So Are the Days of Our Lives…

Naw, this isn’t about the soap opera. It’s about hourglasses. You know, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” I never even watched the show, but I can still hear the announcer’s voice.

A few days ago I started a new quilt. It’s a block quilt this time, not a medallion. Hourglasses are a favorite of mine, and they’re easy to make. I was ready for easy. I decided to make large-ish blocks, 8″ finish, to make a bed quilt. Using a 10×10 layout, that would give an 80″ square quilt, not including borders.

I chose old-fashioned pretties from my stash, things I still enjoy but am not using much these days. The darks are in reds, greens, teals, and purples. The lights are varied, ranging from creams to peaches to pale greens and blues. None of the fabrics are uglies or leftovers, and many of them are interesting in their own right.

I cut 50 light squares and 50 dark squares, and cut them on the diagonal twice to make the hourglass triangles. That gave me 400 patches. I paired them light and dark randomly and stitched, creating 200 pairs. Then I matched them again randomly. My only hard rule was to not have two purples or two reds, for example, in the same hourglass block. So each block has two different dark colors in it. I also randomized the lights so each block has two different lights, as well.

Today I’ve been sewing rows. Here is a taste of the layout.


Rows not fully assembled.

As you can see, most of the blocks have red as one of the triangles. Using a dominant color helps create an anchor. When no color dominates or repeats enough, a quilt can appear chaotic. Well, this riot of scrappy triangles is chaotic enough! I also chose a dark red print for the border, to emphasize the reds.

As I write this, there are only 11 seams left. Of course they are the long ones, assembling the center and attaching the borders. But very likely this project will get put aside for a while. That’s okay as I’m not in a hurry for it. It’s intended as a gift and can wait until cooler weather to be given. I think the recipient will enjoy the fabrics I chose as much as I do.



18 thoughts on “So Are the Days of Our Lives…

  1. Andrea

    Fantastic quilt! It will be a lucky recipient of that one. I love simple blocks and interesting fabrics. Good call to make such a lovely quilt. Andrea

  2. Rebecca in SoCal

    Scrappy quilts are so interesting to peruse, they don’t need a fancy pattern. I appreciate your comment about an “anchor.” I clearly remember going to a quilt show very early in my quilting experience, and seeing one that made me say, “Yes, you can have too many fabrics.” Chaotic is the word I had not thought of.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks for commenting. And yes, you CAN have too many fabrics. I have made (what I think are) successful quilts with multiple colors of about the same visual weight. And I’ve certainly seen how changing the emphasis just a bit can change the perceived color of the quilt. In general, those are less confusing and easier to enjoy. Thanks again.

  3. snarkyquilter

    Sometimes you just need something straightforward to sew. And you can reflect that at one time you would have found this project a bit intimidating, with all those fabric decisions to make.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      The fabric decisions weren’t too hard. I have my stash sorted by color, so once I decided the concept, that was easy, too. But you are right — there was a time this would have seemed like a big challenge for a variety of reasons. I’m glad it’s not anymore.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      My only fear is that it won’t seem “special,” because … what? Because it wasn’t enough work? That’s it, really. But I am putting love into every bit of it, which should make it special enough. And yeah, I love the little Chinese guys. There are actually 3 different fabrics with little Chinese guys. 🙂

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      So little work! When I decided to make an hourglass quilt, I thought about a 2-color quilt. YUM those are beautiful. But I wanted to use more fabrics to make it more interesting. Thanks.

  4. katechiconi

    It has a wonderful vintage feel, and after the initial cutting and decisions about colour, I’d guess you were able to make good progress without the quilt making too many demands of you. Sounds like just what you need!


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