Olympic Challenge Day 4 — Random Stripping

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I’m going to preface this by stating that, despite popular belief, there really are no Quilt Police. Many of the aspects of quilting that are attributed to the Quilt Police really fall under the heading of Generally Accepted Best Practices. Just as there are reasons why things are done in a certain way, there are exceptions to every rule. Not only that, but one of our favorite sayings around the shop is “we’ve never met a pattern that we haven’t changed.” Let’s talk about what I have changed so far.

The Mosaic Diamonds Quilt pattern shows two 16 fabric diamond blocks and two 5 fabric (4 prints plus background) diamond. The fabric layout is basStacks of Stripsed upon cutting the number of strips of the specific fabrics specified in the pattern requirements and cutting directions. I have opted to change my quilt up a bit and add more prints for a scrappier look. By doing that I really can’t use the print layout as shown in the pattern. Or, maybe I can. Right now I just have a pile of strips cut and somehow they need to be grouped.

I am using a  color palette similar to the palette specified in the pattern and I have cut my strips to approximately maintain the same proportion of light and dark. Because I have more strips (98 half WOF instead of 49 WOF strips) I can mix the prints up more. What I will do is layout my strips in rows and simulate the color balance as it is shown in the pattern. But, instead of having enough row strip sets to creaBlock A Strip Sets 2te the 18 Diamond A blocks, I will layout several versions of each of the 4 rows in one of the diamonds, maintaining the color balance, but changing the prints. This way I can create either 3 sets of 5 identical blocks, or, if I get really scrappy, switch entire rows from the different groups to make all of the Diamond A blocks unique.

As you look through the sets you can see that each row has four pieces laid in order from left to right. The three different prints lined up in position for each row are shown going from top to bottom. Occasionally, I have used a print more than once in a given set. I am less concerned about repeating prints in different groups than I am trying to maintain the color balance.

The second thing you may have noticed is that I have gone from talking about needing 18 Diamond A block to discussing making 15. I will go into how to determine the number of strip sets to be cut from each group in a subsequent post, but for now the math works out to creating 15 blocks. Instead of making more strip sets to create the additional 3 blocks that will be needed I have decided to wait until I start placing the blocks on my design wall to determine the look and light/dark/color balance that I need to have to fill in.

I still need 12 Diamond B blocks and must go through the same process for those. That is another part of the reason that I stopped with the sets for 15 A Blocks. I wanted to be sure that I had reasonable strip choices remaining for the other blocks. With the majority of the blocks color matched with the original quilt I know I visually see what I want to add and where I want to add it for the remaining blocks.

One other tidbit to consider when you are trying to randomize the prints for a piece you are working on. Try taking all of your pieces (for this project it would be the strips of a similar value) and put them in a brown paper bag. Without looking, pull out a strip and place it in the next spot on the project. The trick is to NOT double dip and go back for a different strip just because you don’t like the one that came out. I know it sounds like it should be easy, but it is sometimes very difficult to just accept what you have in you hand instead of  matching prints that you think coordinate well!

Now that I have some strip sets coordinated I have my choice of sewing the sets together and cutting the rows, or matching the rest of the sets for the B blocks. Or, perhaps, I’ll have dinner and just watch the games for the rest of the evening! Check back tomorrow and find out which option won!


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