Review by Niki Storr.
You know how it is, when there are several enticing options making a decision becomes more difficult? That’s where I found myself dithering over where to start with Strip Savvy. The many excellent photographs show Kate Henderson’s quilts made with the textured modern fabrics that I am into these days. Then other VQMG challenges intervened (Michael Miller, UFOs, round robin), until it came time for the mini quilt swap.
I learned by creeping my partner on Pinterest that she likes house blocks and white. Unfortunately, reviewing possible options online I found that house blocks can range from fussy to twee. That was not the look I was after, as we are the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. Then remembering my lapsed book review, I re-visited Strip Savvy and the stars aligned because Kate Henderson had a house block on a white background. A cute, simple & modern one!
I re-read the author’s general instructions. Everything was clear and concise, with frequent illustrations for us visual learners. Yet, the pattern for “Little Houses” involves flying geese blocks. Ha! Me & flying geese are not on friendly terms. Maybe it’s from sewing on the bias, but I often have trouble losing the points and getting the sizes accurate. Re-visiting a nemesis was going to be a true test of this pattern.
And, Henderson’s instructions work! My points did not disappear into the seam allowance. She even had me pressing my seams open, which I tend not to do, but I followed her to the letter and it worked. These blocks strip-piece in a flash and are a great way to use up some smaller pieces of fabric. With all this success I got cocky and put away the pattern thinking I could fly these geese on my own to finish my mini version of “Little Houses.” I sewed the strips of house blocks in even rows only to find that they did not quite line up. After having a heart palpitation or three, I had another look at the pattern (whenever in doubt, read the instructions!) and clever Kate had staggered her strips so that any tiny variance in block size is rendered moot. I did, however, take the liberty of making all my rows facing the same direction. As well, I started with three, but then it just didn’t look like enough so I expanded my village into a sub-division with a faced binding. My mini quilt grew into a midi quilt.
Thanks to That Patchwork Place/Martingale for sharing Kate Henderson’s Strip Savvy with the VMQG. I look forward to making more quilts from it and posting the results!
Book photos reprinted from Strip Savvy by Kate Henderson. Photos by Brent Kane; Published by Martingale. Project photos by Niki Storr.