Belated ‘Happy Christmas!’ to you! We have had a good time celebrating with family over the past few days and still have visits and family times to look forward to as we approach the new year. I hope you too have been able to form happy memories of Christmas 2019 and have plenty more good things coming your way over the rest of the holiday.
Secret Sewing revealed: Since Christmas Day is past and the quilt has been gifted and unwrapped I can now reveal the secret sewing I was working on through the earlier part of December: a quilt for our youngest son who likes the colour blue.
When he included ‘a blanket’ on his Christmas wish list what could I do but design and make him a cosy quilt? The design came to me fairly quickly. I’ve been wanting to experiment with curved piecing for months. Tucked away in my ruler draw was a 6″ Drunkards Path ruler set. I drafted a few design ideas using old-fashioned squared paper and pencils, hot-footed my way to my local quilt store and purchased the fabrics – ¾m cuts of five blue fabrics plus long quarter metre cuts of four fabrics for the curved blocks.
I enjoyed the whole process of designing, cutting out, piecing and – yes! – even the quilting of this project. The curved piecing wasn’t as awkward as I imagined it would be and the individual blocks actually pieced to the expected size and were pretty square.
The quilt needs to be warm as our student son is renting a romantically situated but decidedly chilly room at the top of a four storey Georgian house. So for the first time in my quilting career I worked with a double layer of wadding. The double thick layer of 50-50 cotton/bamboo was easy enough to baste and my machine stitched through all four layers of the quilt sandwich without any problem… Well! Apart from a bit of puckering/bagginess in a couple of places where the direction of the stitching lines changed. I may have been able to overcome this problem if I’d stopped halfway through quilting and re-basted the quilt but with there only a few days ’til Christmas I gritted my teeth carried on quilting and accepted the imperfections. The quilting lines are well spaced (about 2¼” apart) to make sure the quilt has a soft, cuddly feel.
The quilt was well received and hopefully will keep this student warm while he studies!
I will always be fascinated and inspired by traditional patchwork blocks, using them as the starting point for most of my quilt designs. As I said the starting point for this quilt were the 6″ Drunkards Path blocks. I played around with these blocks seeing how I could arrange a limited number of them across a quilt. The resulting arrangement has large areas of ‘negative space’ around the patchwork blocks. Mixing blocks with negative space is a key design element in the creation of a ‘modern quilt’. Sylvia Schaefer has recently published a book called ‘The Quilter’s Negative Space Handbook‘. The book was on my Christmas wish list and I was fortunate enough to be given a copy. It’s a great resource. Reading the book is helping me to clarify what I’m aiming to achieve with design ideas and also helping me to see the processes involved in the various design techniques she describes as she breaks them down into identifiable steps. As well as taking a step by step approach through negative space design techniques Sylvia also provides patterns to make her her example quilts. In the ‘Realizing Your Design’ section there is extended advice on colour and fabric choice, construction techniques and quilting design options.
Linking with Michelle for the Beauties Pageant. And how kind of Michelle to feature my ‘Modern Chains’ quilt in her ‘Pageant Highlights’ 🙂 – I felt proper chuffed when I saw that! Also linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Finished Friday.