Monday, 2 February 2015

a quilt for Wren

A while back, while searching for quilt inspiration on Pinterest, I came across Crafty Blossom's beautiful quilts. I pinned one of them, and decided to make something similar for our goddaughter. If you are reading this post and hoping for a tutorial, I am afraid I haven't managed to create a succinct tutorial as such, but I have shared some of my planning process, which may, or may not be of help to you! As I wasn't working from a specific pattern as such, I did some calculations to work out how many triangles of each colour I would need. I bought fat quarters of 7 fabrics, and started off by cutting 5x5" squares of each fabric. I worked out from this that I could cut 18 triangles per fat quarter.
In order to calculate what ratio of white triangles to patterned ones I would need, I did a quick count of the triangles on Crafty Blossom's quilt, and worked out I'd need approximately half of the triangles to be white. I knew that I wanted some grey fabrics in the mix to provide a nice contrast, and I found a fabric on M is for Make called Floret Stains Mulberry from the 'Indelible' collection by Katrina Roccella, which I loved, so then I made my other fabric choices based on the other colours. I knew that I wanted mustard fabrics to feature as well, and I already had a couple of the fabrics from the September Blue collection by Dashwood Studios that I thought would work well.
In terms of the process of deciding how I wanted to arrange the triangles, it was very much a case of trial and error. Initially, I tried to follow Crafty Blossom's sequence in terms of repetition of white triangles, but because I had chosen to use a lot more patterned fabrics over solid colours, I found this just didn't look right. So I started again, laying out the squares, then taking a photo to get a different perspective. Each time I have made a quilt, I have found this a helpful strategy - I always notice something different about a design when I look at a photo. For example, I didn't want to have identical fabrics repeating too much in one column of the quilt, and not appearing at all in another column, but I wouldn't always notice the repetition until I stepped away and looked at the photo.
 If you are still reading this blog post, may I congratulate you on getting this far. I wouldn't be at all surprised if you're thinking, 'how on earth does she ever manage to make and finish anything with the rambly way her brain works?!' then I would have to agree. I don't work well with logic and maths, so although I started out by calculating the number of triangles of each fabric I would need, I didn't stick to this, because it just didn't look right. With sewing, I tend to just work by what looks right in terms of light vs dark, patterns vs random, colour vs neutral, and try and get a balance that works. As you can probably tell, I will never be someone who will write a succinct sewing pattern!
For the back of the quilt, I used a cream coloured cotton, and added a little bit of detail with some extra triangles from the front fabrics to make it more interesting. The only problem with this was that I forgot to check if the squares lined up with the equivalent row on the front, and of course, it didn't. So I ended up quilting straight through the middle of the squares / triangles, which was a shame.
I finished the quilt over the Christmas holidays, and was delighted to make use of my Mother in law's sewing room where there is enough floor space to hold a party and still be able to lay out a quilt if you wanted to. In the past, I have made bias binding using a tutorial I found on YouTube. (Video tutorials are a god-send when you are a visual learner - I don't think I would ever attempt to make much at all if I had to follow a pattern in a book!) But I have never managed to neatly mitre all of my corners, so I took a leaf out of my mother in law's book and just cut straight strips of binding. Each strip measured 6 cms. I then folded each strip in half (wrong sides together) ironed it and machine stitched one edge to the front of the quilt. To try and get a neat finish, I hand stitched the other edge of binding onto the back of the quilt. I am certain that my quilts will always be filled with imperfections - slightly misaligned rows, hand stitching that's not evenly spaced and wonky binding, but I am learning not to let the prospect of imperfections put me off from just having a go. I am not sure if I will ever have the courage to make a full sized quilt though, so it's a good thing that there will always be babies around to lie on my little quilts!

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