Monday, January 31, 2011

Pattern Review: Saltwater Taffy by Fig Tree & Co.

Yay!  I finally managed to finish my Lemon Taffy quilt (more pictures are coming) just in time for my sister-in-law's baby shower last Saturday.  I was really happy with the way it turned out and I'm so glad that I was able to make the push to finish it last week ... as my niece decided that she was going to make her debut into the world the day after her shower ... 6 1/2 weeks early! Mama and Baby are doing great and we're so excited over the newest little member of the family.

I'm still in the process of downloading and editing pictures from the weekend, but in the meantime I wanted to share my pattern review with you, before I forgot the details.

Pattern: “Saltwater Taffy” by JoAnna Figueroa, of Fig Tree & Co.

Quality of Pattern: This was the first pattern I tried from JoAnna @ Fig Tree & Co.  One of the things that struck me almost immediately was that the full pattern was entirely in color.  Now, don't get me wrong - there is absolutely nothing wrong with black and white patterns, but this one was very visually appealing, and with multiple steps in the block construction process, full color definitely was a bonus.

I felt that the directions were well written - especially since the steps for block construction were involved - but they definitely required several readings.  I made the mistake of only reading through once before piecing (and of sewing at 1:00AM), and ended up having to pull apart corners from about 25 squares.  Arg.

Difficulty Level and Technique: While there was nothing I can specifically pinpoint that made this quilt tricky, this is definitely not one to try for those quilters who aren't feeling really comfortable with some of the basic quilting skills, ie: trimming with templates, accurately piecing pinwheel blocks, squaring/trimming blocks, working with pieces that were cut on the bias, pressing instead of ironing (!!!!!!), etc.

None of these are really difficult on their own, but this quilt pattern layers these techniques (and more!) on top of each other, and repeats them over a number of steps in the block construction process.  The blocks turn out beautifully, but require a lot of dedication and care (and the willingness to re-piece, as necessary) to put together.

Adaptability:  Aside from leaving a row off, I made my quilt true to the pattern.  I would imagine that you could change the block size as needed, but it would require a bit of math.  It really wouldn't be that difficult to do, but the pattern yields such good-sized blocks already (just about 8") that I don't know if I'm personally willing to burn off the brain cells to re-size it.

Speed: This quilt is definitely not a weekend project.  There are a number of steps involved in block construction (with lots of trimming and re-trimming), and extreme accuracy is a must ... but it's totally worth the time.  This is definitely more of an "enjoy the process of sewing and construction" quilt, rather than an "I love the gratification of finishing quickly" quilt.

Would I make this pattern again?:  I'd definitely like to try this one again, but I'll probably wait for awhile.  Next time around, I might play with making some of my setting triangles a bit larger, so that the blocks trim up more smoothly, and I think that rather than having my colors match in the "X-intersection," I think it would be fun to match colors within the octagon instead.  It would definitely take quite a bit of planning ... but that's what our design boards are for, right?

Happy Quilting!!

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