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Watercolor Quilting

Watercolor blocks and piecing is great for beginners, as you are only dealing with Squares.

When I first started doing watercolor quilts, I purchased the 2-inch fusible grid to make the process easier and faster.

I soon learned that I did not like the added bulk from the fusible.  I found that if I just cut my 2-inch squares and sewed them together, I could get a much smoother finish on the top of the fabric. 

Also, I found that when I did my horizontal seams with such small squares,  I needed to press them open.

The difference between the two methods of construction is major.  It is well worth the time to forget the fusible.

In the block to the left, (with the pieces laid out but not yet sewn together)   I used the three sunflower prints pictured below.   

  

The most important print is the one in the middle. 

 

You need to have a fabric with a lot of "empty space" between the flowers in a solid color for the edges.  This is called the "edge print".

The center can be filled with all kinds of different prints.  Above I was being very specific with sunflowers, but the picture below shows a scanned portion of a Basket of Flowers wall hanging I made where I used several prints.


Notice on the Sunflower Block how the Edge print goes around the sides.  Notice also how you place the flowers in the print, so that they look like they are attached to the other flowers, and hanging off the side.

Cut your fabric into 2-inch squares, and play with them until you get the look you want.

When you are done with your block, you can find a solid fabric in the same color as the background of the Edging Fabric to make the flower area larger, or you can just add borders.

Here is a picture of the squares  sewn together.

There are many things you can do with this block. You can make potholders, placemats or pillows, or you can make additional blocks and make larger projects.

When you use the fusible, the fabric is too stiff to make a good quilt.  However, if you just sew the squares together, you get a supple piece of fabric that would make a great lap quilt or larger.

Below is an art quilt made with these fabrics:


I am not happy with this project, because it was made with fusible, and is not flat on the top.  Unless you are making a potholder, again, I would forget the fusible.

Also, when you go to quilt it, do not quilt it by sewing in the ditch (like above).  It did some freehand motion stitching also, but sewing the vertical and horizontal seams only emphasized the squares instead of letting them all run together visually.

Note:  If you are planning on pressing your horizontal seams open, be sure and clip the joining threads (from strip piecing) before you sew the seams.

Start small, but give watercolor quilting a try.  It is a lot of fun.  Just be sure to pick out your edge fabric first, as it is the most difficult  to find.

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