There are so many things about making the Steppings Stones quilt by Irene Blanck that were pure pleasure! The fact that the pattern reminds me of a crocheted granny square rug that my great Aunty Thel made me when I was a child is a bonus.The fabric pull
The first of all was the the opportunity to play with so many different fabric combinations in each block. Pulling fabrics for a new project and playing with all of the different combinations is one of my favourite things - like ever! With so many blocks this is the perfect project to dive into your stash.
To start off with I chose to use many of the fabrics from Rashida Coleman Hale's Raindrop collection and then added in a selection from Heather Jones' Color Dash range for a pop of more saturated colour and because these prints offered further variety in scale and texture.
I then added in almost 20 different shades of Kona Cotton solids in oranges, yellows, and blue-greens to tie it all together.
Playing with fabric combinations
With the two rounds of octagons and the round of joining squares provided so many opportunities to explore the way different colours worked together and the impact of different prints on the block design. There's a lot of scope for fussy cutting - not that I did much in mine, but I did have fun manipulating a few of the directional fabrics.
There are plenty of repeats in my quilt, but at the same time I've used over 60 diffferent fabrics. I chose a bright orange kona solid for the centre square of my blocks as I wanted a strong pop of colour as it is such a small piece. While there are other orange prints and solids in the quilt, this is the only place I used that particular shade.
Soothing slow stitches
Running a small business is a lot of hard work. Despite being surrounded by beautiful fabrics it can be hard to find time to get to my machine and just sew. Hand sewing is so portable though and I usually manage to find an hour or most evenings.
In many respects this is an essential part of my day. Some people meditate, some run, I hand sew to unwind. The Stepping Stones quilt uses the English paper piecing technique, so a perfect hand work project.
Most nights I managed to complete at least one block, so the bonus was that there was also a sense of constantly moving forward. I also stumbled into a bit of a sew along with a fellow stitcher on Instagram who was also working on her own version of the Stepping Stones quilt. We would post updates on our feeds and it definitley helped me stay on track. If youre into EPP but don't follow Michelle, then you should. You can check out her blog here and she is @michellethequilter on Insta.
Putting it all together
I've used Kona charcoal for the small setting squares and again for the outer border. Even though those squares are tiny, the dark colour makes the blocks pop forward, as if they are floating on the background. I used the charcoal again for the binding so that there wasnt' a noticeable edge.
I quickly discovered that while I whipped through making the blocks, sewing these little guys into place as I joined the rows was pretty tedious.
So it didn't feel like death-by-grey-squares I begain adding them to each block as I went. Much better!
I love the texture that dense quilting can add, but there is just so much to look at with this quilt that I decided to keep things pretty simple.
I have hand quilted straight lines through the round of small squares in each block and in a large grid between each block. Ive used perle 8 thread in orange. It is enough to hold the layers together, but not too busy, and lets the different fabric combinations be the hero.
This is a really approachable project and great for diving into your stash and using up some scraps. If you've never tried EPP before, this is a great project to start on as ther square blocks means it is super easy to adjust the size of your project to suit your needs. Why not try making just four blocks for a pillow sham?