gypsy wife calls for two 8.5" hst blocks that consist of 16 - 2.5" hst component pieces in a 4 x 4 layout. its very simple and straight forward. i'd seen blocks that used uniform fabric through out, and blocks that were completely scrappy. i was leaning toward using some sort of unifying fabric or layout concept, like placement of light and dark fabrics, a monochromatic color scheme, or one feature fabric for half the triangles, so the block would look like one cohesive block rather than just a collection of mini hsts in a segment of the quilt.
i had several hst units in the correct size that were leftover bits from earlier block making for this quilt. i decided that for at least the first hst block i would go completely scrappy within a certain color palette that all my units already happened to fall within: light yellow, pink, turquoise, pale green, candy apple red. actually, i really wanted to keep it pastel, but one of the blue flea market fancy pieces was predominantly showing the red flower in the print, so i added that red to the scheme. i'm so glad i did because i feel the red gives it some depth and balances the lighter colors nicely.
the block came together in no time, really.
the formula went like this:
- make 16 - 2.5"uf component hst units
- layout in 4 x 4 grid
- chain piece pairs of units together
- assemble rows of 4
- sew rows together
now, because i'm focusing on improving my precision for this project, i also did the following along the way:
- press each seam after sewing
- trim the component units to precisely 2.5"
- to reduce bulk, press the seams adjoining the component units open
- use a scant 1/4" seam
- pin for seam matching
again, a scant 1/4" seam was helpful. i trimmed my component units to 2.5" each with my little ruler, so i know my unit size was spot on. if my block was coming out a bit shy, it was because i wasn't sewing a consistently scant seam. i've found this to be key with all the sewing on my gypsy wife project. master that scant seam!
also, i wanted my seams to match up across the rows, so i pinned at the three seam intersections.
when doing a simple block like this, it's easy to take the time to do all the little extras i might not normally focus on in a bigger project.
so here's the fun news:
i liked the results of my first block so much that i began envisioning an entire lap quilt made of hsts in this color palette! as i admired my pretty little block, i just wanted to multiply it and expand it into something larger.
i've just been reading jeni baker's hst handbook, the half-square triangle: foolproof patterns and simple techniques, which probably further influenced my desire to work with the hst. jeni's book covers several concepts to explore with the hst but i was hankering to just do a whole entire quilt in a very basic layout. color palette was going to be the primary concept i would work from within that simple shape. no fancy layouts, just plain hsts in a pleasing range of hues.
the gypsy wife's 2.5"uf/2"f hsts were a bit too tiny for a whole quilt, but i also knew if i changed the size of them too much, i'd be altering the scale of the fabrics and their look in the full quilt. i played around with the math and decided on 3"un/2.5"f hsts instead. not much of a difference, but different enough.
and i reigned in my desire to make a large quilt. lately i find myself making patterns just a bit larger so they tend to fall more into the twin-size bed quilt range rather than a lap quilt. i always think, "well, it's almost big enough to cover a bed, why not just make it that much bigger so it can be used on a bed, too." or i worry that a throw quilt won't be sufficient cover for snuggling on the couch, even though they always are. but since i didn't want to commit to too many hsts, i scaled back to a true throw/lap size.
this means i'm making a quilt that's:
- 52.5" x 67.5"
- 21 hsts across by 27 rows down
- 567 - 3" component hst pieces
- 568 - 3.5" squares
- 15 sqs cut from each of 40 pulled fabrics
like i mentioned, i'm working in a color palette as my main concept: light yellow, pink, turquoise, pale green, candy apple red. value is also playing a role in that i'll be using the lighter prints on the left side of the hst and the more intense prints on the right.
the upper/left triangles will be mostly yellows, the softest blues and pinks, and some neutral low-volumes.
that's the plan!
my gypsy wife is having a baby. that's how i think of it, anyway, since the one block from the first project has inspired a whole new quilt. projects beget projects sometimes.