Monday, November 29, 2010

On the Design Wall: Carpenter's Wheel

It all started with the trimmed corners of the Snowball blocks from another project (which can't be displayed because it's a Christmas present!).  The trimmed corners yielded a messload of 3-1/2" half-square triangles ... 48 of them to be exact.  These are a sufficient size that SOMETHING could be done with them!

These are pile of 16, which are the number I need to use in the block I eventually chose to use them up.

With so many half-square triangles, I wanted to do SOMETHING with them but not pinwheels ... BTDT and besides, pinwheels are such an ordinary solution; I was looking for something with a little more pizzazz. 

After using Google's Image search function, I settled on the Carpenter's Wheel block as the most suitable for using up my half-square triangles.

This particular pattern came from Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache and is the 'easy' version since it uses only half-square triangles and not the traditional Y-seams.  However, after looking at other Carpenter Wheel blocks, I discovered that if you *also* put a half-square triangle at the outer 4 corners, you will get an interesting secondary pattern with or without sashing ... so I made that very slight alteration to Marcia's pattern.

Because Marcia's pattern very conveniently calls for 3-1/2" half-square triangles, all I had to do was find the complimentary third color to work with what I already had and sew *those* half-square triangles.  The resultant block is a monster-sized 24"!  :-)

Marcia's directions are VERY clear and VERY easy to do.  The most difficult part was putting the correct half-square triangle in the correct place!  :-)  

I chose to use a medium green for the third color and was able to pull quite a few from my stash.  Some of them I later decided not to use. 

I was able to make *3*  24" Carpenter Wheel blocks before I ran out of suitable greens.  Because the original half-square triangles came from another project, I was also running dangerously low on those two colors (the light background and the deep coral); fortunately, they came from Joann's calico wall and they were still there!  woo hoo!  :-)

I also found, in the remnant bin at an additional 50% off, another medium green that will make the fourth and final Carpenter's Wheel block.  I don't want to make any more 24" Carpenter Wheel blocks because 1) this was SUPPOSED to be an almost quick-and-dirty project to be done in-between others and 2) after the 4th Carpenter's Wheel block is made, I just don't want to be making any more.

It is at this point I am now stuck.  I like to make "useful" size quilts, which normally translate into bed-sized quilts.  I am also amenable to making a throw size from these 4 blocks ... but what layout?  I can't quite use them as they are as the size isn't "useful".   I love using Electric Quilt to help me with design choices but for this particular layout, I have discovered that I don't have the specific knowledge I need to do what I want ... and that is very annoying.    I may be reduced to doing this old-school .. with paper cutouts!  Fortunately, Electric Quilt can supply me with the blocks to cut out; I'll just move them around on my worktable.  :-)

Since each block is 24" square, using a horizontal grid layout gives me 48" wide (if no sashing is used) or slightly larger (say 50" - 54", if sashing is used).  I need to add top & bottom borders to give me a proper length. 

But what??  I'm still struggling with what to use.

Maybe I could repeat *half* of the Carpenter's Wheel over each block for the top & bottom borders for an 'arch' kind of look.  But, I can't get Electric Quilt to give me the layout I want for the borders!

Then, it occurred to me to see what an on-point layout would give me ... and that resulted in another set of problems ... not only would I still need top & bottom borders for length, but I would have the setting triangles to deal with.  Perhaps some interesting applique work?
Or if I split the setting triangles into 2 pieces, maybe put a *quarter* of the Carpenter's Wheel in each small triangle?

See the outer sashing/border in the layout on the left?  Electric Quilt cut the blocks at each corner off .. they are triangles instead of the squares that I wanted.  That's one of the skills I don't have for Electric Quilt, so the layout looks odd.  I just need to remember how I really want it to look.

And instead of finishing up this "quick and dirty" layout, I'm now still in the design phase!  I just may let this one sit on the design wall for a while.

What I REALLY want to be doing is quilting "Lumiere de Noel" with Lizzie .. I have the batting, I have the backing ... but this Carpenter's Wheel project has waylaid me!  :-)

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