Thursday, 6 February 2014


That teaser image last post was the beginnings of a quilt that I have since done much more work on.

laying the wee blocks out in order

It's a chevron quilt for my little brother!
I saw a tutorial on pinterest for it and remembered it when I was thinking of doing something with a bundle of pre-cut strips my mum sent me, but when I went to look for it, I couldn't find it. A quick search turned up this tutorial, which describes exactly the same thing, so that was good! I was originally going to do a jelly roll race quilt but decided to do something a little more interesting, and I'm glad I did.

sewing the wee blocks together into rows

This quilt came together really fast, but the pace was exhausting. I think it would be easier, less stressful, to do a quilt block-by-block and then join them with sashing. Having these great big long strips to sew in and doing it pretty much in one session was tiring.

setting all the seams took longer than pressing the strips all nice

I don't know what I would recommend to beginners - this came together very fast, but it was a lot of very long seams and a long time in front of the sewing machine (a far cry from my previous projects - breaks for ironing and turning right-side out, and almost instant gratification as you finished significant steps). A quilt with blocks, especially different ones with more involved piecing, would give more of a continual sense of accomplishment as you finished each one and got to stack them up all neatly for visible progress. You'd be concentrating on each individual block and not on the quilt as a whole, so I think as you worked on the blocks, you'd be pleasantly surprised at how quickly it was coming together, but at the same time, at a more relaxed pace.

Oh and another thing - because of the whole 'no triangles' thing, once you square up the top, bottom and sides, those edges are all on the bias. In the tutorial it doesn't really matter for her because she quilted it just like that, but if you're adding borders it could be a pain.
  I asked on Craftster's quilting questions board how best to go about it, and got some great advice, which I (kind of) followed. I didn't really measure the quilt, I kind of just laid the fabric on top of it and marked and cut it to that length, but I did use a LOT of pins, and made sure to have the zigzags next to the feed dogs. It worked really well!

I should really press this

The border is really quite large and kind of makes the stripes look like they're swimming in the grey, not the effect I wanted, but hopefully once it's all quilted up and the rainbow binding put on, it'll tie the whole thing together nicely. I needed the borders to be quite large because I underestimated how big the chevron bit would be, and I wanted this quilt to be a usable size. I think it's a tiny bit smaller than a double, and that works just fine for a five-year-old.

Cinnakin kept walking all over it

Originally the borders were going to be two short, two long. Then they were going to be mitred. Then I settled on squares in the corners - easier than the second option and looks better than the first.
  I think I'll quilt this in lines along the zigzags, and then in rainbow colours, lines along the borders. I still need to get the backing done too.

One thing I am most definitely not pleased about, is the fabric I used. The batiks were fine, lovely in fact, but that grey... I think a shade darker and I'd've been happier with the colour, which looks rather flat, I think, but that's not my main problem.
  It's Prima Homespun cotton from Spotlight, and it has stretch. It's sold in the quilting section, presumably for quilting, and is their only range of solids that isn't shot cotton or hideously expensive organic stuff. And it's stretchy. Not ridiculously stretchy, but noticeably stretchy.

That'd be something to consider as a beginner quilter; use fabrics that are all from the same range in your first quilt. That way you won't have to deal with slightly different weights, and you definitely wouldn't have the nightmare of different amounts of stretch.
  Perhaps I should have done a charm-pack baby quilt like a sensible person, but I really did want to just jump right in and make a proper bed-size one that would actually be used. I certainly learned some things, and I bet that when I get around to quilting it, I'll learn a few more!

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