Monday, 30 May 2016

fabric play

I'm sure you'll agree, sometimes you simply need to have some creative playtime to feed your creative soul. For example, when I made this butterfly block a while ago, I just started out simply by wondering 'what if.' I had no plans, no deadlines, but it was a chance to test my piecing skills and it resulted in a lovely fresh take on an old pattern, and it was a lot of fun!
... and so now & then I plan to put everything aside and spend some more time playing with fabric, maybe do a bit of research & learning, and share how I go, even if there's no big result!

These new fabrics arriving over the weekend got me thinking about what I could make next. But of course, I couldn't just cut straight into the new fabrics, I needed a pattern! And I needed to make a test block before committing to anything major, like a whole quilt.


This is a variation on the New York Beauty block, sometimes called suspension bridge, or sunflower, or broken circle. Once the blocks are joined together, you get quite a neat overall pattern and if you add in sashing it's different again. Lots of potential!

I did do a bit of research, and found this pattern from Bill at Wonkyworld, the Ladies Art Company No. 488, "Suspension Bridge" which looked do-able. I rummaged around, found some fabrics and had a little play...

... well, for a pattern published way back in 1922, it still worked! It's pretty fiddly piecing, using a scant 1/4" seam, and the finished block size would be approx. 14." I think by the time 12 or so complete blocks were made, you'd certainly have those curved arcs well & truly under control!

I also came across a pattern where the arc was paper pieced, which seemed a much better way to do this...

... but I didn't have the actual pattern pieces to make the rest of the block!

Back googling, and I came across this tutorial from timquilts (2013) where Tim has cleverly adapted this old design. He machine pieces the arcs instead of paper piecing. The result is a bit different, the points in the arcs are a bit 'wonky' but as he said, "I can live with imperfections to keep it fun." It's worth checking out his version- his colour choices are wonderful!

Along with trialling out various patterns, I was also keen to see how various colour combinations played out too. For this last little experiment I chose fabrics fairly close to the colours I plan on using- greys, blue, teal with 'pops' of purple/pink...

Well that pattern worked out ok, and the blocks end up a bit larger, around 16" but mr D. certainly had something to say about those wonky bits on the arcs - funny, he's usually very quiet about sewing room activities!

Here's how my design wall looked at the end of today's fabric play...

... the final decision may not be made anytime soon, but it sure was a lot of fun!
Definitely something I'd like to explore a bit more

*EDIT I have just come across the-perfect-pattern, it was in a book I had right here on the shelf
Feathering the Nest by Brigitte Giblin
- so I'm going back to the design wall for yet another play!

Linking up this week to 'building blocks tuesday'
and to show & tell over here at cookingupquilts


  1. I am in love - hope you continue to play and share :)

  2. I love these fabrics Linda, don't mind about the wonky bits - it's all about playing and having fun!

  3. Oh, this is fabulous! I love watching you play!
    I'm going to have to sit on my hands to keep from downloading that pattern and playing along RIGHT NOW... 8)

    1. Thank you Gayle
      In-between sewing bigger projects (like Gypsy Wife) there is always something to learn about 

  4. Loving these Linda -thanks for all the link too - they may be perfect to use as a block for my sewing group sampler quilt.

  5. Love your colors, Linda. I've seen each of these patterns but not all together. Too many family commitments now but then i promise at least a week of play!

  6. Yes! We do need time for creative play and learning - it feeds the soul. Have fun in your sewing room this week, and thanks for linking to MCM!

  7. Great block and love the fabrics. :)

  8. Great block and love the fabrics. :)


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