Gathering No Moss

Quilt Top Assembled

Here it is – the quilt top is finally assembled. All the shark’s teeth sashing is going in the same direction vertically and horizontally (that took a bit of correcting in the first couple of rows until I realized the top would look better with that fabric unidirectional rather than helterskelter. The four substituted square centres bring some life to the quilt and bring out the colour in the others.

Final quilt size is 52 1/2″ x 62 3/4″.

Next step is to create six more blocks for the back of the quilt. Past Friday I went to Mahone Bay to Woolworks and picked up one of the fabrics to use for backing the quilt. One length isn’t wide enough for a backing – I will splice it and insert a column of blocks with sashing.

It’s a lovely colourful quilt top – I like Kaffe Fassett’s sharks’ teeth fabric selection for the sashing – quite unlike the other fabrics, yet the right colour – it creates a very modern feel to what is a traditional block.

And I was right – the many imperfections in the blocks were amended when I added the sashing. I didn’t trim the blocks to a precise 9 1/2″ because I needed to keep the 1/4″ at each corner block point so I fudged the placement while adding sashing and the blocks have ended up as I wanted them.

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!

Next Quilt – The “Escher” Quilt

After I had the third diamond quilt underway I came across what’s called the “Escher” Quilt.

There are a lot of examples of this quilt online – I don’t know who developed the idea originally. The assembly creates the illusion of impossible interlocked elements. The quilter who’s photo I’ve shown below (whom I know only as “chiquitatarita”) posted photos of her quilt top in progress (she’d bought a kit using Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics)- here she had two columns assembled where you can see the construction clearly. I even have quite a few of those particular fabrics!

I could make this simple and enrol in a class or I could buy a kit (which includes fabric, a pattern and instructions), but I decided to try on my own to see what I can construct using a relatively simple block.

Next I came across another blogger who also described how she worked with the kit she’d bought:

First we made a chart, and laid out all the fabrics, from one to eight down, and L/M/D across.  After cutting, we needed to then pair up the pieces according to the chart.  Each piece has a light, a medium, and a dark bar, but they’re different depending upon their relative location in the row.

This helps me figure out how to go through my fabrics and set up an 8 x 3 array as Sue describes above.

So I set out to create the basic block – it took several attempts to establish a size for the block using paper and pencil. Then I cut out bits of fabric to see if my calculations worked – they didn’t – not at first. However, I did finally manage to work out a reasonable size block which went together pretty well.

Triangle Unit
Triangle Unit 1

This block is one of a pair – the second one assembles in the opposite direction which lets you put the triangles together to form a connected “diamond” where the same fabric abuts to form a wide angle – you can see two in the photo below – one in brown, the second in green (I’m just working with scraps to see if I could set up a couple of blocks):

Three Triangle Units Sewn Together
Three Triangle Units Sewn Together

The precision issues won’t be with my cutting – I now have the dimensions I know will work. It’s my sewing that will create issues – I will have to be extremely careful to sew a “scant” 1/4″ seam. When I attach the triangle to the first trapezoid I need to stitch a partial seam – which is completed when I add the third trapezoid. Then I need to carefully press each resulting triangle so the centre triangle seams are pressed outward. Finally, I will need to press the block-joining seams open, so the assembly will lay flat. I also have to remember to create my blocks in pairs – one block having the small triangle at the left of the first trapezoid, the second having it at the right end!

Now it’s time to go through my fabrics – I want 24 – set up in eight sets of Light, Medium, and Dark. I don’t have complete colour ways sets of three but I’m sure I have enough variety in my collection of Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics to make something that will work.