Thursday, June 15, 2023

A Whirly Weeds Setting

As I said in my last post, I had a vision for a setting the Whirly Weeds blocks!
The trick was to get it out of my head and assembled.
So here's an overview of my process.
Being such a subtle assortment of prints, the photographs look a bit boring -- nothing to be done!?!

My goal was to stagger the blocks to look like random leaf rosettes as they might be growing in an open field.  Therefore, the first step was to stagger them around the design wall and step back for a day to let the arrangement "steep".  In the end, I only made minor adjustments to my original arrangement.

Then it was time to dive in and spend a long afternoon focused on assembly.
This picture is the first audition stage of sashing to figure out how to maintain the staggered layout.
The vertical rows are staggered up and down and horizontally, the blocks are staggered left and right within the vertical rows.
I started by attached the labels to the lower edge of each block.  I straighten the lower side of the block, added a strip to one end of the label and stitched it to the block.
Once that was finished, I added sashing strips to two sides of each block.  First, I  straightened each edges and then added a  3" cut strip.  They were wider than needed but it allowed for trimming as I set the blocks together.
You can see the block doesn't look perfectly square and the blocks were about the same size but not exactly.  That inconsistent sizing allowed me to maintain the staggered layout.
Below are the blocks back on the design wall with the sashing added  -- notice that the positions of the sashing aren't the same.  
The top row alternates across left/bottom and left/top.
The row below is right/bottom and right/top.
This maintained the staggered setting.
I assembled the rows vertically -- trimming and straightening the blocks as I went -- not much measuring.  As long as the width of the three blocks in a row was constant, it was good.  Once the four vertical rows were assembled, I compared the length of the rows, trimmed a bit of the top and/or bottom of the rows until they were all the same length as the shortest row.  (A judge would have a field day with "it doesn't match properly" remarks at this stage.)  It's hard to see but the blocks don't intersect as is typical.
The final step was to add a 3" border of the sashing fabrics -- cut in random lengths all the way around the quilt top.  It's hard to see but that's the point -- the block background, sashing, and borders are meant to meld into a muted background. 
I'm happy with the result -- the sashing color sets off the weeds nicely.  At this point, my plan is to bind the finished quilt with scrappy greens used in the weeds.  One thing I will say, I don't think I could have figured out the setting strategy on paper -- it needed to be done on the design board and I needed to audition my way through ideas.  It's a departure from Pamala's (the designer) setting idea but I don't think she minds!?!

I didn't mention in the post about making the labels that I printed the names of the native North American plants in green and the non-natives in red.  Turns out it was 50/50 natives vs. non-natives.  I think that's a true commentary on the state of "wild" habitats today -- only half the plants are native and that is triggering insect and bird declines continent wide.  Probably, it's a world-wide problem
This summer, I'm working to remove non-native plants from my garden and bringing in as many native plants as will fit.
It's a crazy dream that is catching on because you and I can "do something" positive!!

Next week, if I get all my ducks in a row, I'm going to begin a series of weekly blogposts as I make a new version of my pattern, Dresden Stars.  I know many of you have bought the pattern from my Etsy shop or when you've seen me at a show but I haven't seen too many folks piece it.  I'll be machine-piecing it and you can work along with me or book mark the series for a future make.  The pattern is written for a crib/lap size but I'll be making a large lap/twin.  
I'll start next week, June 21, with the supplies needed - so make a note and if you have the pattern, dig it out and get ready with me!



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