A New Project for the New Year

1 fabrics banner STARTby Christine Barnes

Happy Boxing Day! I love the day after Christmas. No schedule, no commitments, and plenty of leftovers in the fridge. It’s a fancy-free day, which usually involves playing in my fabric and sewing. I hope it’s the same for you.

As you can see in the photos below, I’m still on a solids kick. For my new quilt, I started with “plain” solids from several manufacturers and added some yummy Peppered Cottons from Studio E Fabrics. Then I splurged—and I mean splurged—on hand-dyes by Maureen Hardy Schmidt, below. Talk about “visually delicious.”2 Maureen's fabsI had in mind very simple nine-patch blocks, with one center print. I knew this wouldn’t be my final plan, but I had to start somewhere. Below are Kona solids and one Marcia Derse print. They’re all right but not very exciting.3 MD centersSo I cut squares of a favorite Alexander Henry print and laid them on top of the green centers. I liked the effect—the print lightens and brightens the solids—but I decided to save that wonderful fabric for another project.4 white centersI did, however, get a glimmer of an idea: What if I put squares of similar values and colors side by side? Could I create new shapes within the usual nine-patch structure?

Before I could work on that, I had to find a fabric or fabrics for the block centers. I’ve loved plaid for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been collecting for years. Below are squares cut from some of my favorites. (The large-scale plaids in the top row are new Peppered Cottons.)5 plaid squares on wallI’ve been playing ever since, eliminating many of the plaids because they lose much of their impact when cut up. Below are a few early mock-ups. You can see where I’ve made some squares blend into each other and others stand out in contrast.6 mock ups, good!And below are a few of the sewn blocks. In the top left block, two squares in the bottom row almost become one red-orange rectangle. In the second row, left block, I see a large “L” of dark green and teal. If you squint, the new shapes are more prominent.7 sewn blocksMy goal is to create shimmering asymmetrical color, with bits of unexpected pattern in the center of each block. And how will I set these blocks? Not side by side, that’s for sure. But hey, the day after Christmas is still young, and I’m still feeling free.

May you be having the same kind of day. And may you have a fabulous New Year, one that’s filled with the people and things you love!



115 thoughts on “A New Project for the New Year

  1. The mock ups and play have inspired me. I’m always afraid to create and keep going back to patterns. The plaids in the middle are the anchor for the solids. It is amazing to see your progression. Thanks for sharing the process, Christine.

    • Thanks for writing, Debby—you are entered! I love the process of auditioning and “editing.” I learn a lot along the way, and it’s so much fun to hit upon fabrics that really “click.” I encourage my students to make mock-blocks—they tell you at a glance if something is or isn’t working. Too much fun!

  2. Happy New Year Christine!
    Love watching you play with colors….and love the plaids. Your color sense is so wonderful…it really is!!! I am so excited for the new year and time to sew and try new things, especially using a lot of solids and achieving a much more modern look in future quilts. My weddings are done! (Kids married). And just one little grandson is due in March…so I am looking forward to 2015 and lots of time sewing!
    All Best to You !

    • Thanks for your comment, Laurie. I’m having so much fun with the solids and now the plaids. I wasn’t interested in solids until about a year ago—I always thought they were “dead”—but now that there are so many gorgeous colors, I am HOOKED! And they combine so well with modern prints. Good for you, anticipating more sewing time in the New Year!

    • Happy New Year Laurie! You are the winner of the giveaway! Please send me your mailing address so I can send you the ombré/pattern kit. May I use your name when I announce the winner in this week’s post? It will go out today.

    • Thanks for your comment, Linda. I’m in love with solids! A few years ago, I wouldn’t have looked at them twice, but they combine so beautifully with modern prints, and black and white fabrics. I have a new addiction . . .

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