The Toes in the Sand quilt was the beginning of my love affair with the Hex N More ruler and Jaybird Quilts patterns. I had seen the “Toes” quilt pattern around, and when A Common Thread offered the quilt as a Block of the Month (BOM) class I signed up right away. The only thing I wasn’t too sure about were the fabrics. They really weren’t my colors and I had plenty of other fabric laying around. In fact I had a Metro Quilt Kit from Connecting Threads that had been languishing for some time. I loved the colors but it was just a little too “log cabin” for me. My first quilt, the Autumn Table Runner, had been log cabin blocks and I really didn’t like the process so much. So I decided to try to bust up the kit and use it for the Toes in the Sand BOM.
I spent a lot of time planning which fabrics would get used in each of the blocks. I had to make sure I had sufficient quantities, but what turned out to be even harder was getting good contrast and a balance of colors. Since it was a BOM, we only made a couple blocks each month. It wasn’t until I had all of them up on the design wall, that I found two blocks that just did not work for me. I had a blue block that didn’t have enough contrast, and I also felt it had too much blue. And I had a brown block that was just overwhelmingly dark. Every time I looked at the design wall my eye was drawn to those two blocks. They both had to go. Fortunately I had enough fabric to make replacement blocks. I was much happier with the replacements, and finalized my block layout with a soft green background fabric.
When I had the top done (or so I thought) and was taking pictures, my husband came along and said that it was his favorite quilt so far and that maybe we could put it on the guest bed. Um, okay… but it wasn’t queen sized. So I had to look at my leftover fabric and see what I could do to up-size it to a queen. It didn’t need much length, but needed quite a bit on the sides. I fooled around and came up with the pattern you see below. I had considered just solid borders, but that was pretty boring and I would have had to piece them with scraps anyway. I tried buying matching background fabric but the dye lot was just too different.
Once the top was done I moved on to backing. I had enough of one green fabric to do a backing for the original size, but not for the new queen size. So I looked at the remaining fabric and decided a french braid down the middle might look nice. I sort of made it up as I went along and was pretty happy with the blue braid insert! All I had to do was make one cut for the opposing side of green fabric and I would be done. But nooooo…. somehow, I cut it wrong and it was too short. An opportunity for more braid! I decided to put in a horizontal braid where the accidental cut was, crisscrossing the first braid. I was starting to like the back almost as much as the front! When I was done, the final crisscross was a little too close to the edge. It might get partially cut off depending on how the top was aligned to the back. So I made up an image for the longarmer telling her which end of the backing had more “extra” to cut off.
This quilt taught me a lot.
- Busting up a kit sounds easier than it is. I have even more respect for people who design kits now. Getting the right contrast and making the fabrics play nice is a lot of work. And these were all from the same fabric line!
- Just because you make a block doesn’t mean you have to use it. I am much happier with the replacement blocks, and glad I opted to change them out. I still have those two original blocks somewhere in my stash, and may try to make them into pillows or shams someday.
- Trying to match fabric months or even years apart is not so easy. The dye lots can be quite different. Buy enough the first time!
- Measure twice (or three times) and cut once, especially when measuring long pieces. I still don’t know how the accidental cut on the backing happened.
- A picture is truly worth 1000 words. I can’t imagine trying to explain to my longarmer Karen how to align the top to the backing without that picture. You could talk for days and it still might not be clear! But the picture told her everything she needed to know to help her load and align the layers.
- Doing a pieced back with leftovers is a great way to use up leftovers. But I probably spent too much time on a side that will rarely be seen. But I know it’s there, and if I ever get tired of the front I have the back to show!
I really enjoyed the BOM aspect of this quilt. It was fun to see what other students were doing and how different the same quilt can look with different fabrics. I also enjoyed spending time with my fellow quilters.
Note: Many of my “in process” pictures were were taken long before this blog was around, and were supposed to be just for my own use. Some are pretty fuzzy. These days I’m trying to take better pictures as I go.