It’s Wednesday but only just. It’s evening here in the UK, a lot later than I usually post my “WIPs on Wednesday”. I’ve had a busy couple of days as you will see, and I’ve been struggling to find time to write this.
Today you’re getting the story of just one WIP in particular.
The quilt for my new niece is now finished!
It started as a pile of fabric:
I was inspired by a load of quilts that I found all over the internet and pinned to one of my boards on Pintrest so that I wouldn’t forget them.
This is the Rainbow Stack of Coins quilt that I made for my first niece born last year:
that I have blogged about here. My sister-in-law told me at Xmas that my nine month old niece tucks a little bit of it under chin every night because the fleece backing is so soft. Ahhh.
I wanted to make another bright and colourful quilt that would still be useful as my newest niece (my sister’s child) grows up and hopefully be a much-loved lap quilt when she is an adult. I didn’t want to make an identical one because, well, where’s the fun in that?
I liked this one by Spotted Stone Studio on Flickr, but I’m not ready to curve my piecing yet.
I’d seen this rail fence quilt on Ludlow Quilt and Sew
and wanted to do a huge version of the blocks in rainbow colours (just for a change). I also spotted this one on flickr:
and this basketweave pattern (on a website selling wooden floors, but we can’t be fussy about where inspiration comes from, can we?)
So I drew out a plan:
and did some calculating. For this six block basketweave quilt, with each block 18 by 18 inches (the quilt would have been 3 ft by 4 1/2 ft which is a perfect size for a baby/lap quilt in my opinion), I worked out that the stripes would be just over an inch wide.
Waaaay too fiddly! I probably will recycle this design for a king-sized bed quilt at some point. The quilt could be just 4 blocks, each block can be 36 to 40 inches on each side, I’ll have fewer stripes so that each one is a lot wider.
Then I looked at some of my favourite zigzag quilts, like this one from Cluck Cluck Sew:
and realised that this one:
from Bee Squared doesn’t have any half-square triangles!!! I’m really nervous about machine-stitching on the bias, which is pretty much all you do when using HSTs.
Bee Squared has retired from blogging recently but has left her blog intact. She has a tutorial on how to make a zigzag quilt with half squares, but I didn’t notice it until I was putting together this post (d’oh!). Just seeing a completed quilt top using half squares instead of half triangles was enough (told you before, I am genius!) to spark the plan in my head.
Here is the initial sketch, as you can see it all got a little confusing at the beginning:
I also drew out a final plan with numbered fabrics (you try cutting a gazillion different fabrics into 2 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch rectangles) and a cutting list before I realised that I could cheat a little with the cutting. Basically exactly what Bee’s tutorial would have shown me to do, if I’d slowed down and noticed it.
So I cut and I sewed and I ironed and I sewed some more and after about 12 hours (from getting the iron out before cutting, to taking this outside to photograph) this is what I had:
It was different working with tiny little pieces compared to the huge 8 by 10 inch pieces that I’d used for the previous quilt, my daughter’s quilt :
I then just (just!) needed to back it (with brushed cotton so it will be soft), quilt and bind it.
I made the binding myself because I already had the fabric I wanted to use. I found this tutorial over on Modern Quilt Love, which made it look really easy. This was the only tutorial I could find that made me brave enough to make my own binding. I’m glad I did, it came out exactly how I wanted it too and didn’t cost me any money because I already had the fabric (yes, I know, technically it cost me whatever I had paid for the fabric in the first place, but the point is I didn’t have to spend any extra money to get the binding I wanted, which was good because I’m broke at the moment).
Just to prove I made the binding myself, here it is at the just-been-cut-into-one-long-strip-and-needs-folding-and-ironing stage:
I used two half metres of spotty fabric, cut it into 2 inch strips (because that’s the widest ruler I have) and got 19 metres!!! The quilt only took about 8 metres, so I have well over 10 metres of very cool home-made bias binding left now :-)
This tutorial by Bee Squared was a life saver.
You know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? This is that picture from Bee’s tutorial:
Oh, and here’s the finished quilt in all its glory:
I couldn’t stop looking at it all day yesterday after I’d finished it. This (as yet unnamed) quilt took six months of thinking about, a fortnight of design and planning (including my false start with the unworkable thin stripes on my original design), and 24 hours over 2 weeks to cut, stitch, quilt, bind and finish.
It’s now drying on the radiator. I always wash my quilts before I give them to their new owners. That way I can be confident about how they survive in the washing machine (this is a baby quilt after all, and is going to have something spilt on it at some point) and I can also make sure that the finished quilt is clean of all evidence of pricked fingers (pins attack me at every opportunity, just call me Claire-the-human-pin-cushion).
Quick snap taken at 10pm this evening of the new quilt drying, along with some of my children’s soft toys that I discovered during my recent clear out of the loft. Very dusty, they needed a trip through the washing machine too.
Not perfect, but the most ambitious quilt I have ever tried.
Very, very proud Claire Bear
More WIPs here
More quilts here