Okay, we’re in the final stretch of the design of the Test Your Skills sampler quilt. I’ve played (and played, and played) in EQ7 and this is what I have:
Here are my goals for the sampler:
1. Put to use all of the skills covered (or yet to be covered) in the Skill Builder Series, including
- Fabric Selection
- Matching Seams
- Half Square Triangles
- Quarter Square Triangles
- Flying Geese
- Diamond in a Square (aka Square in a Square)
- 60 Degree Triangles
- Log Cabins
- Curved Piecing
- Foundation Piecing
- Alternate Blocks
- Y Seams
- Setting Options
- Batting/Backing/Sandwiching the Quilt
2. Give the quilt maker an opportunity to practice some of these basic components. At a recent Modern Quilt Guild meeting, one of the members commented that she doesn’t really like samplers as teaching tools because you do something once and then move on. She felt that making the same block many times did a better job of fixing that skill in her head. I thought that was an interesting point, so the sampler has both single blocks and a scattering of smaller blocks made many times in different sizes.
3. Be accessible! Does it look too overwhelming? Ideally, even a completely new quilter should be able to start with the first lesson and work his or her way through the entire sampler.
4. Look pretty! Is it too cluttered? Is there too much white space? Does it need a border? Do the blocks flow in a way that moves the eye around the quilt? We made some deliberate choices, but I want to see hear reactions before I explain those choices.
5. Be a reasonable size project, both in time and material. This quilt finishes at 70″ x 86″ and uses about 7 yards of fabric (5 of which is background), not including the backing. I expect that the sampler will last about 3-4 months. We’ve already demonstrated a little over half of the skills and several of the blocks, but each will be addressed individually once the sampler begins. There are twelve main blocks and five filler blocks.
6. Look good in any fabric preference, from ultra-traditional to ultra-modern. Here are a few alternate colorways:
So what do you think? I’m hoping for substantial feedback here because this sampler is a major undertaking on our part and I want some reassurance! I’d love to hear both the positives and negatives so I know if we’re going in the right direction with this. Unless there are any major changes that come up from your suggestions, I’d like to post the first instructions next week (probably Sunday).
Edited to answer some questions:
The finished block size is 16″, but in most cases that includes the “white” space around the actual blocks. The large feathered star just left of/below center is a full 16″ block, and all of the others have background fabric added to bring the block up to 16″ so it can be assembled easily. The other main blocks range from 9″ to 12″ and the filler blocks range from 3″ to 8″.
The main blocks can easily be done in prints. The very small blocks (3″ and 4″) are probably best done in solid or tone on tone (also called “read as solid”) fabrics. The floating effect is achieved by using a single background fabric. All of the examples except the bottom left use solids for the background. The large white example and the purple background example use all solids; all of the other examples use prints in every blocks. EQ7 doesn’t always show those prints to scale so it may look different when actually pieced. You can click on each quilt to see a larger version in Flickr.
Because the blocks appear to float and are different sizes, the sampler will have a more modern feel. Even so, it could look very niced pieced with more traditional color palettes and fabrics. The bottom left example uses a lot of 1800’s reproduction fabrics and the yellow background uses 30s reproduction fabrics.