As I mentioned this the other day, I have a sort-of finish to report.
It's a sort-of finish, because it's just the quilt top. It still needs to be quilted. (Shelly at Prairie Moon Quilts is going to quilt it for me!) But, here is my Lincoln's Watch quilt top! I am very pleased with how it turned out. I love the secondary design that occurs when you put the blocks together. Although it looks like there are circles in the design, there is not a curved seam anywhere. I think this is referred to as a kaleidoscope quilt pattern.
(It was really hard to get a good photo. It was so windy the day I was taking photos that I had to snap a lot of them to get one where it wasn't flapping in the breeze!)
I'm very excited for this. It's going to go on this antique trundle daybed that used to belong to my great aunt. I blogged about it here, if you want to see it. Both will go in our study down in the basement when we finish the remodel. I painted that room a sage green, so I think this quilt will look great in there.
There are two basic blocks in the quilt. The blocks are the same, but the color distribution is different. There is this one, where the darks are in the 3, 6, 9, 12 clock positions, and the corner triangles map onto the light triangles. I think there are 50 of these blocks in the quilt.
And I think there are 49 of these in the quilt. The darks are in the 1-2, 4-5, 7-8, and 10-11 clock positions. They are altnernated with medium colored triangles. The corner triangles map onto the dark triangles in this block.
There are a lot of points to match up in this quilt. First, you have to get all the triangle points to come together at the center of the block. That actually was not too bad....if you press your seams all to the dark, the seams nest pretty well, and it goes together nicely. But then you have to be careful to get the block square when you attach the corner triangles. Then, when you sew the blocks and rows together, there is a lot of matching. So, it was kind of slow going. I have to say, by the time I got to sewing the rows together, I gave up trying to match everything. It was too hard. I just matched the blocks at the major seams and let all the other stuff land where it did. Overall, things matched up pretty well, but don't look too closely at all my triangles. Some points are cut off. (You can see one--or two--in the "black and white block" on the left side of this photo.) But it is so busy, they really don't show.
When I laid out the quilt, it was also hard to make sure the colors and fabrics were equally distributed, because there was so much variety. After I had it sewed up, I noticed I had three blocks in a row with the at least one fabric the same in all three blocks. This was true in more than one case! But I just didn't care. When you look at the quilt as a whole, it didn't seem to matter. So, it is what it is!
The pattern is called Lincoln's Watch by Bonnie Blue Quilts. The pattern is quite simple and straightforward. There are only two pages of insructions, if you can believe it. That's because the quilt really only consists of these two blocks, which are sewn in exactly the same way except for the color distriubtion. The pattern gives good pressing instructions for creating the center part of of the block. (It doesn't tell you how to press that last, center seam when you sew the two halves of the octagon together. I pressed that seam open to reduce bulk where all those points come together.)
Also helpful was the fact that the pattern came with these two cutting templates. (This photo was taken before I removed the paper from the acrylic templates.) I did not notice until I was about halfway done sewing the blocks that the template had a hole in it for marking the centers of the triangles. This was helpful for matching the centers when the corner triangle was sewn on.
I'm not completely new to using templates, but I don't use them a lot. The instructions did not say anything about marking these dots to match up the triangles when sewing on those corner units. I think it would have been nice if the instructions had provided a little more detail on that portion of sewing the blocks. I also would have appreciated some tips for keeping the block square at this point.
Another minor limitation of the pattern is that it does not tell you what size the blocks should be after sewing them up. So, I was really flying in the dark on that one. I measured my blocks and they were a pretty odd size. I kept worrying that they weren't the right size. But most of them were coming out to be the same size, so I figured that was all that really mattered.
Also, I don't know if it's an error in the pattern or what, but when I went to sew my borders on, I did not cut them to the measurements in the pattern. Instead, I measured my quilt and cut my borders accordingly. For the first border (the skinny little black border), one of my measurements was a little off from the pattern. The other measurement was wayyyy off (like by 10 inches!). But then when I put my second row of borders on, the measurements were only different from from the pattern by about .5". So, in the end, my quilt is almost exactly the measurements it is supposed to be. So, I guess I did all right.
I do like that the pattern stressed to cut the outer borders on the lengthwise grain of the fabric. This is a very helpful tip for keeping your quilt square and to make sure your borders don't "ruffle" when the quilt is finished (i.e., because there is very little stretch and give to the lengthwise grain of the fabric.) So, I liked it that the pattern reminded you to do this.
Overall, I really liked the pattern and would recommend it. Although the sewing isn't extremely difficult, I am going to say this pattern would be best for the intermediate quilter. This is because of all the points that have to be matched up and all the points that have to come together in the center of the block. This is also because you have to be mighty careful to keep the block square as you sew those corner triangles on. With so many seams in the block, if you aren't sewing accurately, it would be easy for the block to get wonky. So, don't be afraid of this pattern. It is kind of fun. Just be fairly careful and accurate in your sewing.
Here is a tip...I had these at my retreat and people were all saying, "What a good idea!" So, I thought I would share it. When I cut all the pieces for this quilt, I laid them out in these silverware sorting containers I have. I keep these in my sewing room for this purpose. I carried these trays to the machine when I sewed. It kept all my pieces pretty well organized. Then, when I went to retreat, I just stacked these up, put them in the car, and took them with me. When I got there, I just carried them in and was ready to sew. It's very helpful and convenient. I use these a lot for quilts that have a lot of little pieces that I precut. In fact, one is already full for another quilt I cut out this weekend, and the other is on it's way to being full. I'll show you those soon. Hope this tip helps you.
Another tip....if you chain piece these blocks, like I ended up doing, make sure that you keep the same fabric on top as you are chain piecing. For example, if I was sewing a light and a dark together, I always kept the dark fabric on top. If you don't, when you open up your seam, your colors won't alternate correctly (i.e., insead of light dark, light dark, when you go to sew the next pair together, they'll go dark, light, light, dark). Ask me how I know! Trust me on this one! :-)
My friend Jill is doing a "sew along" with me to make this quilt, too. I hope she's coming along well. I also hope she'll send me a photo of her quilt top and what she thought of the pattern, too, so I can share that with you!
It's supposed to be 75 degrees and sunny here today. I am so excited!
Until next time,