30 June 2016

Hearts of Gold

I had just survived one of my most difficult days in at least a decade, and the quilt block for the very next day was "Be Still My Heart."

The office where I work provides breakfast on Fridays. That day when I arrived, I found heart-shaped donuts. I was a good girl and didn't eat a donut, but I was a naughty girl and started yet another quilt when I got home. Yes, I did! No regrets!

"Be Still My Heart" is the perfect Block a Day pattern for cycling season. Super simple with just two charm squares and a 5.5-inch square in each of two more colors. This particular block also is a treat for me because the very first quilt I ever pieced more than 20 years ago was made from pinwheel blocks.

I whipped out my first block for this new project that night after work and an evening training ride using leftovers from the sunny citrus Collared Lizard wall quilt project.

Inspired by wonderful comments from friends and co-workers who didn't know the Colorworks Concepts panel I'd just turned into a flimsy wasn't pieced by me, I decided to piece my own rainbow gradient sampler because how else would I find "Hearts of Gold" without a rainbow?

I've been able to complete at least one block every night after work and usually after a training ride except for the night we stayed over in Fort Collins while volunteering for this year's two-day Colorado/Wyoming National Multiple Sclerosis 150-mile ride. In preparation for our night away from my sewing machine, I completed two blocks, and I finished three the night we returned home. I'm staying ahead of the official Block a Day count!

I picked a half-price Artisan Spirit Shimmer for the hearts because the gold metallic really appealed to me. I'm considering doing the machine applique work with solid white thread to create a high-contrast border between the hearts and the blocks.

The blocks are made almost entirely of Kona solids leftovers from assorted projects. The exception to the rule was my very own collection of Kona greens because I didn't have enough shades and because I have been hoping for at least a year now to one day buy at least 10 different greens. I bought 12. My stash already included 2. Now I have enough colors for a fabric salad!!! Woohoo!

I'd picked up 10 Kona blues about 18 months ago for a specific project and decided upon receiving the hues in the mail to make my own gradient panel for which to practice free-motion quilting. Last year, I'd done the same thing with Kona purples. Greens were next on the list. I hope to repeat the process with pinks sometime in the future, and then, after I finish at least 10 WIPs (we'll see if I can really hold out that long), I'd like to get at least 10 red rock canyon tones between orange and red for yet another project I've had in my head for at least 12 years. I've already picked out the colors for that one!

The most frustrating part of this project was piecing perfectly matched points that are eventually going to be covered up with hearts. Dang it!

Just like I'm doing my own take on "Be Still My Heart", I'm also doing my own half-square triangle (HST) thing. The first time I tried making HSTs the "modern" way (several months ago) by drawing a diagonal line down a pair of squares, sewing 1/4 inch parallel on each side of the line, then cutting on the drawn line, I felt so snowed under with that extra step of drawing lines, especially in a project such as this. To me, drawing all those lines is a cumbersome step. For this project, I cut triangles after cutting squares, then sewed the HSTs along the diagonal lines. In my opinion, this technique saves SO much time for a triangle-heavy project.

The most fulfilling part of this project is I can work on whatever color block I want every night. With no set layout in mind and a rainbow of scraps beckoning to be included, I could replace memories of my lousy day with bright, sunny hues or bask in the harmonies of cool tones, which have always been my favorite colors with which to work. The reds aren't as fun as all the other colors because I'm not that fond of red in my projects, but mixing what few reds I have with pinks and purples is energizing. Funny how a color called Cardinal can bring pinks to life and a color called Poppy can make purples sing. Almost makes me want to buy a yard each of Crimson, Wine and Ruby...

One day, perhaps after I retire, I'm going to buy about 100 yards of plain Kona white and dye all my own fabric gradients, like I've done in the past with thread, for fabrics in every shade of the rainbow. Well, maybe not so much red, but tons of blue, purple and green!

I love the process of playing with colors as I build these blocks. I'm discovering lots of color combinations I'd like to explore in future projects.

I was hoping to have all my blocks done by today so I could share them here, but I still have to make about 11 more. I'm not doing bad, though, 19 days into the project. Perhaps after the coming three-day weekend, I can begin the applique work, and then get busy trying to match corners as I assemble the flimsy.

And this is my 2,000th blog post!!! Can you believe it?!?

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. Playing with colors can be fun I bet. Yeah, probably better for you to skip the donut lol congrats on 2000 too, shortly after my zoo.

    1. Playing with color is just about the most fun thing I do, Pat, except for taking pictures!


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