Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Octopus Quilt

My husband loves anything with tentacles.

So the "Octo Garden" fabric from Tula Pink's Saltwater line was an instant favorite with him.  I bought a fat quarter bundle of the line a while back, intending to make a man-quilt for him.

I decided to use only the red and blue color ways, saving the green for another project because I didn't like how it looked with the red (I think the blue+green color ways and the red+blue color ways look good together, but can't really go there with the red+green combo).

I picked out a pattern that I thought would highlight the large-scale prints, and cut all the fabric.   Then I laid it out.  And I hated it.

(Apologies for the terrible photo.  I'm getting better at taking pictures, and also at designing quilts!)  I hated this layout of the colors, and just wasn't that thrilled about the pattern either.  In reality, there would have been more white space, but I was still convinced I wouldn't like the end product.

Having lost my enthusiasm, I bundled up all the carefully cut pieces and packed them away.  In the back of my mind, I was trying to figure out what other pattern could use the selection of 5" and 10" squares, plus 5"x10", 2.5"x5", and 2.5"x10" rectangles I had now cut.

Recently, I decided I could use the cuts to make a plus quilt, basing everything on 5" squares.  This made it easy to use the 5" and 10" squares, as well as the 5"x10" pieces (just cut everything down to 5"x5"), but still left me with various 2.5" slices that would have to be pieced.  Rather than piece 3 strips together and cut them down, I decided to use red and blue solids to fill in the gap created by the seam allowance.  Thus my 2.5"x5" rectangles could be pieced together into nice 5"x5" squares.

I wanted a dark grey background and went to Joann's to get some Kona solids.  Fail!! They had no greys at all!  But I was impatient (this is a recurring theme), so I just bought a dark grey print from their standard fabric.  This may have been a mistake—the Joann's fabric is really stiff and scratchy compared to the lovely texture of the Tula stuff—but it looks great, and the texture even has a pebbly-ness to it that I think adds to the beach-y feel of the quilt.

I didn't even bother laying the whole thing out, just came up with a design on paper, stacked up my grey and colored squares next to the machine, and started piecing strips.  

Piecing squares this way goes SO FAST!  Talk about an instant gratification project!  And these are what I need, since my sewing time happens after the toddler is asleep, until I get tired, and only on evenings where I feel up to it.

Within short order, I had a bunch of these:

I finished piecing all the rows last night and laid everything out in the living room.  Super-exciting!  I neglected to take a picture, so you'll have to wait until I have the top pieced.  But it won't be long now!  

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