All done bar the crinkling.

The Things That Matter quilt is pieced, backed, trimmed, quilted, bound and labelled. The girl secured her Gold Mathletics award whilst I was sewing the label on today and promptly reminded me that I was in breach of our agreement. So the quilt was handed over, and tomorrow I shall sneakily wash and dry it while she’s at school. It’s looking very one-dimensional at present and really needs that lived in, loved, and laundered crinkle. So I shall be washing it at a slightly higher temperature than I feel comfortable with, and will tumble it regardless of how much of a good drying day it might be outside. What’s needed here is a bit of shrinkage.

What follows is a whistlestop tour of its production. I started at the end of January, if memory serves me right, and it’s all but done today 17th March.

Making the top. I used 34 fabrics for the piecing, about six of which were in my stash, the remainder were shiny new fat quarters. Yes, I probably have enough left to make a cot size quilt in stripes. Yes, you surely could do it with rather fewer fabrics. I followed the quiltingdad wonky log cabin tutorial and it worked pretty well for me.

WP_003387Sashing presented a couple of issues for me. Firstly, I made a rooky geometry error and ended up with half my strips being too short. Luckily the shop had a scant metre of fabric left on the bolt and I could buy a rescue from my own stupidity. Secondly, once each 12.5” square was sashed, it become too big to trim to size using my square ruler. So there was a lot of squaring and swearing at the cutting mat on the kitchen table as I wore grooves into the cutting mat and wore out the blade on my rotary cutter.

WP_003463 (1)Making the wadding “sandwich” and tacking all three layers together took much, much longer than I’d expected. Sewing it to the living room rug didn’t help. The effort paid off though. My wadding is bamboo, as I think natural fibres are safer for children’s bedding. The backing fabric, chosen by Small Girl, is Robert Kaufman Spot On Extra Wide in Aqua, which had the glorious advantage of being wide enough for me to cut the whole piece sideways. Thanks go to my parents who generously paid for wadding and fabric, and to my mother’s Good Housekeeping Encyclopaedia of Needlecrafts which guided me through the long process of getting the three layers ready to quilt, and the hand-quilting itself. I used an entire small reel of tacking thread before I even started quilting.

Quilting was by hand, and very minimal. The wadding specified stitching no further apart than 8”, I quilted the centre square of each panel, a larger square a couple of rounds out, and up and down the entire grid of sashing. There was enough going on in the quilt-top without adding in a lot of ambitious machine quilting. I used Guterman Sulky thread, in various shades of pink and cream.

WP_003510Binding was more straightforward than I’d anticipated. I don’t have a link for a tutorial for making the binding but there are plenty out there. I used left over 2.5” and 3” fabric strips, trimmed them to 2.25” and made double-fold binding. The strips were cut on the straight grain and I joined them diagonally to reduce bulk and stress. Then I folded the 5.5metres of pink ribbon in half lengthwise, right sides out, and pressed it. Finally I rolled it up, which was a mistake (the binding twisted as I worked it). I found a great video on ShinyHappyWorld for binding the quilt and followed it to the letter. I have mitred corners!

WP_003521Labelling was fun. I love the look of the ticker tape quilts, where edges are left unfinished, and wanted to use this idea for my labels. Being somewhat of a control freak cautious by nature, my version of “unfinished” turned out to be a machine embroidered border with an outer pinked edge, and back-stitching being used to secure the labels. On the right hand top corner is a rogue fairy, and who doesn’t need a rogue fairy under their quilt to encourage sweet dreams? This was my tiny gesture towards a pieced back. The label proper is on the bottom left hand corner. The WP_003522quote is from Debi Gilori’s book “No Matter What”. I’m also going to attach a “Stitched with Love” label that I won over at GrosgrainGreen ‘s Sew Grateful giveaway, but I need to wash the quilt before I can tell where to sew that one.

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Blinding binding & mighty mitres

I’m on the home stretch with the Things that Matter quilt. On Friday and Saturday I made the “blinding” as B calls it, and machine stitched one side of it to the quilt. The present job, in between spells in the sun, is folding it over and hand-stitching the other side. I plan to have it finished, labelled, washed and dried in time for Friday, which is when I think B will get her Mathletics Gold award. If not, I’ll have an extra few days to do a few more random bits of quilting. Anyway, full washup post to follow!

Patchwork, Hell freezing over & Things That Matter

I’ve never had any great plans to do patchwork or applique beyond the cushion covers I made in my teens, and the applique quilt that I hand stitched from a kit bought in Tahiti while my sister lived there. I’m truly blessed with with a great friend who makes quilts that are as beautiful and wonderful as she is. She has marked pretty much every much life-changing event in my adult life with a stunning quilt, for which I shall always be off-the-scale grateful. I knit and crochet blankets, and really that should be enough bed coverings in one house, although my blankets always end up in the front room being snuggled under or turned into dens and dolly slides. Anyway I was pretty sure that it would be a cold day in Hell before I started cutting perfectly good fabric into small pieces then sewing them back together again.

Today, I’d finished the big grocery trek around town and was enjoying a coffee, a brownie and the new BurdaStyle magazine. I’d made my mental list of what I fancied making and was skimming through the back pages when I was stopped short by a patchwork quilt. It looked straightforward enough for a novice to sew. I thought of how much I miss seeing a handmade quilt on Small Girl’s bed. I thought of all the lovely fat quarters of quilting fabric that I’d used to make Barbie cloaks, party bags and her Pirate Zoe doll. I thought of all the things that matter to her, and of how nice it would be to capture these loves in a quilt to keep her warm and inspired. I remembered that my new sewing machine is capable of quilting. I paid the bill and set off into the rain, bound for the little fabric shop with the random opening hours. If they were open, it would be a sign, right?

quiltThey were open. I came out with a cutting mat, a rotary cutter and an array of fat quarters encompassing space, shoes, hearts, music, pirates, mermaids, frocks, sewing, pink, faeries, Christmas, flowers, fish, beach houses, bikes, campervans… I have a few pieces left over from other projects, and there are plenty of other quilting retailers. It would be nice to find fabric with Barbie or Hello Kitty, cakes or cookies, princesses and girl musketeers. I’m sure they must be out there.

Wish me luck, I’m going in.