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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Settings for Sylvia

The complete Sylvia's Bridal Sampler has 140 6-inch blocks. So far, I have finished 113 blocks (see them at my Flickr pool) using batiks and an off-white background with a subtle print. I'm trying to decide on a setting for my quilt and spent some time in the gallery of finished quilts looking for inspiration. (I can't link directly to the Gallery. Just choose Gallery from the menu)

I used EQ to draw a couple of layouts I thought would work.Both layouts have two black borders surrounding a scrappy batik border made from block leftovers. I loved the black SBS quilts in the gallery and Lynda DeTray's Sylvia and Louise quilt used the scrappy border. I might create a flange out of a bright Prisma dye batik instead of the scrappy border. I've never done a flange but it doesn't look difficult. I've learned so much making these blocks, I might as well learn to make a flange, too! 

Layout 1
The first layout alternates a block from the sampler with an Irish Chain block as Trisha Chubbs and Caroline Van Maele did with their SBS quilts. Some of the sampler blocks are very intricate (Mrs. Cleveland's Choice has 65 pieces!) and adding the Irish Chain block gives a little visual space for one's eyes to rest. I like that.

This layout requires  requires 106 blocks and an equivalent number of Irish Chain blocks. The final dimensions are 102'x108'. 

Layout 2
The second is an on-point layout. For this one, I would probably add a very thin frame in a complementary batik around each block. If you look at the gallery of finished quilts, this is similar to what Rita Visscher, Barbara Jennekens, and Teresa Simons did with their SBS quilts. This, in my opinion, helps showcase each block. It would also hide the fact that my blocks ended with inconsistent sizes! I would cluster the predominant colors in an Around the World layout, I think.

This layout requires 113 sampler blocks and finishes at 115"x115."

Several of the finished quilts at the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler website have pieced borders. They are beautiful but I don't think I'm willing to spend the time that would require since I would almost certainly end with borders the wrong length and have to fiddle and fuss to make them work.

These drawings are imperfect. Some of my block photos were better than others but I think they get the point across reasonably well.

What do you think?

Edited to Add: I've updated the images based on piecemealquilts' excellent advice! Thanks, Sandy. I didn't realize I could do this and I certainly didn't realize the impact this small change would have.


  1. Based on these illustrations, I like the on point setting much better. The color placement in the cornerstones is wonderful, and I absolutely agree with your choice to do a simpler border! I've found that sometimes all of the patch outlines in EQ make the quilt look busier than it is, so I like to look at the quilt without the patch (and sometimes the block) lines as well. The Irish Chain version might look cleaner if you view it that way. Either way, you're going to have a gorgeous big honkin' quilt!

  2. Hi, Becky! Wow, you have put a lot of thought into these, and either one will be lovely. Looking at the drawings Layout 2 look a bit "cleaner" if you know what I mean - it looks like it might show off all the work you have put into the blocks a bit better. Then again knowing how beautiful Caroline and Trisha's quilts are with the alternate chain blocks, you'd have a sure winner picking Layout 1. Ok, so I'm not very much help *lol* I think what you should do is make a few sample chain blocks and try laying out a corner of your quilt, and then a corner of the on-point with sashing and cornerstones and see what you like the best in "real life". Or perhaps someone has a clearer opinion to share than I do! I just know either way you will have a beautiful quilt!