Pinwheel Challenge Quilt

MM Pinwheel quilt detail 2I’m participating in my first fabric challenge! The challenge is through the national Modern Quilt Guild and is sponsored by Michael Miller fabrics. Each participant received the same six fat eighths of the Michael Miller Petal Pinwheels line; the challenge is just to make something quilted from that fabric, adding only solids or other Michael Miller fabric. As an additional challenge, the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild is encouraging our members to make their quilted item a quilt for Project Linus.

The fabric colors are right up my alley, so I was excited to get started. I had wanted to make a boy quilt from the fabrics, but they were just too girly. I feel kind of like a dork for making pinwheels from a fabric with Pinwheel in the title, but it just seemed to make sense.

MM Pinwheel quilt detail

I’d used this same pinwheel pattern for another quilt, but this time, in addition to making the original pattern (from Modern Blocks by Susanne Woods), I adjusted the pattern to make one pinwheel larger than the original and several that were smaller than the original.

MM Pinwheel quilt topI tried something different for the setting and kind of made the pinwheels float on the blue background. I placed the pinwheel blocks where I wanted them to be and then added the blue fabric to connect the pinwheels and fill in the background. I didn’t have quite enough blue fabric for the whole background, so I bought some of one challenge fabric and put it on the bottom along with a strip of orange (the same orange I used on all the pinwheel centers).

I swear I didn’t cut the bottom fabric that crooked—and I noticed it too late in the process to want to change it. Could it be possible the fabric was printed crooked? Rats, nonetheless.

MM Pinwheel quilt backFor the back of the quilt, I used more of the yardage I had purchased. But I also added a section of leftover challenge fabric pieces (including one more pinwheel for kicks).

I’ve already finished the quilting on this one, thanks to a sew-in day for the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild. I’ll show photos of that once I get the binding finished up.

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Flying Birds Quilt, Takes 2 and 3

Crane blue top

Back in August of last year, I posted a piece titled “The Quilt I Might Take Apart.” I had made a quilt using some great fabrics, but I didn’t like the way the floral fabric repeated so often and regularly.

Flying birds 2

Well, after letting it sit for a few months, I did take it apart. And then I let it sit for a few months again. But this past weekend, its sitting time was over. Because I was going to finish this quilt top!

As I was taking apart the quilt, I decided to leave the block units (as I saw them, anyway) intact.

Crane block

My challenge was to come up with a setting for these blocks that would work, ideally with the fabrics I had left in my stash. After a good bit of thought, I came up with this sketch.

Flying Birds sketch

The green sashing lines would be the floral fabric that I didn’t like in Take 1. This time, it would be cut into small pieces, so the repeat wouldn’t be an issue. The pink sashing lines would be a pink stripe I had used in the quilt already. I liked this setting because the blocks weren’t placed statically in a row and had a bit of movement.

So I sewed the whole top together that way.

Crane pink top

And then I realized I didn’t like it . . . again. The pink was too dominant (I probably could have guessed that from my sketch). And it turns out I like that pink fabric only in small amounts.

After letting it sit for only a few hours this time, I started thinking about other fabric choices. Greg was a great help during this process. It’s so nice to have someone with whom to talk through these decisions. I can tell that being my quilt sounding board isn’t his favorite thing in the world, but he’s a good sport, and I trust his opinions. He didn’t like the pink either.

Crane sashing test

Back to the stash. I liked the idea of adding more blue to the quilt, so the blue fabric shown above had some appeal. But I thought using it for both the horizontal and vertical sashings would be too heavy, again. Then I found some blue fabric left over from my recent messenger bag project. So I took out all the pink sashing and added blue.

Crane blue top

This quilt top is done. Or at least I am done with this quilt top. I think I like this setting the best, but I may need a bit more distance before I make that determination. I like that the quilt reads as blue and teal, anyway.

I didn’t follow a pattern at all for this quilt, and I think that shows. Designing quilts is not as easy as it sounds. The top turned out looking much more chaotic than I would have liked; the small image of it on my camera looks like a jumbled mess. But I wouldn’t say this attempt was entirely unsuccessful. I certainly learned a lot from the experience. My top three lessons: don’t assume big chunks of fabric will read as resting areas—they won’t if it’s a busy pattern; make more detailed sketches to determine how busy a quilt will actually look; simplify, simplify, simplify.

I’m not sure yet if I will add borders to this one or just quilt it and bind it. It may have to sit for a bit before I figure that out.