I made good progress on Pip’s I Spy quilt this week. Whenever I caught a spare few minutes I just popped upstairs to applique another shape to a charm square.
It was a very yellow themed week. I think I must be missing the sun now the days are so short.
I absolutely love repurposing scraps left over from other projects. The flower meadow fabric was originally used to make my mother-in-law’s charging basket a few years ago. One of the things I want to be able to do with this quilt is use it to tell stories. Imagine how many bugs and insects could be hiding in those flowers while they get ready for a tea party!
You may remember earlier this year I made a jigsaw quilt for my godson. I really enjoyed making this quilt and the vibrancy of the colours really appeals.
Now that I’m pregnant with our first child (codename Pip) I’m keen to have another go at this type of quilt, this time for my baby to sleep and play on.
I’ve spent a while gathering and sorting through novelty scraps to form the pictures for the quilt. I think I’m going to be aiming to create an 8 x 8 grid of 4 1/2 inch squares with a range of motifs and images for a baby or toddler to have fun looking at and playing on.
Now I’m starting the process of creating the applique blocks. I need 64 blocks in total, so I better get going…
I’m very pleased to have this one bound and finished in plenty of time for Christmas. It was a fun, easy quilt from start to finish. I think it’s a very rare thing to be able to say that so I’m just going to revel in that moment for a while…
This quilt has been nothing but a gentle, stress relieving joy to make. I really hope it can bring those feelings to my sister when I give it to her. She’s had a tough time recently so I’m delighted to be able to give her a ‘hug she can keep’ with this quilt.
I’ve got a couple of earlier posts about the piecing, progress and basting for this quilt. All that remains to comment on is the quilting and binding.
Quilting: Some people call the pattern I used Dogwood, others call it Orange Peel.
I’ve used this pattern on a couple of quilts now and it’s a great all over pattern that I find more interesting (and less likely to look shoddy) than stippling or meandering. I think it works nicely for the structure of this quilt by softening the squares without distorting them.
Binding: I did have enough of the backing fabric to complete the binding to match. I almost did do that. However, as I was attaching the first side of the binding I began thinking about my sister…
She has a very important, professional job where she does amazing, complicated and serious stuff with money and maths that I couldn’t begin to understand. When she needs to be she is the epitome of a smart dark grey suit (the kind of smart that my Mum would describe as “so smart it makes your teeth ache”). Kind of like the colour I used for the backing and binding of the quilt.
But my sister is also the kind of person who brings the sunshine into the room when she enters. She’s the brightest, most colourful firework at the finale of the display. She is every colour all at the same time. Just like the front of the quilt. So I couldn’t resist adding in a section of bright hot pink to the binding to reflect the flash and spark she brings to all she does. It’s an added bonus for me that the pink fabric is actually left over from the lining of a bag I made for her a few years ago. Just a nice link back that makes me smile.
Here it is sat next to our Christmas tree just before I take it upstairs to add the label and then wrap up ready for her to open and snuggle up with in a few weeks time.
Just a quick update here.
I got lucky.
My expedient (lazy) pin basting of the postage stamp quilt worked out fine. I finished quilting all the vertical lines last night and didn’t have any puckers or pleats between the layers. Very relieved. Now I just need to do all the horizontal lines.
However, looking at how much thread is left on my spool, I’m not confident I’ll have enough for the whole quilt. Fingers crossed.
I tried out a white background for my paper pieced snowflake. The dark blue just wasn’t quite working for me.
I made up a couple of new triangles with the new background fabric. I like the colours, but the pattern repeat looks really odd when they get joined together. So it’s one of those ‘one step forward two steps back’ situations. I now know what fabric I want to use for the background, but now I have backgrounds on 3 triangles to redo rather than just one. Sigh.
I am looking forward to seeing how the whole thing looks when it’s put together though. That should be fun.
This week I added the final row of blocks to my sister’s postage stamp quilt. Each block is 16 little 2” squares of alternating light and dark fabrics in as many different colours as I could gather from my scrap bin. There were no new purchases for the top of this quilt at all (however the batting and backing were purchased specially – shh). While making this top it was really fun to look back and remember the stories of the experiments, successes and “okay, not doing that again”s that each fabric could tell.
It’s a big quilt top at 76 x 68”. When it was all pieced I just couldn’t quite face getting down on my knees for hours to baste it on the living room floor. (I think at 5months pregnant it’s ok to look for shortcuts here and there). So I decided to try using the dining room table. We have a heat protector and a vinyl table cloth on it so I was reasonably confident I could avoid sticking pins in my nice wooden table top.
The first third was easy. Just lay out and smooth the backing, layer the batting, and then add the top. I oriented everything to the top right corner because I knew I would have excess batting and backing to cut away and wanted to maximise the usability of the scraps.
Pin regularly. Here the postage stamp design was helpful to get regular pinning spots.
Once that portion had been pinned I trimmed the excess batting and backing leaving about 2” extra all around the top to allow for shifting during quilting. Then I grabbed a strong cardboard tube that I saved from a few years ago when I ordered some curtain fabric online. It has been sooooo useful over the years for rolling large quilts and once again it proved perfect for the job. I simply rolled the basted section up and then moved it across the table so I could start work smoothing the next quilt section.
Same process again… smooth the backing fabric. Bring the batting down on top of it and smooth that out too.
Then bring the top down and smooth that as well. Pin regularly.
And repeat for the final section.
Voila!! A pin pasted quilt without an aching back and knees. Success.
Now I know I’m taking a risk just pin pasting this. I could have thread basted it or added spray basting glue as I went. The table top method didn’t prevent this, my own laziness did. I’m (reasonably) confident that my quilting pattern will enable me to smooth as I go. My first line will be the long centre spine. Then I’ll be working my way out in lines every 4 inches (two squares) on one side so I can smooth outwards as I go. The advantage of pin basting is that you can reposition if you need to as you go along. Once one side is done I’ll come out from the centre spine on the other side in similar parallel lines, again smoothing as I go if needed. Finally I’ll add the perpendicular lines (again middle out to top and bottom edges) to complete the quilting. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Fingers crossed.
After a couple of simple finishes I felt ready to tackle something a little more complicated. Every year I make some Christmas decorations for our home. Other than the actual tree itself, every single decoration we use is homemade. This year I want to make something for the dining room (which is decorated in grey and blue). I found an amazing snowflake design online here. Isn’t it beautiful!!!
A few hours later with some swearing and arguing with my pencil I’d come up with a paper piecing template that I hope will give me a decent snowflake if my maths is correct. I’m making it in six 8” equilateral triangles, which theoretically should come together to make a large hexagon that can be a heat resistant place mat on our dining table or a seasonal topper for the dresser.
Last night I made the first triangle. It was actually easier to put together than I thought it would be. I think my paper piecing practice during my Japanese quilt (which is still only half quilted) has definitely helped.
Looking at my fabric choices in situ, I’m wondering if the outermost two triangles would be better just in a plain navy to kind of let the background fade away from the snowflake itself. Or maybe a white? …
What do you think?