Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vin du Jour

It's a very stressful and busy week here. Final exams, final papers, grading, more grading, meetings. . .it's a lot to pack in to one week. To keep me sane, I am working on a pattern that I thought would be easy enough and still engaging enough to let my mind rest a bit. I always stress a lot over final grades, so I need to do something to get my mind off it for a while. The pattern is Vin du Jour, a free pattern from Moda fabrics which you can find and download HERE. Even if you don't go there for this pattern, there are a ton of other free patterns there, so it's worth checking out.

I thought that making a few blocks from this pattern and then creating a small wall hanging would be great for some scraps I saved that I really love.  They are the scraps from this quilt:

The fabric is Portugal by April Cornell. I just loved this fabric so much, especially the yellow. This quilt hung in my office for a while, and I think I may hang it again this fall.  It just makes me happy to look at it. I had a good-sized pile of scraps from this one, and I saved them all together. When I saw the Vin du Jour pattern I knew this was the place to use them. It just seemed right.

This makes some really pretty giant blocks (18 inches!), but it's a weird pattern. First of all, it calls for a really expensive and limited-use ruler to make the center of the block. Since I own enough pieces of plastic, there's no way I was doing that.  I just made a kaleidoscope block, like this:

I paper-pieced mine, but there are a lot of different ways to make it. (It's a 6 inch finished block.) Just be sure to use white in the corners so that the pattern finishes out correctly in the larger block. You could even use a solid piece of fabric and just "snowball" it by adding triangles to the corners to create an angled snowball block if you didn't want to piece it. After making the center, the pattern has you make quarter square triangles and cut part of them off, like this:

Okay. A little odd, but it does work. I don't know how you'd get the final design otherwise, really. Then there are frames for the block (more waste!) and then the center is cut into a circle and the frames are joined to it. It sounds complicated, and it looks a little scary in the pattern, but it isn't really. Just takes some attention--and pinning. You end up with this really pretty block:

Isn't that a nice design? I like it. It is giant, though, so I only have enough scraps to make four blocks, which will be plenty big enough for a wall-hanging or table-topper. I may have to make a piano-key border, though, or something similar, because I don't have big pieces left after cutting everything.

One thing about this pattern--there is a LOT of waste. I cut up a whole yard of white fabric for the backgrounds, and that's just for four blocks! I ended up cutting off a lot of it to make the circles, plus what I lost in cutting for the frames and lopping off the quarter-square triangles. Good thing I was using scraps! If I had used new fabric I would have been really mad. Fabric is too expensive to waste that much of it. Pattern designers, are you listening?

Anyway, that's what I'm doing to save my sanity during the next few stressful days. I hope to finish it by Friday, just after the last exam. We're having thunderstorms today, which seems to suit everyone's mood, especially the students'. It will all be over soon.

Everyone have a good Wednesday. I am going to link up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. She gave a presentation at our local quilt shop and her Wavelength quilt is outstanding! Hop on over and have a look!


Joanne said...

I hate wasting fabric! Normally it's my own fault for not concentrating on the instructions or just guessing!!!
Your block is looking brilliant and I hope making more keeps you sane in the next week!!

Kate said...

That block is beautiful and the colours suit it really well. It almost hurts my heart to hear about that much waste though!

Jo said...

Well, I have just found this post. This is where my little half square triangles came from. Mmmmmm what will I make with them..