Sunday, 25 October 2015

Uniting The Kona Nerds

One of the most exciting things about a project like this is watching it come together. The blocks are morphing into a whole...all the bits are becoming one. The idea is turning into reality.

All these blocks are random sizes, designs and colours. Believe it or not, making it work mathematically is easier than making it work visually.  Getting the layout right takes a lot of shuffling, and in this case it also needed a little input. My first layout looked like this:

At the time I was satisfied with the arrangement and I could easily see how it was going to fit together. When I layed the blocks out I was more concerned with the "fitting together" than the visual aesthetic of the layout. I asked my friend Lynne Tyler, over at The Patchery Menagerie, about a couple of things that had me scratching my head and she came back to me with more than I bargained for! Lots of really good pointers and constructive suggestions were in her email, I was so grateful.

It wasn't at all that she was telling me I had done something wrong, but she pointed out several areas that could be better. So, after chewing on her notes for a bit I took a big breath and started shuffling things around again. I tweaked my layout without compromising my entire initial design and landed here:

If you look at the photo you can see that I had already started to piece the blocks in the upper portion together when these changes were made. I moved a couple things but left the bulk of what had been sewn in place. You can also see that my measuring tape is laying on there...I was getting ready to build the top row and needed  a target height for it. The changes made in the position of some of the blocks really make this more visually appealing...and, the fish is no longer swimming off of the quilt. (Thank you Lynne! )

A couple gals have been wondering how I would go about building the flimsy and making it all fit is certainly a challenge. When I look at the blocks in a layout like this my minds eye breaks them down into what I can build into sections by adding in chunks, patchwork and pieces to get me to the target size. Sections become building blocks and then it's like just fit them in.

This should give you an idea of how I see the building blocks in my minds eye
even though this photo was taken before I rearranged the blocks.

Some people would draw it out on graph paper and figure it all out beforehand. I am not that person. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants...just keep on adding on, cutting planning, just measuring as I go and adjusting accordingly. Sometimes my calculations are better than others, but then again, I never was a great math student. This was the easiest way to find out how tall that top row of patchwork had to be to end up level with the top of the JUNGLE block after all the piecing below had been stitched into one big piece.

After a little trip to our LQS to get a nice stack of Kona Kandy to use for the "fitting in" I finished up the top section of the flimsy. While I am determined to use up a lot of scraps from my basket to make the fillers I do plan to use this particular range of colours for the bulk of the supporting patchwork and I didn't have enough to do the job. Besides...who doesn't love pulling a couple dozen bolts of Kona and making the cutting clerk a little cross eyed from time to time?

When I get the whole top together I'll be sure to fill you in on all the fabulous artists who sent along all the different blocks... aren't they great?? Only another half a flimsy to go! I can't wait!  Oh, and I'll also sit down with the Kona colour chart and figure out just how many colours of the 303 are represented in this puppy. Any guesses?

As an aside...while I was getting the photos ready to write this post Not-So-Little PurpleBoots carved up his giant pumpkin...all by himself. This is the finest one yet, I guess his hand has the strength to carve steadily now and his eye knows where it's heading.

Clearly a small bit of his mother's creative spirit exists within the giant frame of that boy... the doctor pegged him at 5'10" this week. It's official: the 14 year old is taller than me, a whole inch taller than me.


The couple chunks of Halloween fabric I picked up today at the LQS will have to soothe my "short" mothers soul. How do these kids grow up so damn fast??


  1. For real I want to roll around in that stack of Kona! Cannot wait to see the bottom good. Send the tall young one to carve me a pumpkin would ya!

  2. For real I want to roll around in that stack of Kona! Cannot wait to see the bottom good. Send the tall young one to carve me a pumpkin would ya!

  3. You've only showed half and it already looks amazing, Val! I absolutely love it! You're doing such a good job with this project, so many yummy Konas!

  4. WOW! this is turning out amazing! Lynne gave you some good pointers. Love!

  5. Absolutely amazing! What a legendary quilt you will have when complete!

  6. Your layout is SO MUCH BETTER and I LOVE the way you've filled in the empty spaces around the word blocks. I love the little red triangle that points to the HELLO block. I love the way I can now see WASABI and that the little border surrounding it makes me think of how spicy wasabi really is. I can't wait to see who did TORCH, because that's exactly the way I make my R's. And fitting it all together, yup, that's how you do it.Make chunks and sew them together. That takes some getting your head around. It's going to be a showstopper! Well done!

    The Patchery Menagerie

  7. This is SUCH fun to watch -- the evolution of a free pieced, seat of the pants design! Love the colors you've added for fill ins (and thanks for sharing that photo of yourself with the Kona bits). GO GO GO -- you are onto something GRAND here!

  8. p.s. I ADORE the Kona Nerd name tag!!

  9. It's amazing how great all of the blocks look together. The structured look of the text against all of that wild colour is inspired.

  10. I was so glad to see this in person yesterday. I love it!! You have done an amazing job putting it all together.

  11. I wish I could have been there to see the gigantic pile of Konas heading for the cutting table. This is going to be freakin' amazeballs. But I think we already knew that. Honestly. You have graduated, young paduan.

  12. A little late to comment, but, Val, this top is really coming along. Can't wait for the next update!