For Block #3 for the skill for the Skill Builder Sampler is half square triangles. To practice half square triangles (HST) the block for the week is the Churn Dash. I was really excited to see this block, in fact I think it's my favorite traditional block. Every time I visit my parents I admire the Churn Dash square in the Civil War sampler quilt my mom made for the bedroom we stay in. (Mom's been quilting since 1995, I'll always remember the year because the first quilt she made was to celebrate graduation from high school!) Anyway, back to the block of the week: Churn Dash, love it! I think it's amazing the way the look of the black can totally change based on the colors of the fabric used, I suppose that's true for a lot of blocks though. ;-)
Despite loving this block as it is I wanted to explore variations too. So I broke out the graph paper and started sketching and coloring. All variations started with the same basic bones. Some of the variations are just different color values (light vs. dark) in different locations. In others more HST were added to various locations in different orientations. I also played with the location of the background material, switching the orientation of the sub-units. I spent an evening coloring different configurations for the block before stopped.
I knew that I wanted to do one according to the directions and one variation. As I was sketching and coloring I asked Puppy Boy (my three year old) what his favorite was. And he had a definite favorite, no question. Decision made, that was the variation.
A sample of the variations I sketched.
It was fairly easy to pick the fabrics for the first block. I knew that I was going to use white for the background, so I just need to decide what to use for the other fabrics. For the blocks each week I'm trying to use fabrics in that haven't been used in previous blocks (obviously, this won't work for vary much longer!) So, looking at what I had left, with the addition of the dark purple Kona I picked up earlier that day, I was really drawn to the purples. I also pulled the purple I used for the Log Cabin (Block #1) for a medium value and played around with the fabrics. I thought that I wanted a color fabric in the center, but it just wasn't working for me. So I figured I go for contrast and kept my dark and light purples. I continued to fold and rearrange until I decided which fabric I wanted in which location. I'm really happy with how it turned out:
For the variation block I wanted to use colors very similar to how I sketched it for two different reasons: 1. I wanted to make it look as close to the sketch as possible for Puppy Boy; 2. It reminded me of the poppies the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell. This tradition started after the Flanders and World War I. It didn't turn out quite the way I envisioned, but I'm still very pleased with it:
I can see myself making a quilt with nothing but variations of Churn Dash...with a star, floating, log cabin in the center, another churn dash on the inside, Grecian (scroll down), or all the other variations I dreamed up.