Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sashed Quilt Settings -- Designing and planning

When you look at a quilt -- hanging in a show, featured in a magazine, or included on a Pinterest board -- what aspect of it catches your eye?  Is it the color, or the block design.  Perhaps it the fabric style.  For me, it's the setting -- edge-to-edge, sashed, straight or on-point and all the other myriad of possibilities.  More than imitating the exact design of a quilt, I'm looking for setting ideas to use in the quilts I design. 

So I'm going to start this tutorial series about Sashed Quilt Settings by looking at design options. 

To design the sashing for a quilt, I use a combination of drafting it out in Electric Quilt and auditioning on my design wall.  I can't visual the impact it will have on the blocks so I have to "mock" it up so my mind can see it physically.

The simplest strategy is to frame up the blocks -- the most important decisions one needs to make when doing this is what color to use and how wide to make the sashing.  This is one of my teaching sample for set-in piecing (y-seams) with 8-pointed stars.  I used Marti Michell's 2 1/2" Stripper Set for this version.
The quickest way to make these decisions is auditioning. Get out all the colors you are considering.  Put all of them on your work wall and lay some blocks on top of each of them.  Leave the room and come back later.  When you look at the quilt, pay attention to what your mind says!  When given several options, it will almost always eliminate one or two possibilities at the first glance.  I find this approach of "elimination" gets me to a decision faster.  Since I'm usually trying to work out of my stash, I'm more concerned with finding the best option that I already own than I am with finding "the perfect" fabric.  Nothing disrupts my momentum faster than the quest for "perfect".

Once you've settled on the color, now you can audition for the best width -- again, I encourage you to audition several options at the same time.  It always gets me to a final decision faster than putting up one option, taking it down, putting up another option -- frankly, my brain can't compare two things when it can only see one.

There are other times when I want to "float" the blocks.  This means the sashing will match or blend with the background fabric of the blocks.  I do this for one of two reasons.  I want to focus attention on the design of the blocks.  And often, it allows me to create a secondary design in the quilt.

The quilt below is one of my teaching samples for Marti Michell's Multi-size Kite Ruler.  The Rolling Kite blocks I made are quite large - 17" square -- so it only takes six to make a twin size quilt!!  When I laid out the blocks in Electric Quilt, I didn't like the blob created by the large corner triangles coming together.  When I separated them with sashing, I noticed that adding a cornerstone created a secondary block (the Shoo-fly) block.  I liked it!  The only thing left to determine was the width of the sashing and how to expand it into the final border


Here's another example.  This is one of my students' renderings of my pattern, Trip to the Stars.  The stars in this setting were created as I set the blocks together with sashing that matched the background fabrics of the blocks.  I used Marti Michell's Sashing Stars Set which allowed me to add two different style points to my sashing.  I wish I had space here to post all my students' versions of this easy quilt!

Next week I'll continue to explore Sashed Quilt Settings with a look at pieced sashing units.  In the meantime, think about setting up a Pinterest board for sashing ideas!!
Mary Huey

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