I am always looking for strip quilt patterns to inspire me to make new quilts for mu stripper's club quilt series.
I was trolling the bargain bin at a wonderful quilt shop in Burlington, NJ, Olde City quilts! when I cam across a pattern called Effervesence from Marlous designs. It was a bargain at under $5 and looked like something that might work up nicely with my own modern twist.
I have been an avid collector of many things quilty over the years, including various strip sets, jelly rolls and Bali pops. while I didn't initially know which would go into this project, once I had the pattern open! I quickly chose two jelly rolls that I had on hand that contained various turquoise, lime green, Olive green, brown and other color prints in them. I added to this a jelly roll which I had founded in the big J store in the bargain bin for $2.99 that contained earthy prints of greens, browns, printed with bark and leaf motifs.
I decided that the quilt should be bed sized at minimum and much to my delight, realized that the three jelly rolls I had selected actually had the exact number of strips I needed to create a twin size bed quilt.
I created the strata and blocks and then set out to make the circular bubbles using freezer paper applique. The pattern said to use two contrasting colors for the bubbles, but I felt that more colors were needed in a variety of sizes and textures. I ended up going over to rock! paper! scissors in Montclair to pick up a few solid colors to use for the accents. this was a very wise decision as I had few solids in my stash that would have worked well. and I would be supporting my local quilt shop! I picked out 7 different solids or semi-solids in various shades of green, yellow, gold, turquoise to use as the accents. I had plenty of browns in my stash already.
I spent one afternoon cutting out the circles using my accuquilt and circular dies. I cut many different sizes from freezer paper. These were then ironed onto the accent fabrics, then cut out, leaving a quarter inch or less seam allowance around each circle. Then I got out my trusty washable glue sticks and glue board and set out to prep the circles for applique. I took them with me to Raleigh, NC and worked on them while I had down time in the plane or hotel.
Once I had most of the circles glue based, I used my favorite invisible machine applique stitch to apply them to the vertical strips in each block. It was fun sorting through the circles, deciding which ones should go where and them sewing around them to applique them to the quilt blocks. Once I had some of them completed, I used my applique scissors to clip the back of the appliqued areas away, exposing the freezer paper so I could remove it. I then took a spray bottle with water and doused the backside of each circle with the water to loosen up the freezer paper. I work in sequence, trim, wet, trim, wet, repeat. Once the blocks were all trimmed, then I started with the first one and removed the paper. If you wet the paper enough and let it soak in for 5 minutes or so, it should loosen up enough to make it easy to remove. A gentle tug is all that is typically needed to get rid of it. Sometimes I had to reset the piece again to completely remove the paper. Once the papers are removed from the circles, then I steam pressed the entire block and put it on the stack to be pieced into rows.
Being that I am dabbling in the modern quilt world now, I wanted this strippy quilt to be more modern and bigger than twin sized. So I decided that I would search for more of those jelly rolls and buy them IF I found them. Earlier this week, I went to visit my parents in Virginia and stopped at the source of the strips. Low and behold, they had them. I picked up more bundles to enlarge the quilt. I was happy to have been lucky enough to find them again.
I showed the quilt to my lovely sister Peggy and asked her opinion on modernizing it. I explained that I wanted to add alot of negative space in either a light turquoise or light olive colored solid. We decided that it would look great to add a chunk of solid at both the left side and top, then a row of piecing and more solid to finish it off, giving it a very asymmetrical look and feel. I think I have settled on the idea of piecing one section with the same 2.5" strips and another with the 'bubbles'.
You'll have to stay tuned to see how it turns out.