Saturday, 13 October 2012

Seeing Red (and Grey!)

Lately I seem to have been picking up various fat quarters in reds and greys. It started as subliminal, and then grew more conscious. I added in a charm pack of vintage modern, picking out the suitable pieces, and another charm pack of Kona solids. One way and another, I ended up with a nice pile!

At the same time, I bought a new duvet cover and curtains  for the guest room, deliberately going for a neutral palate of soft greys - just so I can throw whatever quilt I like onto the bed! I needed one room in the house that didn't dictate the patchwork colours, a room which lets me do the chosing, and enables me to swap things around.

The cross stitch is one my grandmother did, and I love it.After she'd had it framed, she wrote on the back, her name and age at the time - 81 years old. It is of Grassington Square in Yorkshire.

Mainly owing to the size of charm pack squares, I decided to cut all my reds and greys into 2.5 inch squares, so they will end up as 2 inches squared after sewing. Pretty small, and I would have gone half an inch bigger if I'd been cutting from yardage. However, I very much had in mind from the start a quilt in just two colours, with small and random squares. My original plan was for a 60x60 finished quilt, which would need 900 squares. However, as I began to cut (so boring...) I changed tack and decided to make it slightly wider across the bed, but not as long, more of a foot runner. To make the quilt top, I will sew it as four quarters, and then stitch them together. To ensure an even spread of fabric, I separated each fabric into 4 piles as soon as I cut the squares, and stored them that way. The smaller, fifth pile in the middle, is the odds and ends. The smallest amount of any one fabric going into the quilt is one single square, from my scrap tub. On the whole, the largest amount is a fat eighth, which yields 32 squares. Any more of one fabric would be too dominant.

Just to check that things were working out along the right lines, I laid out the beginnings of one quarter of the quilt on the guest bed...

There are just a few fussy cut pieces from tiny leftovers ;-)

At that point, there wasn't enough Vintage Modern for it to show, so I went back to the rest of the charm pack and found a few more grey-ish pieces I'd originally overlooked.

I thought I was going to have to do a quick dash to the nearest fabric shop for one more fat quarter, then magically found a plain red buried in the middle of the scrap tub. Then I laid out a pile of squares, enough for one quarter of the quilt, and suggested to Miss PatchyRose that she might like to arrange them for me. She was so happy to be involved, and enjoyed it more than I would! I left her to it, until she called me back to look.

She had a complaint... i hadn't given her enough red squares and she was 3 short! But I knew I'd given her exactly the right number of squares to create a grid that was 17 squares wide by 10 tall. Problem was, while I'd anticipated a random design, she'd decided to alternate reds and greys!! What were the chances of there being an almost exact amount of each?!? So, what to I do? Shall I cut a few more reds and go with her alternating design, or just rough them up a bit into a random mix? Any thoughts?


  1. So that's what you two were up to while I was gardening ;-) - Mr PatchyRose

    PS I'd go with equal red and grey.

  2. They are both very pretty. My personal favorite might be the random layout...
    ; )

  3. El traductor en este caso resulta abrumador. Creo entender que tu funcionas con mente matemática y quieres cuadrar todo. Yo funciono con las telas y normalmente me faltan o me sobran, trabajo con los colores y voy formando el top según voy cortando.
    Así que no logro entender lo que nos preguntas.
    Lo que si te puedo decir es que la combinación me gusta muchísimo, tiene fuerza y es muy bonita.
    Y el cuadro de tu abuela es precioso.
    Dile a Rosi que es una muy buena ayudante.
    Muchos besos.

  4. Oh I recognised Grassington immediately as it's where my mum is from and all her family still live there, including my Nana, many aunts and uncles and cousins. I see from your next post that you settled on a grey/red grid, which I think looks rather nice and would have been my choice :) Beth/thelinencat xx