Ending 2020 with a Patchwork Rainbow

I’m happy to have my first Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt finished in the year I began making it – just! The monthly hunt though a box of scraps of the prescribed colour gave me a sense of making progress through the topsy-turvy year of 2020. The simple nine patch blocks fit together in a 10 x 12 layout measuring 60″ x 66″. The backing is an extra wide text print and I created the label in my usual fashion using a computer print out, light box and permanent marker.

I stitched two sides of the label into the binding and finished the project by hand stitching the remaining two edges to the quilt back. The binding fabric is from the Solstice range by Sally Kelly @sallykellyfabric . I felt I was committing a crime by cutting this beautiful fabric into binding strips but the rainbow of colours on a dark blue background make it just perfect for the quilt!

In the end I chose to echo quilt a gentle curve across the quilt following the flow of the patchwork pattern. The echoes are 2½” apart so the quilt drapes well and feels cuddly 🙂 I used three different colours of Aurifil 40wt threads – 2314 across the yellow & orange sections; 2520 across the red, purple & blue sections; and 2902 across the aqua & green sections.

My final quilt of 2020 🙂 It feels appropriate to have ended with a rainbow, symbol of hope in the Bible, and a natural phenomena which moves us to look up in wonder. Before Christmas I shared thoughts on Advent as a season of waiting. The sense of waiting continues with the transition from this year to the next bringing few tangible changes. This morning I read a reflection by Mark Meynell* which included the thought that there are two types of waiting: passive ‘rainy day’ waiting; and active ‘house-guest’ waiting. I’m going to make a conscious effort to make my ‘stay at home’ Tier 4 existence a time of active waiting. Not necessarily making quilts (although there’s bound to be some sewing room action!) but a time of expectant waiting. Instead of staring at the rain and wishing it would stop I intend to be preparing for when the sun breaks through a gap in the clouds and a rainbow arcs overhead.

Rather than wishing you ‘Happy New Year’ (which may sound hollow to some and wishful thinking to others) I will instead go back to the theme of Advent: a sure hope in the promise of everlasting light that can never be extinguished by the darkness. Two thousand years ago John wrote with confidence, ‘… the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining’. Jesus is the name of that light and He’s still shining! Amen

Allison

* Mark Meynell, Colossians & Philemon For You, The Good Book Company

A thousand piece rainbow quilt

I hope your Christmas has been a peaceful time, perhaps even an opportunity to embrace different ways of gathering and celebrating. Our Christmas moved on from Plan C to Plan D as our daughter and S-I-L were plunged into Tier 4 restrictions – no mixing of households, no travelling. We hoped to have my parents share Christmas Day with us, then we heard the new Covid strain was indeed ‘going viral’ and we too would be in Tier 4 as from Boxing Day. So we played it safe, keeping households apart, and celebrated at home just the three of us. We were so grateful for a live-streamed Church Service in the morning and access to family via the internet.

No guests this Christmas meant my intentions to tidy my sewing room and convert it into a guest room could be set aside. I did a bit of tidying and sorting after finishing the Dashing Stars quilt last weekend. The Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt was the obvious next project. The blocks were up on the design wall and slowly through the week I pieced the quilt top together. Some days I just didn’t have the heart for sewing, trying to absorb the increasingly severe restrictions being broadcast from Downing Street and the resulting changes to our plans just left my head too full.

But by Boxing Day the quilt top was complete. I spent upwards of half an hour pressing all the seams – what a job! The quilt top measures 60″ by 66″ and I calculate (well my calculator calculates!) there are 1,080 two inch squares! I’m calling the quilt ‘Thousand Piece Rainbow’. I had a two metre length of Michael Miller ‘Calligraphy’ extra-wide backing in my stash and plenty of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 wadding to make up the quilt sandwich. There was just enough space on the kitchen floor to centre the layers.

Next task will be pin basting. I will use my walking foot to stitch out a quilting design. I’m not yet decided on the actual pattern. Maybe a wavy grid to follow the wave of changing colour in the patchwork or a diamond grid to overlay the patchwork design… There’ll be plenty of time to ponder the choices while I’m basting.

The label is prepared and I’ve made the binding strip, I’m wondering if I can finish this years Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt before the end of the year? Are you challenging yourself for a final finish for 2020 or maybe doing the opposite by enjoying the opportunity to relax into sewing mode with no goals in mind?

This isn’t a Saturday Quilting Bring & Share post and I sure do have a LOT of blog reading to catch up on but here are a few links I’d like to share 🙂

Alyce has shared an encouraging post about free motion quilting and how to break through five common myths that could hold us back from using this skill to enhance our patchwork.

Jo Westfoot aka the Crafty Nomad has launched her on-line sewing school. Her in-person workshops are great so I’m sure her new easily accessible classes will be informative and a lot of fun. The latest course to be launched, ‘Confident & Joyful Free Motion Quilting‘ takes participants beyond the anxieties of starting free motion quilting with a series of four step-by-step tutorials designed to grow knowledge and skills.

And Jasmeen is offering free tutorials sharing her love of needle turn applique. She is extremely skilful and wonderfully calm. A bit of slow stitching may be just what’s needed as we wait for 2021 to shake off the troubles of 2020. The series of video and written tutorials begins on 1st January.

Thank you for following my blog posts through the past year. All things being equal Saturday Quilting Bring & Share should return on 2nd January. I might even sneak in another post before then if I make significant progress on the RSC quilt 🙂

Allison

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (235)

Welcome to Saturday Bring & Share. Bring along your project(s), relax and enjoy the news, inspiration and patchwork tales being shared by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Join in with everyone by leaving comments on this page and the pages you click to. Thank you!

I’ve spent the week overcoming my fear of fmq (see my last post for my tips) to quilt the bed runner I’m making for my parents. To finish the quilting I’ve switched back to the walking foot to stitch straight lines in the background sections. Once the stitching is finished I have a whole host of thread ends to bury – a job to do in front of the TV 🙂

Read more

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (233)

Using a walking foot and guide to quilt a spiral.

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share 🙂 I hope you can fit some creativity into your weekend. Bring along your projects(s) and share in the conversations and quilty goodness of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Use the links below to discover new techniques, find inspiration and enjoy what has been shared this past week.

I’ve been switching my creative time between the steep curve of learning how to use Adobe Illustrator and the rather smoother curves I’ve been quilting on my Wonky Windows scrap quilt. No surprises that the quilt is finished and the AI learning still has a long way to go!

A few weeks ago you may remember I made a spiral template? As the spiral is one of my favourite walking foot quilt designs I decided to take the fiddle out of re-drawing the centre of a spiral each time I come to quilt it by making a reusable template. Doh! Could I find my spiral template when I needed it? No! I could not! I still haven’t found it… but

Read more