Whenever we go on a retreat, there is always a "group project". Participation is optional. This time the project was a scrap quilt, which one of the gals found in an issue of Traditional Quiltworks from about 10 years ago. We all decided to participate. We thought it would be fun to whittle down our stashes a bit and trade scraps with each other.
The magazine article was about one scrappy quilt block and all the designs that could be made from it. There were no exact instructions for the quilt we liked, just a photograph. This provided a bit of a challenge, right from the beginning. From the article, we knew what size units to cut. (Scrappy: 2 1/2" squares and 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, plus 2 1/2" squares background.) What we didn't know, was how many to cut. We hadn't taken the time to really analyze the picture. Some of us started cutting, making individual bags to trade with each person. Some of us cut the units, but separated them only by size into small shopping bags. Others cut lots of units and put them into a box. A week before the retreat, we each received a copy of the instructions. That made it a bit easier to plan--by that time we'd all cut many more scrap pieces than we would need, anyway!
Once we hit the cottage and got our machines set up, we swapped scrap pieces and were off and running on our project. The first thing we did was to make the basic scrappy blocks. That was the easy part. Assembling them presented another challenge! The blocks were set on point for the design, and having only the picture to refer to made this project a great study in how each of us thinks!
I started from the bottom corner and worked my way up, covering up the row I just pieced with a strip of paper so I wouldn't get confused. As my rows were pieced, I laid them out on the floor. Someone else found it easier to start from the top and work down. Another was folding the picture to help her know which row she was on. One friend didn't refer to the paper at all...she laid her blocks out following my rows on the floor. Still another was trying to find the pattern to it all and work from that (I never did find a pattern to the design...).
As you can see from the above picture, sooner or later we all finished the main quilt top! And each one is beautiful and unique. Now that we're home, we're working on the borders, trying to incorporate all the leftover scrappy pieces we cut. This will be Show and Tell the next time we get together, and it will be great fun to see what each has come up with!