New Quilt

A while ago I came across a photo of a quilt constructed from a block I thought was interesting – two equal diagonal cuts creating three pieces – two triangles and one six-sided, double pointed polygon. In the photo, the triangles and polygons were mixed and matched in the piecing of blocks.

The blocks appeared to be perhaps 15+” square (the quilt was a 3×3 array incorporating solid blocks, sashing and borders). A block that size is problematic for me because the widest embroidery hoop I can use for quilting is 250mm (a shade under 10″, my preferred hoop is 200mm square (~8″). So my plan was to downscale the blocks to a size I could manage. I created four 9.5″ squares from 10 different coordinating fabrics.

To cut these blocks into sections I realized I needed a template of some kind so I constructed one out of quilter’s template plastic.

9.5″ Block With Template

To keep the template securely positioned, I used double sided tape on the back which stuck it to the top layer of fabric (I was using a “stack ‘n whack” technique so the triangles were interchangeable).

Cutting The 9.5″ Block

The template plastic is not thick enough to use with a rotary cutter, however, the edge of the template provided me a reliable guide for positioning my ruler.

9.5″ Block Cut

With the 9.5″ blocks cut, I laid out the elements for stitching:

Cut Blocks

I chain pieced the blocks – sewing one triangle to one side of the polygon, pressing, then sewing the second triangle to the other side, pressing, then trimming the resulting blocks to 8.5″.

Pieced Blocks Trimmed to 8.5″ – Laid Out

I now have a 5×7 array on my floor. I have two interesting pieces of turquoise fabric that coordinate well with the fabrics in the blocks which I plan to use for sashing. I also have lots of dark purple grunge fabric (Moda) for a wide border.

What I haven’t decided is whether the polygons should all point in the same direction or whether they would be more interesting pointing in all four directions – at the moment they’re pointing the same way. I can also see from the photo that I have to revisit the block distribution because the pink bits are clustered. I have six extra blocks which I might substitute for a few of the pinks.

Lots of headway on this quilt today. I’ll pick it up again tomorrow.

Oh, and I finished the binding on the strip quilt yesterday, as well.

Strip Quilt – Almost Completed

The quilting is done – just the binding left to do. I’ve decided to bind the quilt with the same background fabric which will accent the colourful blocks and strengthen the off-centeredness of the design. A coloured binding would pull your eye away from the design elements – a binding in the same backing fabric will blend with the borders.

Finished Quilt Top

The quilting itself was a challenge because I’d chosen to quilt it as if it had been regular blocks but I was short a vertical sashing on one side and across the bottom which left me having to resize the quilting design at least once in each column – you can’t really see the different size blocks but it meant measuring each “block” as I was quilting to make sure I was using the right size design to fill it.

Also, I had difficulty with the quilt backing – I’d been careful to smooth it out when I wound it onto the 1×4 board, but there was a small uneven distribution of backing fabric toward the strip insert resulting in backing overlaps within a couple of blocks which I didn’t discover until after they’d been quilted, which meant I had to unstitch those blocks, spray them with Best Press to shrink the fabric as much as possible, before rehooping the block and restitching it.

Finished Quilt Back

In the end the quilting worked out, the backing is laying flat, and the borders turned out balanced – in particular, I was able to start and stop the embroideries in the narrow border so they abut perfectly!

Tomorrow I’ll add the binding and the quilt will be finished.

Then on to the next one.

Quilt Back

Quilt back is also completed. I used the leftover bits to create four blocks like the ones on the top, and inserted uncut blocks of the original strips. With sashing I was able to get a 12″ strip to insert in the back. Now I’m ready to assemble the quilt – I’ll get that done later today. My next task is to create an embroidery design for quilting the quilt.

Quilt Back

The back looks wrinkled even though I’ve pressed it, but it will be taut once I’ve pinned the layers together and hooping each block to quilt it will tighten all the layers so the quilt will lay flat.

Quilt Top Done

Just finished applying the borders to the quilt panel to finish the quilt top. It does look the way I wanted it to – dense toward the upper left and more open on the right and bottom. The last column of blocks went quickly since there was much less piecing involved in constructing them.

Completed Quilt Top

However, I did have to go buy another 1/2m of background fabric in order to set up the 6.5″ wide border strips. Fortunately, I’ve found backing fabric in my stash so I don’t need more fabric for the back of the quilt. I do have enough leftover strips to piece a strip for the back but I don’t know what I’ll use to bind the quilt – I may use the pale grey Grunge (Moda) fabric rather than bring in another colour for the front. I’ll see what looks reasonable once I’ve done the quilting.

Final size approximately 48″ x 64″ – a good size for a lap quilt.

Borders Added

I added borders. Changes the look of the piece entirely – contains it (as borders do), but the borders also seem to change the colour focus in an interesting way. The narrow inner red frames the panel and the wider outer border allows the greys and greens to stand out somewhat more.

Quilt Top With Borders Added

I showed the panel to a friend last evening – someone who’s been a close friend for 60+ years! – she tells me the truth. She found something jarring in the panel but couldn’t identify precisely what. I think the problem resides with the pale pink solid Kona sections. They’re flat/dead in comparison with the other parts of the top.

Now, I could take those two parts out and replace them with something else, but given this quilt top is an improvisation, an opportunity to explore and learn, I’m going to carry on. I can do quite a bit to change the texture of those pale pink areas with quilting, particularly if I use a contrasting thread and a more dense quilting embroidery than I was originally planning on using. It would fill up those pale empty areas and provide flow to the other parts of the panel.

So stay turned to see how things progress. Next step is to set up a back panel – it will need an insert as usual to make the fabric wide enough. Not sure what to do – I’m thinking about carrying on with large pieces assembled into a strip using these same fabrics.

Quilt Top Assembled

Instead of two shorter rows (one on top and one on bottom), this addition turned into a single longer piece I decided to add to one end. For some reason I can’t articulate, that addition feels like the “top” – almost where a pillow would go had this been a twin size quilt. Instead, it will be a largish lap quilt or throw. It still needs a border, maybe it will want a very narrow inner border – not sure yet.

Quilt Top Panel Assembled

Now I need to walk around this for a bit, at the same time I need to go through my fabric stash to find a fabric that could work as a narrow inner accent border, and something for the wider outer border.

And I guess I should be thinking about a name for the quilt – no idea what it might be.

Finally Back At The Quilt

Just added another two sections to this quilt improvisation. It’s now close to a square – in the ballpark for width and still needing another 12″-15″ in length; I’m thinking I’ll add two narrow strips – one to the top edge and one to the bottom.

The Growing Quilt – now a 42″ x 45″ panel

My goals here are 1) to use up leftover fabric from the previous quilt so I don’t have to try to find room in my fabric storage for it, and 2) to set up a new quilt for a class (Slash ‘n Insert Quilt) I hope to be teaching in a couple of weeks.

What I’m trying to construct is a modern quilt based on large sections of slashed fabric with a few prominent insertions rather than a meticulously pieced panel. Before I started I thought this would go quickly – wrong! The deciding where to cut and whether/how to align elements after cutting is proving more time consuming than I anticipated. That’s why I avoided working on this for nearly 10 days! Anyway, back at it finally and closer to a quilt top than I was yesterday.

Hoping to make time in the next few days to add strips to the top and bottom edges of this panel. Then I intend adding a 4″ (or so) border. By next weekend, I would like to have pieced a back and created the sandwich. I now need to start thinking about what kind of embroidery I need to quilt this – likely an edge-to-edge design of some kind.