Saturday, August 2, 2014

Gypsy Wife: A Fine Beginning

Jen Kingwell's Gypsy Wife quilt captivated my eyes and is my latest obsession. Just look at this cover photo!!

So, I have already dug into the heaps and heaps of beautiful bright scraps that I have been accumulating to get started. Right off the bat, I'm going to say that as much as I *love* the look of this riotous mix of colors and non-gridded assembly, the pattern requires kind of a do-it-yourself capability. Overall, her "directions" are very vague, although quilters with a little basic piecing experience shouldn't have too much trouble figuring out how to end up in the right place. If you're the kind of person who needs every single seam described separately, this may not be the pattern for you. I'm going to post my progress, along with comments about each section as I go.

Block 1: Color Wheel (9")

This one went together in a snap, although I didn't use her cutting and assembly techniques. There are lots of ways to end up with HSTs and QSTs, but cutting individual triangles to exact size and piecing all those stretchy edges seems like the least efficient way to me.The cutting dimensions given in the pattern are EXACT, so if your 1/4" seam tends to be a little wide, you might do better to cut the pieces a bit large, then trim to size before assembling the block. Instead of piecing separate HSTs for the corners, I would choose to do them in pairs (two of each color), then save the extras for piecing the HST blocks that come later.

Gypsy Wife color wheel block, 9"

Block 2: Pershing (9")

Blerg. A Google search on this block told me that there were some problems with this one. The directions specify cutting Every. Single. Little. Triangle. to exact size, but almost everybody who blogged about it ended up with too-small blocks. One quilter posted a PDF with paper piecing directions, but I couldn't get them to print out at the correct scale, so I just drafted it myself in PowerPoint. (If you want my pattern, just ask.) Even with the paper piecing, the block still ended up about 1/16" too small. That's not really a problem, though, since the seams will just swallow up the minor difference. Verdict: pretty block, although I wish I had chosen a dark fabric in the outer centers (where I used the blue dots on the white background). I would not do a whole quilt of these.
Gypsy Wife Pershing block

Block 3: From the Heart (6")

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the directions are the way they are. This is a block that uses two identical HSTs; it makes sense to do the "two seams down the center" technique (Method 2 on this blog) so you're not messing around with bias edges. I cut two 4" squares, stitched, cut, then trimmed the HSTs down to 3 1/2" before sewing them together. You could also make one flying geese unit if you have an easy way to make only one of them. For the QSTs, I also used the seams down the center technique, starting with two 3 1/2" squares from each fabric. I had one leftover QST, but I'll hold onto it for some of the filler blocks made later. For the upper row I actually used the pattern's technique. Overall, simple block with overly complicated directions. 


  1. can you email me your pershing instructions?

    1. Sure, I will see if I can track down the PDF file this evening.

  2. I am trying my hand at Gypsy Wife. Would there be any chance of you still having your Perishing instructions? I would sure appreciate it. I have not learned how to convert patterns to FPP myself yet.

    Thanks for your great info!