Mama’s Sudoku Quilt

During the Christmas holidays we spent lots of time visiting lovely relatives. During our time away from home I decided to make a quilt for my Mum and set myself the deadline of her birthday in March. She enjoys sudoku puzzles and I really liked the look of some of the sudoku quilts that I’d seen online.

The basic idea is that you assign a fabric to each number in the sudoku puzzle and use that to create a simple, random looking quilt.

Mama's Sudoku quilt hanging on the washing line (I'm not brave enough to risk washing it yet though)

Mama’s Sudoku quilt hanging on the washing line (I’m not brave enough to risk washing it yet though)

Challenge 1. Complete a sudoku puzzle.

I could have picked the easy route and just used a pre-completed pattern. But where would be the fun in that. I also could have made my life more simple by picking an easy puzzle. But no, too boring. So about 5 hours (not joking) later, with enough growling and cursing to make my parents-in-law wonder what was wrong me, I had a completed sudoku pattern to for the quilt.

Challenge 2. Picking the fabrics

Choosing the colour scheme for this quilt was really easy. I wanted a quilt that my Mum could snuggle up with on the sofa in her living room or have on her lap when using the computer in the study. My parents’ living room is decorated in red and gold. Their study is deep green and cream. So, red and cream for the sudoku fabrics with green sashing. Easy. However, a colour scheme is different to picking actual fabrics. I am awful at choosing fabrics. It takes me ages. My husband is very patient with me but I knew that choosing nine fabrics (plus sashing, binding and backing) would stretch even his patience too far. For this quilt we came up with a brilliant plan. He would take himself off to a specialist gun shop he’d been eyeing up for a while to scope out potential candidates for the air rifle he was planning to get himself as a promotion present. I have about as much interest in guns as he has in fabric shops so I took myself off to the Bramble Patch for a wonderful three hours (yes I’m serious, it took me three hours!) to choose all the fabrics for Mama’s Sudoku quilt.

Making the quilt

With each new quilt I try and pick a new skill to work on or develop. I’ve been trying to work on accurate piecing for a while now and this was the perfect quilt to test those skills. nothing short of neat, squares joins would do. I also wanted to have a go at using a fleece as a backing fabric rather than using batting and cotton backing fabric.  This was a quilt for my Mum, who spends all her free time making amazing and intricate silver jewellery. She knows good workmanship when she sees it and would spot all wobbly seams and uneven quilting. So this quilt also going to be push my fledging free motion skills to new levels.

Piecing went fairly smoothly. Basting gave me a bit of a headache because the fleece kept wanted to roll up at the edges. I added an extra layer of cotton from an old sheet in between the top and the fleece. I thought this would help stop the red fleece showing through on the cream squares. It also felt a bit more like a normal quilt having three layers. And then came quilting. Or rather, then came trying to decide how to quilt it. To stabilise the quilt I started with straight line quilting in the sashing.

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The back of the quilt, fleece is great as a backing fabric but really fuzzes up my sewing machine

I then chose to quilt a different motif on each of the nine sudoku sqaures. Some reflected the patterns in the fabrics

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Others were just patterns I liked

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The finial touch was the label. This is the first quilt I have made a label for. I decided to make a mini sudoku puzzle – the incomplete version of the finished one on the front.

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I think this would have worked a lot better if I had added sashing like I did on the front. But hey, not bad for a first label. One week to go until the birthday deadline. Thankfully the fantastic Staffordshire Patchworker and Quilters held a perfectly timed Soup and Sewing Day. It was so much fun to finish off this quilt around fellow quilters, just chatting and swapping stories. Finished in time and delivered to Mama for her birthday a week later – Success.

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