I'm working on two projects right now that are both based on the traditional "rail fence" pattern, but that go in different directions. The first one, above, had its origin in an improvisational quilt class back in February, described at the end of this post. This quilt retains the notion of each block having parallel pieces, with a common layout that staggers horizontal and vertical blocks. But I did improvisational curvy lines instead of straight, and made the strips of uneven width. I'm about 2/3 of the way done with quilting this one, straight lines going horizontally across the quilt (which you can see at the top and bottom of the photo; as always, double-click to see in more detail). To choose colors for this quilt, I looked at African textiles, which often combine gold, red, blue, green, and black. As mentioned in the earlier post, the darker colors are commercial Kona cotton, while the lighter values are mostly fabric I dyed to widen the value-range.
I can only comfortably quilt for about a half-hour a day (or sometimes two half-hour sessions), so I started piecing fabric for my next project, which is also based on rail fence, but modifies it by alternating long rectangles with the squares.
This great "Union Station" pattern is by Janine Burke of Blue Underground Studios, published in the book she wrote with co-owner Amy Walsh, Colorful Quilts. (Union Station is the railroad station in Chicago, so a nod to the "rail fence" name.) Working on this is totally different from the improv approach, as it depends on very precise piecing, a challenge for me. I decided to use entirely hand-dyed fabric for this, and started out with what I have on hand. Here are the first blocks, on the design wall--nothing sewn yet.
Besides running out of fabric on hand, I also decided I needed to widen the color and value range, so I dyed up several additional colors.
Below is a re-organization of the blocks that includes the new colors; this is about half the quilt.
Much rearrangement will happen as I put up additional blocks. I may end up taking out the brighter gold color (now just one piece in bottom left corner; others replaced with the newly dyed darker gold). I'll decide once I've got the whole thing up on the design wall. Opinions welcome!