When I started attending craft shows, I would admire the work and creativity that people had put into their handmade quilts. Some I would just love, while others that looked like they had had every quilting technique thrown at them left me with a whopping big WTF expression on my face.
For many years I would admire, but never aspired to make my own quilts. It is just another “craft” that I don’t need to get involved in because it comes with too many ‘accessories’, and to have the quilt professionally quilted is just way out of my budget.
A couple of years ago, Monica Poole released a few quilt designs that use a ‘quilt as you go’ technique which I have become fascinated by. I have bought two of the patterns for that day when I will have ‘time’ to sit down and make them. They don’t require me to buy any new equipment or special templates! WOO!
In the meantime, though, I found a pattern that I just had to try out. It appeared in Patchwork & Stitching Magazine (Vol 11 No 2 – 2010 Annual), and jumped out at me as an easy project to cut my quilting teeth on. It isn’t a “Quilt as You Go” project, but it’s also not a large project. It’s called “Bright and Breezy”, and it is a quilted table runner. The example in the magazine was bright springtime colours of yellow, pink, red and green. These are NOT my colours.
I thought that in the right colours, it would be a great gift for my parents for Christmas. Ambitious, much?
First thing I had to do was decide on a colour scheme. Thankfully this was the easiest part of the whole project. They have a Kingfisher blue feature wall in their dining/kitchen area. So teaming that with a brown and off white pallette, I think it came together really nicely.
This pattern called for a lot of fat eighths, which are not that readily available in Australia, so I bought 30cm to cover myself. This ended up being WAY too much fabric. Next time I will make paper templates of the pieces that need to be cut so I don’t have a bunch of wasted fabric. Thankfully I was able to make use of some of it as the backing.
Following the instructions, I cut and placed, pieced and pressed. I was ever so careful with the 1/4 inch seams (thankful that my machine has a 1/4 inch piecing foot), and worked my way through all the pieces. I was surprised at just how easy it was.
Because I had so much fabric left over from the front pieces, rather than buying another piece for the backing, I pieced three together, that reflected the three sections of the front. Matching the seams front to back was a bit tricky. It’s not perfect, but then, I’m not entering it into a show.
Working the actual ‘quilting’ part was easy. I decided to stitch in the ditch rather than the 1/4 inch away from it as per the pattern, as I thought that in this case, it would take away from the materials that I’d chosen.
The binding wasn’t difficult, but mitred corners are fiddly and a little tricky. And let’s not forget the endless hand stitching to finish it all off!
I think it came out beautifully, and the best bit is, my parents just loved it. It now lives on their dining room table (as was my hopeful intention).