Minimal Day Sampler – Block Eight: Dalle de Verre
Being fascinated with light, color, and transparency, my great uncle Russell worked extensively with glass, as it was a perfect medium to explore these concepts. Last year, he donated this large glass work to the gallery that bears his name at Everett Community College.
The piece is made from rather thick slabs of glass called dalle de verre. The glass is cut with a chisel and set in a mold, then held together with concrete or epoxy. (Sounds like good old-fashioned, messy fun to me. No? Ah, well, I suppose fabric isn’t nearly as sticky…) Anyhow, I love the resulting irregular shapes of the glass and how they stack and nestle together, while being framed by the surrounding concrete, so this month’s block design reflects that. It is done in true reverse appliqué, where parts of the top layer are removed to expose the layer below. And it will give you plenty of practice on corners, which I apologize for in advance. (Might be good to have the chocolate/wine/happy place mantra on standby, just in case.)
Begin by printing out a copy of the template, making sure the scaling on your printer is turned off. The bottom edge of the triangle at the top should be around 2 1/4” long. Cut out the shapes and discard/recycle them. We will be using the “negative” as our template for this block.
Whether you are making the wall or lap sized quilt, this month’s block is the same for both.
- From background fabric: Cut one 10 ½” square
- From appliqué fabric: Cut one 10 ½” square
Fold your appliqué fabric in quarters and press. Unfold the fabric and place the template on top, aligning the registration lines with the creases. (As you can see, I had help decorating my template. Gives it a little something extra though, don’t you think?)
Trace inside each of the 4 shapes. Cut out and remove the fabric inside each shape, being careful to leave your “fat eighth” inch seam allowance as shown. Don’t clip into any of the corners yet though. Place the appliqué layer on top of the background and pin or glue baste to hold it in place.
Beginning in the center of one of the sides of a shape, stitch toward the first corner. When you get close enough to the corner to feel the seam allowance begin to resist turning under, stop and clip directly into the corner, right up to the stitching line.
Tip: Try to avoid cutting at an angle. That causes one side of the seam allowance to be much narrower and therefore weaker in the finished quilt.
Continue stitching up to the corner point, using the same method we used for the deep “v” on the Loop block. (See the July post to review that information.) Continue working your way around each shape, always starting and ending in the center of a side, never in a corner.
Tip: Keep in mind that it’s okay for your stitches to show on these corners. Those spots that have been clipped need to be reinforced a bit. Just be thankful for matching thread and stitch the heck out of them.
After you’ve completed all of the shapes (and possibly sworn at me a few times; again, I apologize) your finished block should look something like this:
It will go here in the final quilt layout (wall, then lap size):
Next month is our LAST appliqué block! And it’s my favorite one of all. (It is also blissfully corner-free.)