Quilters Lead Pieceful Lives.

Monday, February 5, 2024


Wanted to do something colorful, and also visually interesting. I came up with six possible designs all based on the same theme of pairs of fabs / colors in a series of rows. At Thanksgiving, I printed them out and had the family vote on which one they liked best. There was a clear majority on one of them; alas, not the one that I had wanted.

These designs were all based on 11 rows and 41 across (an odd number so that the left and right columns would have the same color-strip. So, in this case, 42 was NOT the answer to everything). The 11 and 41 worked well with the planned size of 2.5 x .75 for each of the "full" pieces. The idea to add interest was to then have some rows with "half-size" pieces (these thinner pieces are 2.5 x 0.375)....thus 82 in those rows.

The family liked the idea of double symmetry:  top to middle to bottom (though there is only one middle row) and left to right. So that is the one I went with.

As I normally do, I designed this using Excel, and just put in colors that contrasted enough to be obvious; not necessarily the actual colors I would finally use (although I did like the black-white combo).

This was a quilt I made just because I had the time on my hands, and I wanted to use some fabs from my stash. However, if you do the math you can see that for each color:  

20 pieces (each color) per row * 2 rows * 3" x 1.25" (cut size) per piece = 150 square inches. So that is not even a 6" cut across the width of the fabric. 😂😂😂😂 This made hardly a dent in my stash!

I started out picking what seemed like appropriate colors. Put some samples up on the quilt wall. Nope...swapped this one for that one...nope...these clash too much. Decided early on to go with mostly solids and small scale / subtle batiks....did not want the fabric patterns to distract from the overall strip pattern. 

Somewhere along the line I decided that I needed a little more interest (tension? focus?). I briefly considered throwing in a non-matching piece here and there, or making one or more columns the same strip part of the way up, but that approach didn't please me. 

So I decided to do a horizontal reverse in the four split-rows (numbers 3, 5, 7 and 9). For example, in the black and white rows it would be (split) white/black white/black white/black......then a full white (which reverses the pattern), so then black/white black/white-black, etc. til the middle when it would reverse again, and then reverse again on the other side. So these rows break up the symmetry of the other ones.

Easier to see (below) than to explain.

For the assembly, there are clearly a LOT of seams. In most quilts, you assemble the rows first and then join them together.   But doing so here would have meant matching 41 seams!!!! So it just made more sense here to assemble the COLUMNS first, and then join them going across; only 11 seams to match up.

I had originally planned to not have a border. The batting happened to be a scrap of black batting that had long sat in my batt pile. When I laid the quilt top on the oversized batting before I trimmed it.....boom! It needed a black border! That made the colors pop. So a little extra cutting, pinning, and sewing and then I was ready for quilting. 

And like many of my quilts, the point here is the colors and the pattern itself. So it was an easy choice to use the transparent monofilament thread, in the ditch, across each row.

Ta da:

And the name?  Once the piece was finished it organically (get it?) popped into my head. Wikipedia defines a calliope as "....typically very loud. Even some small calliopes are audible for miles. There is no way to vary tone or loudness." That pretty much sums up the impact of this quilt.

Now I just need to find a place to put it! 

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