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Sampling a new design!

Norfolk Bricks

Hello, hello! How are you today? I’m so excited I could burst – we’ve had some some real, proper snow flurries, flakes drifting down thick and cold. All gone in about 30 minutes, though there’s ice overnight. My chickens are staying snuggled up together in their coop, sharing their food with the songbirds. My cats are sleeping in a drawer of jumpers, or on my sewing table, paws dangling over the radiator. At last it feels like winter.  And what do quilters do in the winter?  Snuggle up on the sofa under a quilt! Bliss.

I’ve been working on my new pattern design for a lap quilt this week. I ordered the fabric from The Cotton Patch sale of Free Spirit designs and thought I’d hyperventilate when I opened the package! Oh. Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever bought enough fabric for an entire quilt in one go before and seeing all those colours and patterns dancing before my eyes was a moment of wonderful possibilities! It was like looking at a box of luscious pastels and knowing that something good was going to come of it.

Original quilt design © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

New design: Norfolk Bricks

I’ve been writing the pattern for a couple of weeks and I’ve finally got the design looking good (I think!).  I wanted to create something that would be suitable for adventurous beginners and simple square patches in shapes and colours inspired by the cottages I saw in Norfolk seemed to fit the bill.  So, time to cut out the pieces and get stuck in!

Stack of freshly laundered fabric for a lap quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Luscious colours!

Yes. If only it were that easy.  I discovered there were some rather large flaws in my pattern writing caused by my nemesis: numbers.  One day they really will send me over the edge!  I’d written the pattern and fabric cutting layouts based on a fabric width of 118cm.  What? I hear you cry!  Where did you get that from? Well, let’s start by saying that having to buy fabric by the metre then convert the whole lot to inches was never going to be straight forward, for me. Inches are not simple for a start. I mean everything’s divisible by 16. And I don’t know my 16 times table. Sad, but true. And then there are 12 inches to a foot and 3 feet to a yard. I mean with centimetres you just have to remember the number 10. It’s easy people, so easy! So for a 44″ width of fabric we get 111.8cm (rounded up).  Can you see what happened here?  I didn’t, obviously.  I moved the ‘8’. Or rather it moved itself.  Numbers have a habit of doing this to me: they jump around on the page. So utterly frustrating. And confusing. And it happens a lot.  I have to go over things a million times!  And often I still don’t see any issues. Until I try and follow my own cutting layout and realise, when it becomes a visual, kinaesthetic experience, that my numbers don’t add up and it won’t damn well fit! Not to mention that I’d based my layouts on fat quarters and what arrived were quarter widths of fabric. Back to the drawing board. Meh.

Stack of units for 9 patch blocks for a quilt border.  © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

9 patch blocks in progress

But when there’s a quilt to make, a few mismatched numbers aren’t going to stop me: I managed to get the quantity of pieces needed from what I’d ordered, so all’s good! At least it taught me that when I’m designing my next pattern I need to order over and above what I calculate I might need. Just in case. (‘Just in case’?! More like inevitable!) So, moving on!  Here’s a sneak peek of the nine patches in progress for the border.  So far I’m pleased with the way my fabric choices are working out (at least there’s something I’m good at!!!)

9 patch block for a quilt border, © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Starting with the borders

In the nine patch above I’ve used fabrics from Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner, Valori Wells and Dena Fishbein.  I hope to have something more to show you later in the week.  In the mean time can I ask you something? you could really help me out! Do you buy your fabric in fat quarters or width of fabric?  Do you even buy quarters at all, perhaps you prefer to buy longer lengths? Let me know in the comments below – and thank you for your help!

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social and Work in Progress Wednesday – looking forward to having a browse around today 🙂

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10 replies
  1. Lorna McMahon
    Lorna McMahon says:

    I am so proud of you for tackling the pattern writing! Being born and raised in Canada, I remember when the metric system was introduced and agree it is easier to work with. I buy both fat quarters and yard lengths.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Aw, thanks Lorna! I’m having fun, but it’s a steep learning curve where measurements are involved! I’m very much a ‘suck-it-and-see’ / improvise-as-I-go along quilter, so producing something others can reproduce is ‘interesting’!

      Reply
  2. Ann
    Ann says:

    Your pattern reminds me of your stonework photos without being a photographic replica. Great job! Congratulations on writing a pattern.
    I buy WOF (1/8-1/2 yd.) Sometimes I buy fat quarters but they are harder for me to use.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Wow, thank you so much for the lovely comment Ann – I find it’s good to take things as a starting point and see where they lead, rather than just try and reproduce something I see in another medium.

      I didn’t even know you could buy 1/8 of a yard! The minimum here (in my two local stores) is 20cm (8″), although I’m sure in the past they sold in 10cm (4″) multiples. Online the minimum seems to be 1/4m (25cm/10″). Thanks for letting me know!

      Reply
  3. Mary
    Mary says:

    Good luck with your pattern writing, it’s definitely a skill.
    Generally I buy FQ’s I can’t justify buying larger cuts unless they are for something quite specific or on sale and a bargain for quilt backing! Oh yes and I assume that a FQ is 18″ x 22″ rather than a FQ of a metre!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Mary. I’m with you, I generally buy small amounts here and there (the odd quarter or FQ). It’s been an eye-opener buying enough to make a whole lap quilt in one go – and not good for the bank balance! I bought these fabrics at half price and it’ll have cost around £70.00 by the time it’s finished. And it’s my intention to design a collection before I put any patterns out for sale; it could be a major investment!

      Reply
  4. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    I always buy half yards. And if that’s not enough I improvise. But then even thinking about quilt maths makes me feel quite ill! I love the colours you have chosen – this quilt should have a great vibe.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Kaja, that’s really helpful. I think 1/2m is probably very sensible – I totally agree with the improvisation, I think it forces you to really think about a design. And I LOVE scrappy quilts anyway. I should have the top finished today (yes it was that quick and easy!), so will post some photos tomorrow if the weather brightens up (I know you know how that feels!!!) – the colours are quite a punch in the eye, haha!!!

      Reply

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