Way back in May, at a craft fair, I attend most months, I was approached, thanks in no small part to a runty border collie puppy, by a lovely couple who spotted my Good Fortune bed runner.
They loved the warmth of the colours and the busy look of the juxtaposed strips but they wanted it bigger, with more piecing. Of course, I said I could do it, not knowing if I could even get the fabric. As it turned out, I couldn’t actually find the fabric I needed in the UK and found it on Etsy – as luck would have – the three jelly rolls that I had worked out that I needed to make the super king size quilt they wanted. We agreed on a 8ft x 10ft (96″ x 120″) quilt as they wanted not too much over hang but I wanted to give them enough for a pillow tuck. Anyway the rolls were ordered and I was able to use a local ebay based fabric shop for the border and backing fabrics.
It took a little while for the fabrics to make the journey over from the States and it arrived in mid June. To give me the size I wanted, I went with 5 strip blocks (not sure if this counts as Rail Fence, perhaps someone can let me know). I knew they wanted “the more pieces, the better” so was not worried about it being too busy for the, I was a bit concerned about the green fabric, not because it isn’t beautiful, but people react to green in very disporate ways, a bit like marmite. It’s my favourite colour but would it suit my couple?
Any way the strip set piecing began; I’ll accept a small slapped wrist for not trimming my selvedges before I started but I had a method and it worked for me.
So strips were sewn together and pressed so that
all most of the seams went in the same direction! Then pressed flat. Then the strips were cut into 4 10 1/2 inch blocks.
Sets were sewn and blocks were cut until I had 80 blocks and then the assembly began; strips of 8 blocks sewn together and then, the ten 8 block strips sewn together to make the main quilt top. It seemed enormous. It’s the biggest quilt I have made, the previous being a quilt for my king size bed (6’6″ square). But as I finished the main piecing the weather changed from sunny-but-cool to hot, hot, hot!
The weather helped me though: I was able to spread the quilt top out on our lawn to measure for the borders. It had a grey narrow border, a pieced, scrappy border and a wide grey border.
Luckily the weather lasted, I don’t think I could have easily made it last year with the continuous monsoons we had as I have nowhere in the house big enough to spread it out. Once the border were on I spread it out again to measure for the backing. Sadly I didn’t remember to take a picture of the backing which in the end I pieced with a rectangle of the grey, to break up the green, my nerves were still present, obviously. It looked lovely though.
Anyway the finished quilt top looked like this:
It was pinned flat but was a bit blowy and very, very hot.. Scrabbling round the garden pinning it to the turf was no mean feat, and the next day, making the quilt sandwich in the same way, my new neighbours must think I’m a bit bonkers. I pinned it securely in position and then basted it properly the next day.
I still hadn’t decided how to quilt it, I favoured an all over largish stipple to counteract the geometric lines but my clients were a bit dubious, or unsure. In the end I decided to use a geometric design, but chevrons at 2 inch spacing. I must admit to almost taking it all out at one stage because it was so hot, and the quilt was so big and heavy and I knew that the free motions stipple would have been quicker! I had hoped to have it finished in three to four weeks but I phoned my lovely customers and apologised for the slow progress but I was finding I could only quilt for about 15 minutes at a time. They were very understanding and as soon as the weather cooled a little I was able to complete it.
The scrappy border was added and then the quilt was washed, I speed hand sewed the border to the back as the forecast was promising rain and I wanted to dry it outside in the fresh air.
I am delighted with the finished quilt, in love with all Kate Spain’s designs, and am happy to report that my lovely clients have added this beautiful thing to the other lovely things they have in their beautiful home.
I think I may have given the impression over the last couple of posts that I am a bit down. I hope this blog doesn’t come across as wallowing or depressing as most of the time that’s not the way I feel at all, occasionally, a bit of a wallow is quite therapeutic and allows one, well, me anyway, to spring back with vim and vigour. The vim and vigour might be a bit more evident if we had had the much mooted T-shirt day yesterday. It was dull, dreich and miserable. I put my newest quilt on the line for four hours and it made absolutely no difference to it. It just sat there, waving its funkiness in the grey air.
I brought it in 4 hours later weighing approximately 0.0025 grammes less than when I put it out. There was, as they used to say in a part of the world where I once lived – frequently in Post Office queues, “no drying”.
But it is now finished, dry and folded and in a little while when the light gets better I will attempt to photograph. I am really delighted with this one. If you thought I was chintzy and traditional at heart well, you were wrong. The fact is I love it all.
I have used the Kate Spain Terrain patterns (a jelly roll) and some additional yardage (a yard and a half) of a matching print. The quilt it has yielded is bigger than my recent ones being about 40″ x 60″ about the right size for a first bed, a coverlet for a single or a throw for the back of a sofa. The way she has used the colours which are strongly contrasting make me want to sing – they really are joyful. It is, as you can see very simply pieced and echo-quilted to emphasise the strips of colour. This looks particularly effective on the back of the quilt. The thing I am most pleased about is the binding. I have made a binding strip from some of the left-over strip and well, it just works really well and I’m delighted.
Today I will be mostly playing with my (sshh!!!) new sewing machine. It has a larger harp area for rolling my quilts, droppable feed dogs and 84 different stitches. It also hums pleasantly, in a reassuring, germanic way and just feels more “the ticket” for a more industrial set up. It was not what I thought when I bought Hannah a sewing machine for her Christmas present last September (which she never got, see here).
Now, all that said, I’m off, back to my hollow and there I will wallow … in glorious mud. It must be a legacy of Junior Choice but I cannot hear the word wallow without that song coming to mind.
Off to hum Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud in a reassuring, germanic way for the rest of the day.
I actually managed to finish her on Monday but owing to the dismal weather and me being involved in lots of voluntary things this week, it has taken me until now to post here. I am very pleased and also a litlle bit bemused as to why these quilts have adopted genders!
As said before Ruby is made from 1 charm pack of Moda Ruby with 5 inch border of an aqua and cherry fabric from the Ruby range. this has also been used for the backing fabric.
It is bound in an ice blue plain cotton from the Bella solids range. I don’t have a particular thing for Moda although I do love their fabrics but I’m trying to make my quilts work together and at the moment I lack the experience to be able to tell if different manufacturers’ fabrics will work as well together. I’m playing it safe, if you will.
It is stipple quilted in the colourful central panel in
my own unique messy style using a variegated pale grey Gutermann Sulky thread and in places it has been unpicked due to tension problems when I was nearing the end of my reel. It looked more like crochet than sewing. The batting is Warm and Natural. I’ve used it for the others too but again this is down, really to a lack of experience in anything else. Another happy accident. It seems to be well regarded but I just found it originally at a good price for what I wanted (a cotton batting). I thinking of using Heirloom wool batting for commissions – I suppose that depends on the price the client is willing to pay. I have one in mind for myself which will use wool batting and William Morris fabrics. For our new house 🙂 .
I am satisfied with the overall standard of finish. I just have to work out now how much to sell them for. I have a craft fair next Friday at the Roland Levinsky Building in the University of Plymouth and would like to get them on my etsy shop over the weekend with some other bits. So if you have any experience in this (pricing quilts for sale) please contact me. Ruby measures 36″ square. It has been washed and has that slightly wrinkled quality that I love.
I’m currently working on a new project for next week’s craft fair and will hope to post the results on Sunday for next week’s Handmade Monday – next week is busy again with a day at Bristol with the Phoenix team, a day interviewing for this voluntary thing I’m doing and the Craft Fair on Friday – I think Thursday may be a bit fraught.
I’m very excited. Oopsy daisy is finished – yay me! It’s made from a charm pack of Moda Oops-a-daisy designed by Keiki, about a yard and a half of matching yardage – I chose the ladybird on cream ground design – if someone knows the name – I would be delighted to add it. It was going to be bound in plain red bias binding but due to my own inability to read a product listing correctly, when I went to collect the binding from Hulu Crafts in Modbury, I discovered it was not the right depth to bind my finished quilt. A rummage (well it was actually a bit more dignified than that but you get the idea) through their collection of fabrics drew me to the red spotty Marshmallow and Cherry Eggs by Momo for Moda and I bought a metre. I have used about half so will be able to incorporate it with some of my other scraps to make another quilt top.
I was a bit worried about it clashing with the cream ladybug pattern but although the reds are not an exact match the range of other colours in the quilt make it an acceptable “happy accident”.
The finished quilt is approximately 32 x 38 so would make a lovely cot quilt and could be used as a play mat. It has been machine echo quilted but the centre has a hand quilted heart motif where a baby’s initial could be added if required. It has been washed on a gentle cycle and line dried – although given the weather today, I’m not quite sure how!
It has a quilt label in toning colours with my name and the year.
In other news, the thread from Cotton Patch took over a week to arrive – I didn’t pay for the express delivery so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised but it does irk me when companies take over a week to actually despatch something. I know it wasn’t their most lucrative order ever but I have spent quite a bit with them in the last few months. Whine over.
I’m a little early posting for Handmade Monday (well early for me anyway – and apparently a bit too early for Wendy, too) but I’ve got a busy week and the opportunity for crafting may be limited to Monday only this week – so I’m trying to save it. to try and finish Ruby – if I get her done I’ll try and post pictures too. I’ll add in the link later because all those talented people are well worth a visit.
I thought I would share with you my latest little creation which was originally going to be called the Putting on the Itsy Bits Ritz quilt due to the combination of Moda and Makower fabrics used, but will, from now on be known as the Little Boy Blue quilt.
It is made from about 2/3rds of a Moda Putting on the Ritz jelly roll and about 1 1/2 yards of Makower Itsy Bits yardage. This is not because I am the devil may care, throw caution to the wind, kind of woman, it’s because the lady in the nice fabric shop had matching fabric but couldn’t sell me any due to her block of the month club. Frankly it would have been better to tell me she hadn’t got the matching yardage. Anyway the Makower is a very near match and is for the back only, which will be stippled, so is not really a problem.
Being on a budget, I am always looking for ways to make my fabric purchase better value for money and have been busy looking at prices of the different precuts. In the UK layer cakes and jelly rolls seem to be between £25 and £30 ($39-$46) and charm packs £8.50 – £11.00 ($13-$17), in fact it seems to me that the retailers sometimes just swap the dollar sign for a pound sign. Imagine my delight to have found a secret (well I suppose not if I’m sharing it with you) stash of delightful charm packs.
At this point a drum roll feature would be excellent WordPress, let me introduce, Melody from Fort Worth, Texas and her Etsy shop Melody of the Heart. I currently have, winging their way to me, 9 charm packs in three designs for a total of £62 ($93) including shipping – which works out at just less then £7 a pack – I haven’t found better value anywhere else at the moment but if you can do better …. Please pay her a visit; amazing value and a lovely friendly service too.
In other news, I am just waiting now for some batting so that I can complete Ruby and her friend. I am currently hand quilting Little Boy Blue (see below) but am waiting for a free motion quilting foot and my try machine quilting Ruby to see which I prefer.
The light is still not quite right to photograph this to reflect the lovely colours but I will include the swatch in a moment. I have used a single charm pack from Moda designed by Bonnie and Camille called Ruby. This was my first attempt at cutting into the patches (four patch blocks). I have pieced them randomly without much attention to the overall design and I like it. Next time though, I will be planning more carefully and piecing with purpose!! All over pinwheels would be particularly suitable for a boy I think. The panel here looks quite Cath Kidston in colour whereas the palette is actually fresher and more modern looking, see swatch below right.
Anyway, the panel is approximately 26.5 x 26.5 inches. I’m trying to work out how I got there but next time I’ll write it down as I go. The charm pack yielded 10 4 patch blockswhich were cut on the diagonal to give 40 triangles which were sewn back together to give 10 squares – I used 9 blocks to create a square quilt top.
I’m waiting for my backing and binding fabric to arrive but I will be using the one pictured to the left (the aqua coloured with apples/cherries) to create a deep 8 1/2 inch border, it will also be used as the backing fabric. The quilt will be bound in the same aqua colour but a solid version.
I will be using Warm and Natural cotton batting again (if it ain’t broke …) as I have been pleased by the finish of Hannah’s quilt and it was quite easy to hand quilt.
and the border will be echo quilted on either side of the border fabric and then have the lovely ducks (left) to further decorate it. It will be approximately 35.5 inches square when completed and will be for sale in my etsy shop.
I have been quiet for a little while because I have been busy finishing things, cleaning things, cooking things and eating things not necessarily in that order.
At the end of November I had the brain wave to make something I hadn’t attempted before for the main Christmas present for my daughter Hannah. She has wanted a traditional quilt for a long time and I was actually looking to buy her a handmade one but the ones I liked were out of my price bracket. So I decided to make one. I took some advice from Ros as to whether it was feasible to complete by Christmas and then set about looking for fabric.
I started with ebay – my starting place for most things in life if I’m honest – and was suddenly immersed in a world of baffling new terminology: fat quarters and fat eighths, jelly rolls and charm packs, layer cakes and honey buns. There are more but it’s all just a bit baffling still. Definitions can be found here, at the Moda Bake Shop.
The idea of precut fabric really appealed and anyone who has witnessed me wielding a pair of scissors will understand why. That line, the one you’re supposed to stick to, is there apparently only to serve as a punctuation to my wiggly cutting. The idea of precut anything is very appealing.
I chose to make a single bed size and worked out that I could make one with a jelly roll (4o 2 1/2 inch strips, 45″ wide) and two layer cakes (packs of 42 10″x10″ squares). I found some I liked on ebay from a seller in Redruth which meant I wouldn’t have to wait for it to ship from America. I chose a pattern called Full Circle shown below:
Once the bundles arrived and I could see what I was dealing with, I worked out a design, in Excel naturally:
The finished quilt is actually a little different, the dividing grid is all butterscotch, with black squares at the intersections and the outside border is red. I have a few pieces of fabric left over but not much.
I decided to make the whole thing in cotton so the batting (or wadding), the backing fabric and the thread are all cotton. This means that it should all shrink at the same rate (it will shrink a bit Hannah). I ordered Warm and Natural batting from Amazon: for their biggest size it was about £20 which compared very well to all the quilting sites.
Actually starting to sew it was quite scary; I suppose I was scared of making a mess but there is nothing like a looming deadline to focus the mind.
It was edged in black cotton bias binding and all hand quilted with echo quilting and heart designs.
It is, I hope the first of many as I’m more than slightly obsessed now, in fact I have two quilt tops waiting for edging fabric and batting. There will be more pictures if the light ever gets any better. Patience is a virtue 🙂