“Swizzle Sticks” and “Cut Flowers”

by Christine Barnes

Oh my, if you could see my sewing room! On second thought, that’s not a good idea. With our big retreat just ten days away, I’m making samples, packaging fabrics, printing patterns, and chasing down my clipboard with the long to-do list. (Stacks of ombré strips are below, ready to be bagged.) Whew! But as much work as it is to host a retreat, the three of us agree it’s been a lot of fun.packs of 5" strips, smallToday I’m going to bring you up-to-date on two quilts you’ve seen in progress in previous posts. In June I was auditioning sashing for blocks that mix solids and prints. Here’s a brief recap:

First up, the dots. Love, love dots, but the seams were clearly going to cause problems with the dot pattern.

0 b&w dotsI adored this funky-flower, black-and-white print from Moda; it made the blocks float. I was set to sew, yet nagging at me was a fabric with rows of black-and-white dots. Back to my design wall and my stash. 3 funky flowersHere’s the finished quilt. Four-patch cornerstones make it easier to stitch accurate sashing, and, by aligning the dots vertically and horizontally, each four-patch is framed by a row of dots. I like that the four-patches link the blocks. They also imply single diagonal chains that appear to be behind the blocks. I call this quilt “Swizzle Sticks,” for the skinny borders in each block. I’ll be teaching this workshop at The Cotton Patch in the new year.7 Swizzle Sticks SHWSChanging gears, in June I showed you several blocks like the ones above, minus the skinny borders. Ombrés (these are from the Gelato line, sold on my site) work so well with multicolored Kaffe Fassett Collective prints and stripes. Nothing quite matches, but everything works.Bright Kaffe block 2 Bright Kaffe block 1 Here’s a mock-up, created using InDesign. I’m calling it “Cut Flowers” because the colors remind me of a bouquet, and the prints are literally slices of Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I love the white-and-black wavy stripe, but it’s just busy enough to keep the blocks from floating. I’m still thinking. . . .Barnes, "Bright" quiltI have now made (or am working on) three quilts—”Brushed Metal,” “Swizzle Sticks,” and “Cut Flowers”—using the same basic block. I like the structure of the block because it has vertical and horizontal elements, with small and large rectangles and center squares. I think I’m done with it and ready to move on. And isn’t that the joy of quilting? There’s always another quilt and another batch of fabulous fabric waiting to challenge and delight us.

See you again after the retreat. We’ll give you a full report on all the creative fun. And if you aren’t coming this year, we’re already planning for 2015!

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