Saturday, August 30, 2008
back in business quilt
This is my "back in business" quilt, so called because its the first substantial thing I've made in about 4 years, and the thing that got me excited about sewing again.
The idea for this one came about when I was in the process of looking to buy a new house (or, more specifically, flat), and I was day dreaming about the interior design of the potential new property. I decided I needed a lying on the couch watching tv quilt to go with my new living room. Having more than a slight green addiction the colour was readily determined. I've always liked the idea of basic square patches in random fabrics, so I didn't initially put too much thought in the pattern. Originally I envisaged lots of vintage fabrics with a totally random placement, however that didn't quite eventuate.
I started shopping for fabrics with very little thought to how much of each fabric I would need. The majority of the fabrics I found on etsy, with a few from Spotlight and a couple from a quilting store in Geelong.
Once I'd started purchasing fabrics I started to give more thought to how I was going achieve that often unattainable "random" look on the front, and also what I was going to use for the back. One of my biggest concerns on starting the project was an intense fear of not being able to quilt the finished project, given the time I'd had away from the machine, and the fact that I'd never machine quilted anything large scale.
I decided early on to use an adaptation of a "quilt as you go" method my mum had used a few years before when making her queen size quilt. Hers had been a log cabin pattern which with each strip pieced direct on to the batting and backing. I knew that wouldn't work for my quilt, but decided to create the quilt in 9 fully quilted strips which would then be pieced back together and the seams bound . Each strip would be three patches wide by 21 patches long.
At this point I realised that I hadn't bought enough of my fabrics to create the nine long strips i would need for backing, and so decided on a pieced back, with each strip consisting of 9 large squares.
Looking at the fabrics I'd collected I had lots of small pieces (quarter or half yards) and only two fabrics in any sort of quantity (a couple of yards of each). Fortunately one of these two was one of the darkest fabrics I had and the other one of the lightest. After giving it lots of thought (and very nerdily creating an excel spreadsheet image of the quilt) I decided that instead of a totally random placement of fabrics, I'd use a pattern of dark / random / light / random, creating diagonal visual lines of the dark and the light.
I cut the fabrics (having worked out exactly how many of each fabric i needed, because again, I am a maths nerd when it comes down to it) and then stacked them up in the dark / random / light / random order. I then pieced them into groups of three, as I wanted to lay them all out before joining the full strips.
Once I had my mini strips of three I cleared the lounge room floor, and laid out the pieces, rearranging to achieve a "randomness" i was happy with. Actually it look me so long to lay them all out my back was killing by the end of it, and the last few rows include more repeats than I had allowed for the rest of the quilt, but I assured myself that no one but me would ever know...
The mini strips became long strips, and three long strips made a fully pieced panel. The pieced panels were basted to cotton quilt batting (which I had prewashed even though my patience didnt extend to prewashing the fabrics) and a backing strip of nine large squares. I quilted each strip with a very simple design of diagonal lines, intersecting the corners of the patches, with the line on each strip going in alternating directions to create a herringbone look on the finished quilt.
The quilted panels were then sewn together a piece of folded bias binding attached to the seam and then handsewn down to create a flat binding or sashing encasing the seams.
I then bound the edges of the quilt with bias binding, this is the most poorly executed aspect of the quilt, the binding kept roping and I was far too eager to finish to consider unpicking and redoing . Fortunately its something that doesn't bother me, although I'll have to keep mum from looking to closely.
I haven't yet washed this quilt, as I'm slightly afraid of what i'm going to have done mixing all those fabrics with out prewashing... however I'm gaining confidence having looked at photos of more and more post washed quilts online that if anything the shrinking and puckering will just enhance the quilt...
And so thats the back in business quilt, which appears to be the beginning of a new obsession. Its so exciting to be obsessed again!