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The Sochi Winter Olympics have opened today and many of us will be glued to drama and competition. For countries hosting the games it is an opportunity to share some of their culture and traditions with the world. One of the traditions that Russia is sharing through branding on the Sochi games is patchwork quilting. The Olympic Patchwork Quilt shows many of the traditional regional craft designs all incorporated into a stunning diamond patchwork. The first time I saw it I wanted to make something like it. That masterpiece will have to wait for another day. For now, I will be content with my own Olympic Games challenge — to create a diamond-based top for a small quilt and have the top finished by the end of the games. It will give me something productive to do while I watch the thrill of victory and agony of defeat!
To get started I have chosen a pattern that I find intriguing. I consider it to be a more modern take on a traditional diamond block quilt. This pattern, Mosaic Diamonds, is a free download available from Dear Stella Designs. Although the pattern features fabrics from two Dear Stella fabric lines, I will be substituting fabrics, but working in the same color palette. I can tell that winter in Wisconsin is starting to get to me. When I look at the color palette the first thing that comes to mind is how, at this point in the winter, snow starts to look dirty along roadways, but as you look out into the fields beyond the road the snow is pristine and white. With that little patch of pale yellow as an accent in the quilt my mind races back to childhood and the wisdom of many friends when we all advised each other “Don’t eat yellow snow!” Perhaps I should try to come up with a more grown-up image. Got it! How about gazing at rays of sunlight filtering through gray, snow-filled clouds and dancing along the snow covered surface of a tree-lined field. At least it sounds better! Enough of this reminiscing — back to work!
Recently I have been working on organizing my fabric stash. After 2 moves and much disruption it is a task long overdue. While sorting through one of my crates of fabric I came across a 9 yard piece that I had originally purchased for a border and back of a quilt that I had planned to make. Of course, when I got the fabric home I discovered that I really didn’t have the right choice of coordinating prints to make it work. The project was shelved, and the fabric was waiting for the right time to come along. This is the time. I found a number of coordinating prints featuring whites, various shades and intensities of gray, taupe, and a yellow to create the individual facets of the diamonds. For the background I will use a tonal white, probably one with snowflakes.
I have chosen more fabrics than the pattern calls for, but I want the diamonds to be scrappier and more choices gives me more flexibility to create the look and feel that I am trying to achieve. As I start to put strip sets together I will tweak the balance of colors to maintain a lightness to the quilt. The darker colors and prints will be used sparingly. My goal for tonight is to get my strip cut and grouped so that I can start sewing tomorrow. The Olympics will continue until February 23, so I have a little over two weeks to get this top assembled. Given my schedule, that is a big challenge. But, like the participating athletes, I have trained for this. I know what my goal is. If I keep to my schedule, this should be achievable. Stay tuned! I will update with my progress daily and include as many tips and tricks as I can to help you master the art of piecing diamonds, too!