Years ago, when we were still living in another country and when I still had my teeny little fabric shop, I fell in love with Bunny Hill Designs and their take on “baby / children” lines. One of the last collection I got to stock was Puttin on the Ritz, which was delivered to me around the time we made the decision to move (and thus close shop). So while I managed to sell most of my stock, I got left with a layer cake (which I had earmarked for myself anyway) and lots of charm packs.
While I loved the line and the fact that the layer cake was only made of greys (you could choose from several options, if I remember well, grey, blue, pink or mixed, I think), the charm packs puzzled me more (which is probably why had so many left over) with their mix of colours. I have, slowly but surely, been using the greys charms, leaving the pinks and blues out of my projects.
After finishing the Little Man’s Big Quilt and 2 baby quilts, I felt it was time for me to dig out my Puttin on the Ritz collection and do something with it. To be honest, I had always thought that my first project after those would be made with my Ruby by Bonnie and Camille collection, but when it came to pulling fabrics out, I went for Puttin on the Ritz.
Yes, it is French inspired. And yes, I like it!
I wanted a simple pattern which would not require me to cut down my layer cake’s squares (each being 10in / 25cm square). The reason being that I didn’t want to add fabric to bring it up to a larger sized quilt. And I was feeling lazy too.
Still, not so lazy that I didn’t think twice about cutting enough charm squares (5in / 12.5cm each) into 4 smaller squares (2.5in / 5cm each). After all, for the optimal use of my layer cake, I just needed 168 small squares…
1 small square became 1 small triangle in each corner of each layer cake squares
I knew I wanted to “snowball” my layer cake squares (which is a funny way of saying “make them look round-ish with triangles in the corners). There are plenty of tutorials out there to show you how to “snowball” a square, some of which will have you trace a line on the back of all your small squares, or press them along the diagonal to create a sewing guide. With 168 SMALL squares, this wasn’t going to happen. So I eyeballed it. What I didn’t consider is that while my eyeballing is pretty good (I’ve been sewing enough diagonal lines on small squares), it is not perfect and when it came to putting the big snowball together, my triangles would not match perfectly. And while I am usually not bothered by things being a bit off from time to time, being off all the times would have driven me up the wall.
So, how do you solve a problem like off-ness? (Yes, I made that into a word). You add sashing (a border between the squares) and cornerstones. No, you don’t necessarily need to add cornerstones, but I thought I would be nice touch. Plus, I felt like cutting even smaller squares (no, not really, but hey, I only needed 56 or so of them…).
1. Testing the look over a white background
2. Cutting teeny squares
Before making my final decision, I put a few snowballs over a white background. This convinced me that the sashing was the way to go. Then it was just a question of cutting a lot of strips and squares (all the while cursing my lack of foresight re: the eyeballing of the snowballing).
Because I didn’t want to add too much to the size of the finished project (I’m still slightly traumatised by the quilting of the Little Man’s Big Quilt), I decided to cut my strips and squares to 1.5in / 4cm wide.
Having used all 42 squares of my layer cake, I went for a 6 columns x 7 rows. When putting together long rows and columns such as these, I like to divide into chunky blocks rather than rows. I find it’s easier to match seams like this rather than putting together many looooooooooong rows. So ideally, for a project like this one, you’d have 2 super blocks made of 3×3 snowballs with their sashing, which you’d sew together to create a hyper block of 3×6 snowballs. And you’d have another 2 super blocks of 4×3 snowballs, which you’d sew together to create another hyper block of 4×6 snowballs. Then, you’d have 2 halves of your quilt, meaning you’d have only 1 long row of 6 blocks to sew together (I hope that makes sense?).
Anyway, it is finished and I’m very happy with it. For now, this quilt top has gone to live in the box of quilts awaiting quilting. When I come around to quilting it, the finished project will be around 64in x 74in(160cm x 185cm), which will make it a big throw size or a small single bed quilt (so not so little….).
Now, have I used all my Puttin on the Ritz? Nope……..