Monthly Block – April

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am right now. This months block turned out different again, but what REALLY has me excited is the planning for next months version! Maybe I’ll give you a teaser at the end of this post…

April’s block plan was to go with a yellow center, orange mid and red on the outside, like an ombre, or a fade to dark. Trouble was, I couldn’t find any suitable reds in my stash, batik or standard cotton. So that plan had to go on the backburner.

In my search for a plan B, I found this fabric:

inspiration fabric

inspiration fabric

which I had previously cut to be the border on this quilt:

striped fabric quilt

striped fabric quilt

Because of how busy that quilt was, my daughter and I agreed this was a better border choice:

eggplant border

eggplant border

So I found about 7-8 6″ strips of this stringy fabric just waiting for it’s turn. I was inspired. I decided to choose really bright fabrics that matched those strings.

I had seen a quilt that someone brought to a retreat just over a year ago, and while I can’t remember the name or exact pattern, I thought she called it jewel box. It was black with brightly colored triangles and other shapes in batik. This month’s quilt plan reminded me of that quilt. So I decided to keep it random, rather than specifically placing anything.

That’s my favorite way to go – keeps it simple. After I got the block together I DID arrange somewhat to still show the arrows and try to not have a lot of matching blocks next to each other. I believe this is what it would look like if a box of crayons threw up:

random placement

random placement

What I find interesting is that the actual blocks don’t seem to emerge here at all. When I finished the top, I decided on a thin border of the black string fabric, thinking it would pull out the black centers. I think the darker purple strips make some of the blocks appear rectangular from a distance.

random placement

random placement

and when I placed different colors along the sides and squinted (THE surefire way to tell if something works or not), the turquoise was the definitive winner. Unfortunately I had very little left (this was another quilt made from scraps, and that is the inherent danger of this method). So I found a batik I thought matched closely enough and voila!

april

april

Alright, let’s take this from the top again. Here’s the original block:

"THE" block

“THE” block

And January, February, March and April:

finished quilt top

finished quilt top

February quilt

February quilt

march quilt

march quilt

april

april

I think setting it in black made the quilt look a lot different too; it made those bright colors really stand out.

So far, the differences I have incorporated to make this block into different quilts include:

  • using scraps in set colors
  • using scraps in a wide variety of colors
  • two tone
  • sashing with cornerstones

In each instance I chose something to focus on. January I used scraps. February I wanted the arrows to show. March I focused on the pinwheels, which meant removing the sashing. And April was a wider variety of colors, just thrown together around the focus fabric, with that same fabric as the inner border. May will bring a glowing block. Not dishing on what’s coming after that!

But what I really want you to see from this project is that you can make an amazing quilt from a pattern you don’t like. Any block can turn into a variety of different quilts. See beyond the photo on the cover of the pattern, think “what if I do this instead…”, and you’ll be amazed at what can turn out!

For May, I purchased all the fabric, no scraps this time. I took down quantities and costs per yard so I can pass it along to you, in case there’s any interest in creating something like this. Next month will look very different from these in color and pattern. Here’s the preliminary sketch!

May's template

May’s template

And here’s the fabric:

May's fabric

May’s fabric

My dark reds appear a bit purple in this photo, but trust me, they’re red. Just the two furthest to the left are not batiks, and you will see how it will look natural to mix them. I’m SO EXCITED!

I hope you’re excited too, but you’ll have to wait until May. I have a few t shirt quilts to create and a guild raffle quilt (highly customized) to quilt before I can get back to this project.

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