Calliope, a scrappy plus quilt

Can you hear the calliope music playing in the background when you look at this quilt? I can! That’s what inspired the name, that and the bright cheery colors that make up my scrappy string version of a plus quilt.

I dove into the scrap bin and sorted a bunch of scrap strips of various lengths, all cut 1 1/2″ wide into color groups – pink, blue, green, yellow, orange, and white (low volume).  These I joined into strip sets to cut my blocks. Instead of the pluses being constructed of a single fabric each as they would be in a traditional setting, I used my strip set blocks. Scrap burner for sure!

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Now, for the plus design to come through you have to pay attention to block placement to let the colors work together to make the secondary design. I like to use good old fashioned graph paper for this step. Then it’s time to lay out the blocks. A design wall works great.

 

 

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these are the “bones” of the quilt, the flimsy top before it was layered and quilted, hung up in the window. Kind of like stained glass, don’t you think?

The beauty of a project like this to me is that the overall design is so much more than any of the individual scraps on their own – they are so much more effective together.

Insert an over-sized plus into the grid for variety and visual focus.


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And one more closeup of the beautiful quilting by Tracey while I was attaching the binding. She matched the thread color to each plus, adding great texture while helping define the identity of each plus. Perfect.

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You can find Calliope and other fun patterns in the current Sept/Oct 2017 issue of Modern Patchwork.

Happy stash string quilting,

Tonya

Look Both Ways (take 2)

***this is a re-post from last month, I just had it in the wrong place on WP, so putting up again to get it in the blog queue! ~ta

Wohoo! Time for a trip down the magazine aisle to hunt up some more copies of the new issue of Quilts and More magazine, Fall 2017. It was just released and it features my project “Look Both Ways”.  I’m super excited to share more about it with you. Do you have some low volume scrap strips laying around your sewing room? Perfect! Pull them out, this may be just the project.

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Look Both Ways by Tonya Alexander – Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

When you first look at this quilt do you see the white arrows or the gray arrows? Did you notice there were both at first? Our eyes play funny tricks on us. At first, I naturally see the white I think because they follow the direction of the orange arrows but once I focus on the gray ones going the opposite direction, that’s all I can see!

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Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

This project features 1 1/2″ wide scrap strips sewn into strip sets. To achieve the contrast between the white and gray arrows, it’s important to be selective when sorting your scraps. I tried to be pretty strict about white backgrounds on all the fabrics in the white arrows. With the gray scraps I was more willing to include a wider variety of tones, as long as they were gray (but don’t be afraid of little pops of color!) You can choose to mix your scraps up a bit more but your arrows may not be as prominent.

The orange row was my favorite scrap dive into the bins. I had fun picking them all out and many friends contributed their scraps as well so I had a great selection. I highly recommend scrap sharing with friends! Once I had enough orange strips, I arranged them all lightest to darkest and made multiple strip sets to achieve the light to dark affect across the quilt. Not a fan of orange or making it for a special baby with a differently themed nursery? (It’s a great size for that, by the way…) Pick your favorite. Any color will work well with the white and gray.

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I had fun with the quilting on this one, borrowing a friend’s long-arm machine and getting some great tips from my two favorite long-arm professionals, Nikki and Tracey. Squiggles in the gray arrows and a squared off meandering loop in the white and orange with matching thread.

and one more quilt-in-the-wild shot just for fun!

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So that’s all for now. I have some more projects coming out soon so I’ll be sure to share. That and a new website!!! It’s my big summer project…stay tuned (and wish me luck!), it’s quite a stretch for me 🙂 Until then…

Happy string quilting!

Tonya

A new take on classic strings…

Oh, how I love string quilts. Well, what I really love are all of the fabulous scraps strips that go into them. Little bits of odds and ends that come together to create something better than they would have ever been on their own. Here’s one of my latest, Rock Star!

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

 
I’m so happy to share that it is currently gracing the pages of the October 2017 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. It’s a great scrap issue and I absolutely love the feature shot of my quilt. I wish that it was in my own house…

 

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Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Once again, I find myself trying to find my own quilt-voice in the convergence zone of modern and traditional design that I often find myself drawn into. I think the modern elements of this project are the alternate grid work, exaggerated scale of a traditional block design, and use of negative space. Mix that with a traditional concept of scrap string quilts and this is where I landed!

Here’s a close up of the beautiful quilting done once again by Tracey. I really enjoy seeing how her creativity and talent adds to my projects to make them complete.

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So if you don’t already have a copy of the October 2017 issue, get it while you can! Save up those scraps and make something you love.

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Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Happy Stash quilting,

Tonya

New things…under construction!

Welcome to Stash Lab Quilts! My new online creative space is a work in progress but this will be the new home of my blog along with the other site areas for my patterns, my teaching and trunk shows, and more.

I formerly blogged at Eye Candy Quilts@Blogspot and was a great way to share my projects initially but my needs have outgrown the format and it was time for me to graduate to the world of WordPress. I may migrate some of my content over from the old blog but you can still find all of my previous posts here. I just won’t be posting new content there – you’ll find it all here at StashLabQuilts.com!

Happy stash quilting,

Tonya