Monday, January 23, 2017

Block Play, and Layout Play

Hello, everyone.

I was looking at Pinterest and saw an interesting block, one that is new to me. It was called Greek Key. The link led to Marcia Hohn’sQuilters’ Cache. In following it, I learned some new things about an old standard block: Log Cabin.

 I knew that Ms. Hohn had a Log Cabin pattern on her site, but I'd never looked at it in any detail. That was a mistake.

I have in the past used Log Cabin blocks to form larger patterns, treating the squares as a form of half-square triangle optically speaking. It gives the look of many triangles, but all the seams are either straight of grain or straight cross-grain, and while the pressing can become a mass of little things, everything does eventually. Also, and for my personality this is key, you can freely get scrappy! All you need to do is to sort your scraps by the key value that you are varying: Blues-dark, blues, medium, Blues-light, whites was one set of groupings I used.

There were the diagonal lines marching down the quilt face. There was the Christmas tree wall hanging. 
Wall hanging for Christmas season.
Center of the tree was plain blocks. Shape was created by Log Cabin blocks.
Also an applique of a pieced star for the top!


And the hearts nestled inside one another—not sure there was ever a picture of that one. (Speaking of those blues groups!) That was plotted out on paper so I would know how many of each color block to make. The center heart was white. Each color band was the shape of another heart. A very large undertaking--took 18 months to get it made, after 18 months of accumulation of fabrics and design stuff--but it came out well.

Wall hanging cross. Colors used are (approximately)
liturgical colors of the seasons--minus red and black.)

I did a cross quilt once, to use at CCD class as a room element. The rooms were not large, and the walls were cinder block with a couple of hard surfaced elements, and the sound environment was just LOUD. Especially when I opened my loud mouth to explain a thing to a room full of 6 year olds. The cross quilt helped a little bit with the sound environment.

The log Cabin block has been around for ages, and the basic idea has always been that one diagonal side of the square is light and the other dark. The plain, original version does actually look like a triangle with jagged edges. The zigzag actually emphasizes the color change without it being so hard-edged as half square triangles would be.

I knew about the variation called Courthouse Steps, in which the colors rise in a stepped pyramid toward the center, and then on the other side of the center the reverse color progression occurs.

I had no idea that rearranging the color strips a little differently would give me the spiral known as Greek Key. Naturally, it had to be tried. I used some more of the shiny stash, this time an Easter egg print and a silvery snowflakes-on-white, for the colors.

The Greek Key block is cute like that, but it would probably be even cuter with another round or two to bring out the spiral goodness more. Or, just possibly, by using the same number of rows and reversing color placement in the alternate blocks of a series, become part of a Meander row.

I learned during a Great Courses DVD class on ancient kingdoms that Meander is actually the name of a river in Turkey--which river moves very slowly through a large flat area and is famous for the wiggles in course that are named for it. (Link goes to all their ancient history stuff. It might have been the "Great Tour" course about Greece and Turkey, or it might have been the course about ancient empires of the now-Turkish land area. I forget. But it was probably the Greece and Turkey one.)

This Greek Key, on the right hand side of the mat, is actually a lined block, suitable for being a pocket, which is being played with as part of Layout Play for the next fidget mat.

Above, there is a scrap from the sewing machine cover, already quilted and with a bit of ruffled lace added all around. I tried using the fabric glue stick for the basting with that. It still needed pins, but the glue did help.

The zipper block is partly assembled. The end strips are some grosgrain ribbon on hand. (Thank you Amazon gift wrap!) This is a nylon zipper like the others. I think that a metal toothed zipper would be scratchy.

There is a hanger strip at the top with a couple of candidate dangles and an appliqued heart patch. The center is the very textural boucle fabric I've been making that skirt out of, and the top is the piece that the peekaboo heart on the lost mat was cut from. This applique is actually a piece of reverse applique. (Also new to me.)

This layout, of course, is tentative. The zipper and heart bit feels good, the lace edged heart isn't sure where it wants to be yet, and the Greek Key really works well with this background fabric. Bright without being loud.