A Musical Window

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Posted on : 1/26/2020 01:12:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

I am not a fan of paper piecing in quilting.  It takes a lot of time to get very little accomplished.  I suppose that is why most of the quilts I make are log cabin or some variant of the log cabin pattern.  Put in a strip of fabric, and throw on blocks until you get to the end.

Power quilting!

Therefore, I am always on the hunt for techniques that utilize strips rather than pieces as the foundation for the design.  I approach quilting more as an engineer where mathematics and fabrication are a bit more important than artistic flair.  I also approach quilting as a guy; my color selections lean towards bolder colors and greater contrasts.

Some time ago I ran across the Magic Tiles pattern by Kathleen Bissett.  The process described in the pattern was quite attractive to me.  It offered a mathematic process of construction and a (somewhat) chaotic presentation of color.  Chaos, quite naturally, is also mathematic.

Music is a passion of my mother's.  That may be one reason why she was so enamored of my father when they first met.  I began collecting music-based quilting fabric after finding the Magic Tiles pattern.

Now the first rule of quilting is to follow the instructions.

The second rule of quilting is to know when to break the first rule.

The pattern calls for twelve different fabrics.  I think I ended up using ten.  So the process for randomizing the fabrics didn't work quite as well for me.  I had to do some manual manipulation when it came to the final assembly of the square tiles.

If you look closely, you will probably find some goofs in my assembly of the squares.  The biggest error was in not maintaining consistent seams with the grout strips.  A couple of the grout strips are a little wider than the rest.  I thought that would work out in the end as long as the error stacked up in the same way.

The error did stack up.  And some of the grout runs have a jog in the middle of the tile due to the larger grout strips.  At that point, it was too late to go back and "fix" it.  I pushed on hoping that most people wouldn't see the error.

One other change did work out quite well.  The pattern in the instructions detailed a border that was tight to the inner tiles.  I elected to use a broad black border between the tiles and the colored border.  I then finished out the distance to edge using black fabric.  The dimensions for my final quilt are roughly 66" x 94". 

The photo below is of the quilt just prior to binding.  I had quilted all of the grout in place and wanted to make sure that the top and bottom were smooth before sealing the edges.


I was quite pleased with how the back worked out on this quilt.  My backs end up having bunches far too frequently.  My solution has been to use more flexible, plush backing materials on baby quilts.  For some reason, they don't bunch up.  Or to be frustrated by re-quilting sections.  Or to just live with it.  It isn't bad, it's just not perfect.  The back on this quilt is almost perfect.

Sometimes, you learn all the good stuff after you are done.  In this case, I obviously learned an important lesson about consistent seams.  Log cabin quilts can hide a world of sins.  This pattern....not so much.

I also learned a fair amount about Kathleen Bissett via her website.  She is a degreed educator that thought she would spend her life teaching math.  Life is funny.  She still teaches.  Math is still heavily involved in her work.  But she rarely teaches in a traditional school.  Kathleen also has some very pointed....and correct....thoughts about supporting creators and their copyrights.

If you want to purchase her pattern and your local quilting store can't get it, then you might start by contacting the good people at Quilt Craft.