19 July 2018

Quilter's Block

Some writers suffer through what they call Writer's Block. They can't think of anything to write. They might be in the middle of a project, and they can't think of what to write next. They have hit the creative wall.

I think I went through a little bit of Quilter's Block the first few months of 2018 after trying to crank out so many quilts for Christmas the last couple of years. I started this year sort of listless, not only with nothing on the immediate needs-to-be-finished-right-away platter, but also rather sluggish and lethargic as far as WIP goals. I had a list. I set a goal each quarter, but no Christmas quilts for (my) grandkids need to be delivered this year. I've been sort of lost in quilting space.

The Moda Blockheads 2 challenge apparently was just what I needed to get the creative juices flowing again. There is no set requirement to finish a block every single week, but I'm trying to stay caught up just for me, and because it's fun, and I'm beginning to really enjoy quilting again. Even on my own self-imposed deadline.

The first couple of blocks were fun, and I enjoyed designing, making and appliquéing a snowflake for the first block.

The second block presented my first "where will the snowflake appliqué go" challenge, but I dutifully followed the pattern like an obedient servant but made an additional non-Blockhead block big enough to insert a crocheted snowflake.

The third block had a small center big enough for a small snowflake. One more time, I worked my way through the pattern without putting my own spin on it.

Block 4 had room for another small snowflake, and I'd even designed and written the patterns for two small snowflakes for the next time I need a small flake. Yet the block was 12 inches. I took my own detour and had so much fun doing it, I think I'm truly addicted to quilting once again.

Block 5, Impact, presented an interesting dilemma. My biggest goal in taking on the Moda Blockheads 2 challenge was to use up solid blue and snowflake scraps going back as many as 15-20 years. The Impact Block, at 24 inches, included five 8.5-inch segments, and none of my scraps were big enough. I got really creative on this one and drafted my own corner segments (with paper and wooden school ruler) in order to keep to the scrap pile instead of raiding the stash or, heaven forbid, buying new.

My initial concept was to make the geese dark to light to increase the block's Impact. I went a little crazy while cutting and made sure to cut a flying geese rectangle from each of the snowflake scraps in my scrap box. There were tons of extras. I'm thinking flying geese will come up again sometime in the next year, and my rectangles will already be cut.

I had to dig into my stash for the center 8.5-inch segment, and I went ahead and sliced up some 2.5-inch strips for the geese triangles while I was at it. I had some of the Trento Cosmos in my scraps, but none big enough for that center block. I decided rather than cut up the 5-inch block and 5x10-inch rectangle in the scraps, I should use stash so I could use up those larger scraps later in another block with those size requirements.

The jelly roll strips I cut to make the geese left me with yet another stack of triangles that initially left me somewhat frustrated because I joined this challenge to use up scraps, not to make tons more scraps. I'd just recently finished stitching together more than 500 triangles leftover from other projects the last few years, and this single Moda Blockhead pattern left me with 72 more triangles, counting only the Trento, and the new triangle scraps are not big enough to use in my first scrappy triangle project. GRRRRR!

While awaiting the release of the sixth Blockheads pattern, I tried to find triangle ideas that might allow me to quickly and efficiently use up my newest stacks of triangle scraps. I came across Bonnie Hunter's Bonus HST method for the first time ever, and her technique is a life-changer for me. From this point forward, I will always slice my geese squares at least a quarter inch bigger than the pattern calls for so I can assemble my HSTs as I go instead of allowing the triangles to pile up for years and years and years.

My first Path Through the Woods HST was a total bust because I forgot to turn the snowflake scraps upside down in order to sew right sides together. Thank heavens for seam rippers!

My first HST left me dancing on air! PERFECT points!

I was able to incorporate a leftover from my WIP Christmas tree skirt panel in one of the Path Through the Woods corners.

After I finished piecing Path Through the Woods, I wondered if I should break up the corner whites. I'd lose the gorgeous panel snowflake if I did, but dark blue triangles or squares on each corner looked so tempting...

The squares in the corners looked so appealing to me, I didn't even mind frogging those stitches and assembling then reattaching new corner triangles.

I posed the question to the Moda Blockheads 2 group on Facebook. (I posted the question on the #modablockheads group on Instagram, too, but got only likes, no comments.) Most of the Facebook comments favored leaving the block as is, and Delys Magill coined a hashtag I may have to adopt as my new mantra... #SaveTheSnowflake!

I appliquéd my Glacier Gorge Snowflake that had taken me a whole week to complete because I accidentally left a round out of one attempt and put one too many spokes on another, and my block was done. I am going to save up the triangle and square corner adaptation ideas for a future block, I hope.

This week's block is a small no-brainer with no room for a crocheted snowflake, but it's still meaningful to me because the first block I ever pieced in my life, what feels like hundreds of years ago, was a windmill block. I incorporated more of that tree skirt panel because the clippings are rather unorthodox in shape and size, and I was fairly sure I could fit the small triangles into some fussy cut snowflakes. I may not have a crocheted snowflake on this week's block, but I've got a pair of pastel snowflakes right where I want them!

I'm really enjoying brushing up on my skills as I do these blocks each week, and I'm planning a special sashing for my blocks, which I think I'll quilt as I go, although we're already seven blocks into the project as of yesterday. I've got some catching up to do if I want to stay up-to-date! If I piece my snowflake scraps together into improv block-sized fabric, that might be the coolest backing I could do. I've got the perfect centerpiece for the backing of the 24-inch Impact block. It comes from that same tree skirt panel. I couldn't very well discard it, now could I?!?

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict and My Quilt Infatuation.


  1. Brushing up on skills and doing it for fun and just for you sure can help get rid of that block. Maybe that's why I have yet to have any blockage. Or I'm just crazy haha

    1. Ha ha!!! Pat, I think most people would think both you and I are just a wee bit off... ha ha ha!


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

All spam is promptly and cheerfully deleted without ever appearing in print.

If you are unable to leave a comment and need to contact me, please use the email address in the sidebar. Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails