The Things that matter quilt – 1 getting started

I’m making a quilt for Small Girl. I haven’t made a patchwork quilt before and haven’t done any patchwork in about 30 years, so this will be a learning curve for me. Ever generous, I shall share the learning experience here. The design that I’m going to use is the Wonky Log Cabin Block – I figured I’m already ahead with a design that actively encourages a lack of precision. I’m following Quilt Dad‘s excellent instructions – his Fabric Suggestions post is here, preparation post here and sewing instructions here. I was going to do the simple strip pattern in the back of this month’s Burdastyle magazine, but I prefer the way you get more colours together in the wonky block.

Quilt Dad reckons on about 16-20 fat quarters to make a quilt that is 5 blocks x 5 blocks square (each block is 12 inches square). I might tweak the size a bit, so have a few extra FQs (ok, it’s the start of a new stash). The fabric is mainly from two local shops with a handful from the internet. I haven’t pre-washed but have steam-ironed. The internet fabrics are thinner than the others, and may need something on the back to minimise neighbouring pieces showing through. We shall see.

Kit-wise, I already had a large transparent ruler for dressmaking so have added a 12inch square ruler for sizing the blocks, a cutting mat, a patchwork foot for my sewing machine and a rotary cutter. The cutter was not straightforward, I bought a (relatively) inexpensive one, and it didn’t work at all well. A trip back to the shop and a new blade helped for a short while, then we were back to the cutter clunking and not cutting, not even through a single layer of fabric. I switched to the universally recommended 45mm Olfa, and presto, perfect cutting through multiple layers of fabric. Much better. Further along the line I shall need batting, backing, bias tape and some kind of quilting foot. Luckily that stage is at least two pay packets away.

Cutting the strips was not at all difficult, thanks to the clear instructions. You true the fabric layers on the mat, trim the selvedge, then cut the strips using the grid lines and ruler as a guide for the cutter. After some initial playing around I’m cutting most of the strips on the lengthwise grain as there’s less stretch in them that way. Some of the directional prints will need to be cut into both lengthwise and cross-wise strips to make the most of the pattern. I also had a great tip to start the cutter on the mat rather than the fabric, to ensure an edge-to-edge cut. Finally, I’m sorting the strips by width into labelled freezer bags as there’s never any guarantee of things staying undisturbed on a table here.

So that’s where I’m at. I have a few more FQs to cut whilst I wait for the patchwork foot to arrive. I’ll update again when the foot’s here and the first block is underway.


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