Wednesday, September 23, 2015

TBT - Shoofly on Steroids

Equal Time

Since I showed Son-2's quilt last week, it's only fair to afford equal time to Son-1 and his wife.  This is possibly the second quilt I ever finished -- the first being a Quilt-in-a-Day Double Pinwheel for GS-3 in 2001.

Shoofly on Steroids
These sampler blocks were part of a shop's Second Saturday Sampler program.  The deal was to buy one Thimbleberries kit for $5 and if you returned with the completed block the next month and watched a new product demo, the next kit was free. These blocks cost me $60!  Not a matter of false advertising; I either didn't get a block finished in time or forgot to go pick up the next one on time.  Lesson learned.

I had just joined a guild and one of the ladies suggested I try hand piecing so I practiced on these blocks -- which partly explains why I was always late in finishing.  But when it came time to setting them I went back to the sewing machine.

For some reason I did not want to do a traditional setting with sashings or plain setting blocks.  So why not complicate things with an original design?  I think I saw an episode about shadow quilts on Simply Quilts and decided to try it.

The blocks were supposed to finish at 10" but because I  hadn't quite conquered an accurate 1/4" seam, I added the frames to make them finish at 12".  The frames also help set them off against the background.  The quilt is about 70" square.

Before I had EQ, I designed the entire thing on graph paper.  (I wish I had saved that!)  When I realized that the light sections of the big shoofly would be very big and uninteresting if they were plain, I decided to put subliminal shooflies in the background.

Looking back on these early quilts I realize that I was a lot freer in my design choices then, not unlike the modern quilters today.  I am working to regain some of that spontaneity.

Linking up with Krista Quilts for Throwback Thursday.


  1. Very creative setting. I really like those subtle shoofly blocks in the background.

  2. Libby, I love your design. The subtle background design adds so much to the overall quilt.

  3. I love the setting for your sampler blocks, especially the subtle blocks in the background. Very effective and much more interesting than a straight setting.

  4. Love it! Still looks fresh today. Good design choices!

  5. Outstanding design! way to go on being original!

  6. That's a really unique setting for those blocks. I spotted the subliminal shoe-flies right away. But I didn't see the big one until I went back after reading your post. I guess I tend to see the details before the big picture :) Thanks for linking up at Throwback Thursday today.

  7. The blocks Andre set off so perfectly by the two tones of background, which give it a complexity that I love. Very creative!

  8. Libby - so many things about this quilt are pure genius! I really love the unique block setting, the "subliminal" shoo flies (terrific!) and the way you evened out block sizes by framing them. Love the giant shoo fly anchoring all the blocks in the background too.


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