My First QuiltTuesday, March 10, 2015
I made a quilt! It took a long time, at one point (or rather a few points) I thought I would never finish it, but I did - I made a quilt! And, er, yes, it is only a cot size quilt, but still!
The idea to make this quilt came about a good while ago, over 9 months ago pretty much as I decided to attempt to make a quilt as a gift for a really good friend of mine who was due to have her first baby in January. I thought I would have LOADS of time, especially considering how small a quilt I was planning on making. But I didn't anticipate a few things.
Firstly, she told me that her nursery theme was going to be 'Jungle' - so I set about finding suitable Jungle Animal themed fabric. Wow, a lot harder than it sounds! Lots and lots of safari animals in quilting cotton, not so much jungle. In the end, after much hair pulling out, I decided that I probably didn't need to be 100% accurate with the fabric, and when I came across ABC Menagerie - Tossed Animals in Sky I decided it was the one to go with. I bought about 1.5m of that fabric with the intentions of making it the back of the quilt and then attempted to buy semi-matching animal themed fabrics to piece together for the front of the quilt.
Pretty much all of the fabric was bought from The Village Haberdashery and I just wanted to take the opportunity to say how much I love that shop. They are always SUPER speedy with their postage (which is a very reasonable £2.75, even to Northern Ireland - thank you for not discriminating against us Norn Iron folk and charging us extra!!) and their customer service was second to none. I emailed to ask if they could pick out a suitably matching green shade in the Kona Solids which would go with the alligator in the Menagerie fabric and they came back straight away advising me that Lime was the way to go. I was not disappointed with their suggestion. I didn't ask them about the purple/lilac colour that I bought but thankfully managed to pick one that was pretty spot-on...phew!
Next I had to decide what pattern I was going to make. I wanted it to be pretty simple, but I wasn't keen on a lot of the patterns I was finding. In the end I settled to make half-square triangles (HSTs) (using this tutorial). I'm not sure why, but I decided to make them 3" wide. Argh - they were pretty small! The smaller you make the squares, the more squares you have to make! I felt like I was cutting FOREVER!!! Once I had made all the HSTs I could bare, I had to decide what pattern to sew them into. Wow - who knew how versatile HSTs were?! I decided to ask Instagram for advice:
E and D were the clear favourites, and I have always had a desire to make a chevron quilt, so that decided it for me! Thanks guys!
Next task - chain piecing the squares together. This wasn't too arduous and I decided not to be too precious about matching the corners, which helped speed things up. But saying that, my matching skills weren't all that bad thankfully. I did use a walking foot to help out.
During the course of putting the quilt together I was a bit nervous that I wasn't liking it as much as I thought I would and I felt that it was a little bit insipid. But I persevered.
The quilt lay half done for a number of weeks and my friend's due date loomed closer and closer. December arrived and I realised I had better get my skates on! Trouble was I had to decide what border to use and what fabric to bind the quilt with. After much deliberation with my scraps I went for ABC Menagerie in Bubble Dot in Turquoise and Lime Kona Solid for the binding. The only trouble was that by this point, the Village Haberdashery had sold out of the Turquoise - and it took a LOT of searching to find someone in the UK that had any of it!! Finally I managed to track it down and get it ordered.
Once I got the border on the patchwork I was so pleased - I really felt it took it from a bit bland and boring, to really rather cute! That spurred me on to get the quilt finished and I managed to power through the pin basting, machine quilting and binding in a couple of weeks.
A few years a go I got the Block of the Month Craftsy class by Amy Gibson - which is a FREE class that takes you through all the basics of patchwork and quilting. Although I never ended up making the quilt from the class (I may still, it's a really lovely quilt!) I did refer to it a number of times when making this quilt. It is full of loads of really helpful tips and tricks to make quilting easier. And I'm very much a visual learner, so being able to actually watch someone talk you through a step is brilliant. I used her method of sewing on the binding as well (machine sewing it to the back, folding it over and hand sewing to the front) and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.
Actually, my husband was pretty impressed with my little quilt as well, saying how professional it looked (especially the binding) and he may have even suggested that we should keep it for our own wee baby!!! As much as I was tempted with that idea, my conscience won out and my friend was presented with the quilt a couple of weeks after the arrival of Baby Hugh. She was absolutely delighted with the quilt and so touched at the personal gift.
She has been using it to make his rocker extra cosy and also for 'tummy time' and has been sending me lots of photos of the quilt in 'action'. Unfortunately in ever photo the back of the quilt is facing up - and any time she talks about the quilt she goes on about all the crazy animals and never mentions the chevron patchwork. I don't think she actually realises that the chevron is the TOP of the quilt, and where all the hard work is! Doh. I guess that's the risk you take when you sew something for someone who doesn't sew themselves. But it doesn't really matter if she loves the quilt regardless!
Anyway, even though this quilt seemed to take me forever and a day to sew I have decided that my little baby needs his or her own quilt and this weekend started cutting out the pieces. Sensibly the pieces (not HSTs this time!) are rather bigger, so I'm hoping it should come together a lot faster - watch this space...