Ice-Cream Soda is one of those happy convergences of several different goals and ideas I've had swimming around my head for some time. It began with my Paper Daisy Pillow, a bunch of blocks that I made during my Shape Family Challenge with a very simple colour palette. As soon as I'd made a collection of blocks, I knew it wasn't going where I wanted it to, that this pretty blossom was calling out for scraps, for play with value and colour and surprise, rather than repetition. I finished the cushion and let the future scrappy quilt sit for a while. I didn't know how to begin. If I'm going scrappy, do I still pull fabric, do I create a palette? Have I forgotten how to do this?
While looking for inspiration, I came across Jen Kingwell's Daisy Do quilt. Isn't it stunning? Allowing her to be my teacher, I've spent many moments studying this quilt, taking note of the prints Jen used, the way she mixed prints, my favourite parts and the things I might try to do differently. And then I took those reflections to my own stash. First I pulled enough prints to make 3 blossoms. I cut, basted and stitched them together and held them up to ponder. They were a bit clashy for my liking. Maybe a bit more low volume, less colours in each block? I made a few more. Interestingly, these sat a bit flat on their own, in my opinion, much like the originals Paper Daisies from my pillow did, but together with the clashy ones, were starting to create the look I was after.
With each flower, I took note of the way the size of the shape (much smaller than I usually work with) interacted with the print. I made note in my mind which blocks I loved, and which ones I could learn from, and then took note again in the photos. Blocks look really different further back and with friends! My favourite is that pixelated gold one with the coral centre. But as I was making it, I was frustrated by the way the white print was being decimated by the tiny kite. Stand further back though, and it doesn't bother me at all.
I could feel my brain waking up and making connections, after a long slumber of making single-collection quilts. I don't regret the slumber. There's only so much a brain can do, and I'd spent the year molding a new business. But now that we had a little more routine, a little less unknown, space was there waiting to try something new, or more accurately, something as old as the hills, that I was now ready to come back to.
The idea of a Paper Pieces quilt club had been sitting back there too, waiting for the right expression. I'd kind of assumed that one day I would design a quilt with all different blocks so that the pieces arriving monthly would differ, but no grand bolt from the sky has arrived for that one yet. And the more I stitched, the more I became convinced that my first club should be this quilt. Here's the reasons why:
- Making repeat blocks allows for trial and error. You can make blocks you love, and blocks you don't love, you can experiment with big florals and tiny basics, and you can refine where you're going with this quilt. You can takes risks or use prints that usually scare you. If you don't like it, it's just one tiny block, not an entire cog or segment that you laboured over for hours and will bug you later. In the end, all those successes and lessons will still go together beautifully. The scrappy magic!
- Making a quilt where you're learning and experimenting is great done in groups! If a bunch of people are making and sharing their progress, you can learn what you love from their work too, not just your own!
- Before I started hand-stitching quilts, I could knock over a quilt in a week or two. Making an English Paper Pieced Quilt over a year takes away any old pressure to maintain motivation during the entire quilt until it's finished. It's done in bite-size pieces. Bite size is the perfect way to go about a scrap quilt or a block quilt where you're just making a blossom or two or three at a time, choosing prints to match, basting and stitching, starting again. And if you're new to EPP, you'll be a master by the end!
Of course, you don't have to go scrappy. I've already begun to see beautiful monochrome blossoms, stars bordered with solids, blocks made from a long treasured collection, and oh, the fussy cutting! You can find these in the #icecreamsodaquilt tag on Instagram, from the paper samples I offered there a couple of weeks ago. I can't wait to see them grow! Aren't these blossoms by Karen from Pieces of Contentment incredibly beautiful!
The finished quilt will be 64" x 66", including a 5" border. Download the PDF here to print and colour in! The paper pieces to make 7 1/2 - 8 blocks will be sent out over 9 months (shipped mid Feb - Oct) and in the 10th month (Nov), we'll send out shapes to make the final 4 half blocks, and the triangles and diamonds to piece the quilt together. The Papers only subscription will cost AUD$10 per month over 10 months including international postage.
If you'd like to go scrappy, but don't have the scraps, or are not quite sure where to start, or just like getting new fabric each month, I'll be offering (24) 2 1/2" x 22" (half Width of Fabric) specially curated strips in the fabric+papers subscription. Each package will have a complete mix of colours and values (light-dark), easy basics and bigger prints, florals and geometric (including samples from Anna Maria Horner's two Loominous collections!). Each member will get a slightly different monthly bundle because I'll be using both my stash and new yardage from the years upcoming collections. Once you receive the fabric, you choose how to put it together, so it will differ slightly from a normal quilt kit, but I like the idea of them being all unique, don't you? I've already carefully chosen the prints from my stash that cut into strips well, so you won't be getting random novelty prints with headless animals or anything like that! You can expect beautiful samples from Cotton + Steel, Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner and Alison Glass, to name a few. And you're very welcome to bring in your own favourites and use the left over strips for a different project or save them to add to your options in other months. It's the perfect way to learn to go scrappy with only 24 prints a month to choose from. The Papers + Fabric subscription will cost AUD$35 a month for 10 months including international shipping. In the 10th month, you'll get enough prints and papers to make the final 4 half blocks, and the triangles and diamond papers only to stitch the quilt together. The Fabric + Papers subscription does not include fabric for the joining pieces and borders. You'll need to purchase approximately 2 yards of fabric separately for that.
I'll send out the pieces half way through each month so that they arrive ready to stitch together for the following month. When I've shipped them, I'll send out an email with that month's instructions, some inspiration from the club hashtag, and some exclusive monthly specials! I've also created a special Facebook group here if you'd like to join and invite your friends!
The subscription listing will appear in my shop on Friday 3rd February and will only be open from Friday 3rd February - Monday 13th February. I'll be giving 'first month free' codes to people who claimed my free sample and shared it before sign-ups close. If I missed your post, please email me at email@example.com with a link to your Ice-Cream Soda Quilt picture and I'll send you the discount!
Any questions? Feel free to ask below and I'll answer in the comments.
I can't wait to sew with you!