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Give Me a Quarter, Please!

With this blog, I'm starting a series that will look at hallmarks of my quilt designs. We don't start out knowing what our design styles will be. Over time, we are influenced by seeing others' quilts, taking classes and trying new things. We stumble upon something we like, and before we know it, that thing is popping up demanding we notice and claim it as our own. Fortunately, our styles change, develop and evolve over time. Some things run their course; others come to stay. I look at my obsession with 1/4" strips in this first post. For now, they are here to stay in my designs.

Block© designed by Dana Jones using fabrics from "Bubbles and Swirls" by Lonni Rossi for Andover Fabrics.

I love 1/4" strips in blocks, between blocks, as elements of overall designs, pretty much anywhere in my quilts. They are the behind-the-scenes stars that make everything else pop. They provide structure, sight lines, definition. And they intrigue viewers who ask how I can sew them evenly.

My answer is often foundation piecing. If you know me, you know I'll foundation piece any quilt I can. When that's not the answer, I use a nifty trick I picked up from Ricky Tim's Convergence Quilts: Mysterious, Magical, Easy and Fun (C&T Publishing, 2003). On page 73, Ricky provides tips on adding narrow borders using a method that enlists the left side of the presser foot as a guide as it is butted into the sewn seam. This is a bit difficult to explain here, so get Ricky's book and check it out. It really works if you want narrow strips and can't foundation piece them.

Check out a few of my block designs that feature these narrow strips. When you enroll in my Demystifying Design for Foundation Paper Piecing workshop, you'll learn how easy these are to incorporate in your quilts.

Blocks© designed by Dana Jones using 1/4" strips

When 1/4" strips are used between fussy cut images, those images stand out. One example is this fun Boston terrier pillow sham I made for a friend. Those black 1/4" strips pieced between the fussy-cut dogs really let each dog have its time the sun.

Boston terrier pillow sham© designed and made by Dana Jones

The first time I designed with 1/4" strips was when I created Will It Go Round in Circles. These strips are important to the graphic design of this quilt, giving it what some folks have called a touch of Mondrian.

Will It Go Round in Circles© designed and made by Dana Jones. Quilted by ZJ Humbach.

I again turned to them when I designed Bethlehem: Prayers for Unity for an exhibition at Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado. I even carried them into the loose strips I wove together when joining the four parts of this quilt.

I really do have a love affair going with these 1/4" gems. I'm sure there are many quarters to come in my future quilts so please, give me a quarter.

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