accent square/blockfirst up, instead of that simple accent square in the middle section, i chose to make a courthouse steps block. i spent about an hour fussy cutting and fidgeting to create the block that will be the focal point of the quilt. it's a bit busy, but all the fabrics from this line are loud and luscious. i had a little fun including the critters in the strips i cut for a touch of "eye spy" action in the outer ring.
the white floral fabric came from my backing and the other two pieces came from leftover jelly roll strips not used in the body of the quilt. the sizes of the strips came about purely out of what i had available to work with. i just kept adding until i had the block size i needed.
this block of the quilt is one place where you could spend a bit of time doing something special if you wanted to amp this pattern up just a bit. any favorite block, as long as it's size 10.5" unfinished would work here. or, like in my original, you could fussy cut a fabric you wanted to focus on or highlight. anything the correct size goes - the possibilities are wide open.
if you are simply cutting a 10.5" block, cut it from fabric a. if you are making a "racing stripes" pieced backing like mine, while you're cutting, you can cut additional 2.5" wide strips of fabric a until you have an 80" x 2.5" pieced strip.
*measurement options - another adjustment i've made to this quilt is a few of the measurements have changed. originally, i was trying to keep fabric requirements as small as possible, so i made the accent square 9" in order to get it out of 1/4yd. but after putting the quilt together, i noticed the 9" square didn't match up with the 2" strips. so i enlarged the square/block to 10" finished/10.5" cut. this means the accent strips adjoining the square are also slightly larger than the original at 10.5" high. if you want to buy less fabric, you could reduce the square/block to 9" cut in order to get it out of 1/4 fabric. just make sure you also adjust the adjoining strips to the same height.
accent stripthe rather clumsy name of this quilt comes from the accent strip & block that divides the upper and lower strip sections. i originally toyed with the name "sweet spot" because of that accent square, but that didn't sit right for a few reasons. then i thought how the accent strip looks kind of like a belt "cinched" around the waist of the quilt body. and this quilt is a "cinch" to make, being so easy and all, so that became the name. since nothing else brilliant came along, it's stuck with a somewhat lame name.
the whole point of the accent strip was to add some length to the quilt, making it a larger size than just a jelly roll alone allows. also, it was a chance to add interest to a basic strip quilt and showcase a few favorite fabrics from the line. selecting two fabrics with lots of contrast makes a better impact in the quilt.
anyhow, to make that accent strip, first create your 10.5" unfinished square/block (options above). from fabric b, cut one strip 10.5" x wof (or 42" long) and one strip 10.5" x 12". (this is a little wide, but it will give you room to place your block exactly where you want it in the quilt top.)
sew the long strip to the left side of the accent block and sew the shorter strip to the right of the accent block, as pictured above.
upper strip layerthis is where i left off last time - ready to sew strips together. once you have all strips laid out in a pleasing manner, begin sewing them together in pairs. then join 3 pairs together in one group of 6 strips. square off these groupings of 6 before joining them together. this will help keep everything straight. when you sew multiple strips by just adding the next strip on, you can get a slanted piece. so chain piece in pairs, then group in sixes, and square up before joining them all together.
also, to aid in keeping everything straight, i alternate the direction i sew the strips in. i chain pieced the pairs top-to-bottom and pieced the pairs together bottom-to-top.
now join your upper strip layer to the middle accent strip layer.
when you do this, line up the seams of the accent block with the strip seams above it. pin at the seams and at other intervals along the length of the seam, then sew.
lower strips layer
however, yesterday i was browsing blue elephant stitches, catching up with jolene's work, when inspiration hit. i don't think i even saw anything specific there, i just got the idea of how to spice up my strips some while i was looking at her lovely quilts.
i was never really crazy about all the half strips put together in this pattern, but it was a necessity because of cutting all the strips in half for the top layer. so i tried cutting more long strips from my extra yardage and weeding out some of the pieced strips. surprisingly, i liked that even less. the joined up strips were adding interest to the quilt. i thought about breaking them up into more pieces per pieced strip, but each time you cut the strip you loose 1/2" length to seam allowances and that cut down the length of the over all quilt.
by using the little block to add length, i was able to put more pieces in some of the strips so that there is also variety in where the blocks fall and how many per strip. the lower section is peppered with little bits of green gingham and i like it. this could also be done with more than one fabric but i like the consistency it adds to the quilt having just one fabric for all the small blocks.
|new lower section layout awaiting sewing (just ignore the unrelated blocks sharing the board)|
next up, sewing the strips together and finishing this top!