Over a year ago, I brainstormed ideas for a group quilt. After discussing the ideas with the group, we opted for the following guidelines:
- All blocks will finish at 3″, 6″, or 9″ on any side (3 1/2″, 6 1/2″, or 9 1/2″ unfinished).
- All blocks will have a curve. The curve can be done via piecing, applique, bias tape, or any other desired method.
- Each block will use lime green and a background color.
In July of last year, I shared that I had received fabric for the quilt from Northcott Fabrics in June:
- 90000-71 Lime
- 9000-252 Marrakech
- 9000-590 Tangerine
- 9000-580 Carrot
- 9000-550 Saffron (background)
- 9000-530 Cheese Sauce (background)
- 9000-314 Shortbread
- 9000-11 Eggshell
Due to receiving the fabric so late in the year, we decided to get the quilt complete in time to submit to QuiltCon 2022. Well, it’s time to get this project moving, so I’ve made my first grouping of blocks.
I am leaving all of my blocks oversized so that they can be trimmed to best fit with the other blocks received. The largest block can be as large as 9 1/2″ on a side, the two medium blocks can be as large as 6 1/2″ on a side, and the smallest block will need trimmed to 3 1/2″ square.
Sharon from Color Girl Quilts provided me with a Classic Curves ruler, and one of my main goals is to eventually add to my curve star tutorials to show how to use the Classic Curves ruler to piece those blocks. In the meantime, I figured I would give the ruler a test drive with my first block for the group quilt. I wanted to inset a couple of full circles, and the ruler worked perfectly for that need. Before using the ruler for the inset circles, I watched Sharon’s Sew a Full Set-In Circle video (featuring Cassandra Beaver), which was helpful.
Note that as of about 1 year ago, there are marks on the ruler for a 1/4” offset, so additional tape (which is discussed in the linked video) is not necessary with the newer rulers (see the dashed lines in the detail photo above).
Using the scraps cut from piecing the first block, I opted for reverse applique to inset a small oval into the background.
For the third block, I wanted play with bias tape. I started by creating the background of the block with an improv curve of Saffron and Eggshell. Then I create short bias tape strips and machine appliqued them in place following the curve set by the background piecing (the top/furthest right curve of the Marrakech curve follows the initial piecing line). I used 1 1/2″ strips which finish at about 3/4″ bias strips. After the machine applique stitching was complete, I cut away the background fabric to reduce the bulk of this block.
This is a good point to talk about the thread colors I am using. For general piecing, I opted to use 50wt Aurifil 2140 (Orange Mustard) because it blended well with both background colors. For the top stitching on the bias tape, I used 2460 (Dark Carmine Red) for the Marrakech fabric, 1104 (Neon Orange) for the Tangerine fabric, 2140 (Orange Mustard) for the Carrot fabric, and 1231 (Spring Green) for the Lime fabric. Once I trimmed the block, I also stitched over the edges of the bias tape to keep them secure until it is ready to be final trimmed and sewn into the quilt top. *Note: there are likely slightly better color matches between the fabric and Aurifil thread, but working with what I had on hand turned out well enough!
Because the method of improv curve piecing creates an alternating pair of curves, I used the inverse version from the third block to make a quick fourth block.
I don’t expect all of the blocks that I piece to end up in the pieced group quilt top, but I was excited to get a bit of time to just play and explore techniques and ideas. I look forward to seeing what others in the group create, and I expect that they will inspire me to make another grouping of blocks before I send off what I have made to be pieced together. I haven’t used any of the Shortbread fabric yet, so that will also be a goal when I make my next set of blocks.