Flower Architecture

Project: Polk Block Quilt by Carolyn Friedlander, the March Block for Creativebug's BOM series

Materials: Polk Quilt Kit, available in our shop + binding, batting & backing.  (The Polk Quilt Kit is a combination of Carolyn's charm pack (5"squares) & 2 yards of her Carkai fabric for background, 4 fat quarters of assorted florals, and a yard of solid black.)

Finished Size: Approximately 56" square

Inspiration:  With Spring upon us, this was a sweet way to let little explosions of patchwork color happen on a dark ground that is reminiscent of fossils and earth and maps.  I was hoping for it to feel like soil waking up to new flowers each morning.

Process:  Carolyn's Block of the Month for March is wonderful and she does such a good job explaining the technique.   I was so excited to try out this paper piecing method, but I will admit that it took a bit to get the hang of the forwards/backwards sizing up of each scrap.   I seldom work with such small pieces, but I found each one of the blocks to be like tiny artworks, and started liking each more than the previous.  What first seemed a slow process at the sewing machine, eventually revealed itself as getting your sizing, sewing, and cutting all done at once.  Her method avoids beginning the quilt with loads of cutting, you get straight to the sewing, which I love!

Notes on going from Block to Quilt:  It was important to me that these blocks keep their identity as little treasures within the whole landscape of the quilt, so I decided to only make 16, and space them out with more background.  Each Polk Block is only 7.5" square before being sewn into the quilt, and within the block there is a little play in arranging elements.  I stuck with using the charms and 3 bright floral fat quarters as the patchwork ray elements (templates A & B) and mostly the black/gold Carkai print as background (templates C & D).  But every now and then I snuck in the dark Phillip Jacobs floral for the C & D templates.  

Instead of spacing the 16 blocks out with sashing, you can see in the third photo that I rather cut 7.5" squares from the background fabric to intersperse with the Polk Blocks.  And in two spots, I used the florals to stand in as 7.5" squares too.  This main grid of the quilt is made up of 6 x 6 blocks, and further variety is created by turning the Polk Blocks various directions for multiple outcomes.

My final step was increasing the size of the quilt a bit by using the solid black and scrap of the dark ground fabrics to create a 7.5" wide sashing.  To do this, I cut four width-wise 7.5" strips and made a few cuts in those here and there to insert the scrap pieces.  Then I attached them to the 4 edges of the center grid of blocks, one edge at time, log cabin style, and trimmed off excess.

Still deciding how I am going to quilt it, but I am sure it will involve some pretty Aurifil & my Janome so I can keep improving my machine quilting skills!

Happy Sewing!  xoxo, Anna Maria

*Get your Polk Block Kit online or in our shop, and take the class @ Creativebug!

**Carolyn will be visiting Craft South in early December for a weekend of teaching, join us!