Tuesday, May 29, 2012

easy is Good

Once upon a time, I pinned this lovely image to my Patchwork Pinterest board.  My exact comments,  "easy is good."

by Cassandra Ellis

Whenever I develop a class, I really stretch myself in the process.  I want to create projects that are fresh, useful, but not too hard.  I must try new things, things that don't always work.  It's exciting and exhausting.

Maybe that's why I was struck with the desire to make this quilt while visiting a friend in her new nest.  She hadn't had the time or energy to do much decorating and I noticed she had only sheets on the two beds that stood in a sunny, large children's room.  This quilt by Cassandra Ellis really looks like my friend as well.  Bethany is loyal to neutrals, a fan of simple, with a style that exudes good old-fashioned purity.  Here's an example of when being "original" was not even the point.  I set out to make a quilt just like Cassandra's, but in colors to suite Bethany's children.  Easy and good.

One thing I love about this design is how it contrasts random and order.  The strips of "stacked coins" that reach across the quilt, are all neatly aligned with a standard length, but within the strips the width of the coins varies dramatically.  This also means you can use scraps of various sizes, rather than having to trim away (waste away) fabric to fit a particular dimension.

piecing and listening

I decided to cut my scraps 9" long in widths varying from 1.5" to 6".  As I pieced them together, I noticed that I preferred to use the thin strings sparingly to keep the quilt from being too busy.  I cut up all of my neutral string scraps and large scraps in blacks, browns, whites and grays.  For Lucy's quilt I added peachy pinks, bright pink, soft pink, lime green, pale green and dark green.  After some piecing, I made sure to use plenty of Kona solids rather than so many prints to give the eye places to rest.  And, I did have to keep reminding myself that this quilt was to have lots of neutrals.  My ratio of neutral to colored strips is about 4:1.

warm Flea Market Fancy grays

After piecing the strings into long rows, it was time to trim the rows to 60" long (Bethany asked for twin quilts measuring 60" x 96").  I had cut my strings 9" wide with the intention of trimming them to 8.5" wide after piecing.  This approach allowed me to piece without stressing if row edges were sewing in perfectly aligned.  Stacking so many strings together inevitably causes edges to shift here and there. Trimming to perfection makes for relaxing sewing!

trimming up

To trim, I folded the strips in half, matched the fold to the bottom of my cutting mat and cut the length of the strip to 30" for 60" long unfolded.  I took a 1/4" or so off each side of the strip to finish them at 8.5" wide.

tagging strips

Once all (12) 8.5" x 60" strips were pieced and trimmed, I arranged them on the floor.  Then I flipped and shuffled strips until the most eye-catching prints (like the black dot and bright lime floral) were evenly distributed.  To save the strip order without having to leave them spread out on my floor, I used masking tape to stick numbers right on each strip!

Simple for Lucy

Then just 11 loooooong seams later, I had a quilt top!

lots of neutrals

This quilt design is one I can heartily recommend to anyone.  It's a great choice for your first quilt or a fast, easy way to eat through those string scraps.  I'd love to see a rainbow scrap version!  Or, a monochromatic rendering would be lovely!

waiting...

My quilt is now patiently waiting a backing.  I can't bring myself to piece together prints from my stash for the back, since they would probably never see the light of day on the back of a bed quilt.  I'm going to order something in this case.  Hopefully, it'll be linen!

38 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I have been wanting to make a quilt like this!

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  2. That is simple but very attractive. I need something easy peasy about right now.

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    1. This was probably the most low-key quilt I've ever made!

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  3. That is really beautiful! I like your color scheme better than the original. What a sweet friend you are to do that for her!

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  4. What a pretty quilt you made for your friend. I was wondering if you ever eat at your table since it makes such a good sewing space for you?

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    1. Haha, yes, we definitely eat there! It is actually our only table. I do clean it up daily, but it's extra-long so I can leave some things at the end.

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  5. WOW, another great way to use up scraps! I think I'll make a link to this wonderful tutorial on my blog and on our quiltfriends forum??? And I would like to see this quilt made with rainbow colors: I like rainbow colors!!
    Greetings from Germany!!!

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  6. Simple is AWESOME! this color combination is amazing too. Love it!

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  7. Simple is just - wonderful. Love it - gotta make one of my own :).

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  8. Lovely lovely quilt top. The mix of colours is great and I really like the different strip widths.

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  9. I really like how the stacked coins stretch across the bed rather than down. thanks for the details on how your created such a lovely quilt.

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  10. It came together nicely! And very quick. I bet your friend will love it, and it's coordinating version! I don't blame you for buying a backing. You're right; it probably wouldn't be seen much.

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  11. Very nice, sure they'll be loved!

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  12. I love it when a quilt feels fresh and effortless at the same time. :) Beautiful quilt top and thanks for the details on how you made it!

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  13. What a lovely quilt, Rachel! I'm totally smitten.

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  14. Perfect! The little pops of lime green really make the quilt, IMO.

    I, too, find that after working on something tricky and complex for a while it's refreshing (and sometimes necessary) to do some very simple sewing as a change of pace. This is a lovely method, and a great use of scraps!

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  15. it looks great. would you be interested in posting this at our group string blog, http://stringthingalong.blogspot.com? i can set you up as an author.

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  16. I like the quilt top. I've seen stripes quilts before but I like the look of your quilt top and saved the how-to in case I like to make one, too. I can't wait to see the finished quilt.

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  17. That looks awesome! Love the mix of colours and prints =D

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  18. rachel, that is beautiful! i love quilts that are simple, as you say - to me they really stand out!

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  19. I agree. Sometimes I just want to sew for the calmness of sewing and I want the fabric to shine. Love the strips!

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  20. Cute! The pink and green really pop with those neutrals. How did you keep it from getting wonky? My Chinese coin quilt with plain strips/sashing was somewhat challenging.

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    1. For me, the trimming up of the strips as I showed in the post kept it from being wonky. That was key!

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  21. So beautiful. Quilts like these are drew me to quilting in the first place - simple, scrappy and just lovely.

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  22. It's really beautiful! I love the pops of color. I'm working on a similar quilt...nice to know that my "thought process" in terms of piecing and trimming strips is about the same as yours. : )

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  23. I'd love to make this with all very soft and light colors with just a few brights... I think this would be a great summer quilt project. Quick and easy- Thanks!

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  24. What a simple idea that is so striking! Love it!
    Mrs.Hearts

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  25. Rachel, come visit my nest...I haven't had any ideas on how to decorate. :)
    Sometimes the easiest things to do are the most favored. Mmm, mmm. It sure is pretty!

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  26. Such a great combination of colors!
    Thanks for the reminder that simple is sometimes just what is needed-quite an inspiration to dig in my scrap pile again!

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  27. Sometimes keeping things simple is the most stunning way to quilt :0)

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  28. oh, what a lovely classic quilt! i love the scrappiness too.

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  29. Like the way you put this together - and kept something that could overwhelm the eye and made it really pleasing. I have so many scraps this type of project is on the horizon.

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  30. This quilt looks like my type of quilt. Really nice and so easy looking. Love the blog.

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  31. Love this for a scrap quilt! Even with scraps you did a wonderful color blend too!

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  32. So glad you like the design Rachel - and that you've made it your own. All the best. Cassandra

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