I was being So careful!

As I worked away at the triangle blocks for the Escher quilt I ran into a snag – I could line up the first few blocks but then I had trouble finding the next in the series. I’m pretty sure my numbers will work – but I certainly had a problem somewhere.

I could align the dark circle fabric from the first to the second triangle, I could also align the join with the yellow fabric on the right (the 2nd and 3rd stack), and even match up the red fabric above that on the left, but I reached an impasse after the 5th block! The next matching block took me back to stack A at the bottom – which it shouldn’t have done. The stacks should line up in a continuous line – all 16 of them.

Stacks Of Stitched Blocks

I finally figured out, after spending a large part of the morning pouring over pictures of the Escher quilt and checking that I’d set up the stacks according to the table I’d been able to create from what another quilter had posted, that the third set of blocks from the bottom was pieced counterclockwise instead of clockwise!

It turns out that four of the five finished stacks of triangles which build with the triangle on the right were sewn together counterclockwise – light strip attached to triangle, medium strip to that seam, dark strip to the remaining side – NOPE – should have been light attached to triangle, DARK next, and finally the medium – to give a clockwise rotation.

quilting blocks
Two (of 4) Stacks Taken Apart Ready to Redo!

Out came my seam ripper. I disassembled four sets of (8) triangles; I restitched one. I’ll get to the remaining three tomorrow. I have my fingers crossed the numbers in the table I generated from photos are correct, and once I’ve resewn those three sets of triangles with the correct rotation, the remaining unsewn blocks (6) will align correctly once I’ve assesmbled them.

Here’s hoping!

The Escher Quilt 2

Yesterday I organized my fabric into eight sets of three groupings – light, medium, dark. I cut 2″ strips from each and cut the trapezoid shapes (16 from each fabric) plus the small dark triangles for the centre of the block. (In a couple of blocks I ran out of fabric and had to fill in a couple of trapezoids with as close a colour match as I could – it will be interesting to see where they show up in the layout).

Fabric Cut Into Trapezoids

Next step was to group these trapezoids into groups of three for each block (a dark, a medium, a light). Before I did that I spent quite a bit of time looking at photos of the the quilt in progress which I found online in order to sort out the groupings. Then I set up the blocks – two sets – one which starts with the triangle on the right side of the light piece; the other with the triangle on the left side of the light piece.

Pieces For Each Block Gathered

These are the blocks with the triangle on the right. There is a complementary set with the triangle on the left.

In the afternoon I stitched block “A”, then block “B” and placed them together so the dark fabric forms the wide 120° angle – the two triangles at the bottom of the stack below. I also did the “C” stack but that triangle fits in somewhere else.

Stacks Of Stitched Blocks

The next triangle needed to join the light vertical on the “B” block turned out to be block “M” followed by “L”, then “K”.

To see how this array would look like sewn together I stitched one of each together.

Start Of Column 1

You can’t really see the optical illusion yet – I need to construct the second column and join it to column #1. At the moment I’ll continue constructing all the blocks then lay out the first column (it uses all 16 triangle blocks). I don’t yet know where the second column actually begins – the order of the blocks will be the same, but it will start at another place and until I get all the blocks stitched, I’m not going to know where column #2 begins.

In any case, I’ve set up a chart showing the fabrics in each triangle block – there are no duplicates, but the linkages become apparent. It will be a matter of just laying out the matching pieces to create the structure of the interlocked elements.

Now, it’s just a matter of carrying on with block construction. I’ve got six block sets done – that leaves a dozen to go and then I can set up the columns….