Fussy cutting

I spent the Easter bank holidays working on a new quilt based on a pattern called ‘Bon Voyage’. The pattern attracted me because it was a chance to try out some new techniques and because it uses gorgeous French General fabrics. So far I’ve made the central panel.

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I usually avoid appliqué (or curves of any kind) because I find it quite difficult. But I enjoyed the concentration involved, and it’s satisfying to see the results of the slow painstaking work.

This pattern also gave me the opportunity to try fussy cutting, which is when the fabric is carefully cut to take account of its pattern. ‘Measure twice and cut once’ is definitely the rule to follow when fussy cutting. I like the fact that the balloon’s band and the floral border are from the same fabric, and I think the centred floral motifs and the ropes of the balloon are very effective.

If you want to see some extreme fussy cutting then Bruce Seeds’s kaleidoscopic quilts are worth a look. All his quilts are made from just one bolt of fabric and his blog provides a fascinating insight into how a particular print is transformed into something unrecognisable.

Quilts for twins

Here are two quilts I made for Harry and Arthur, my friend Bea’s new twins. I was a bit apprehensive about giving a quilt to a fellow quilter, but I wanted to give something that I had made with joy ( I had abandoned several knitted things with curses).

This first quilt is made with two charm packs of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons and is backed with what must be the most colourful print in the world (called Ribbon Stripe by Kaffe Fassett).

I quilted it with bright yellow embroidery thread which makes a nice contrast.

The second quilt is based on a design called Hidden Stars which appears in Pam and Nicky Lintott’s book Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts.

I like the fact that you can see the quilt in several ways, for example with the stars in the foreground, or with the larger squares floating on a white background behind the nine patch blocks.

Baptist Fan

This is a quilt made from a kit using thirties reproduction fabrics (30’s Playtime by Chloe’s Closet). The pattern, called ‘Matthew’, is from The Fat Quarter Baby Book by It’s Sew Emma.

I decided to quilt it with an all-over Baptist fan pattern which I felt would work well with the rigid geometric shapes. The design, also known as ‘Methodist fan’ and ‘Amish wave’ among other things, was popular towards the end of the 19th century, especially in quilts that were quilted by a group.

I really enjoyed quilting the fan pattern, as you can get into the flow of it. It’s drawn freehand starting from the edges and working inwards in a spiral, which means you can draw a bit, quilt it, and then draw some more (this blog post has some detailed instructions).

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I was worried that starting from the edges rather than the centre would mean it bunched up in the middle, and it is a bit bumpier in places than I would like, so next time I might mark the whole quilt and then start from the centre.

A cephalopodous quilt

I made this quilt because I wanted to showcase the fabric, part of Cotton + Steel’s Bluebird collection (here’s a quilt another quilter has made from the same range of fabrics).

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Because the focus was on the prints, I kept the design of the quilt quite simple (below are some alternative layouts I tried) and I quilted it with thick cotton thread.

The way the tentacles meander across the fabric reminds me a bit of this quilt made from Angolan fabrics.

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I love this quilt and it’s going to become my new everyday quilt. It’s especially cosy because the wadding, in a departure from the cotton wadding I usually use, is wool with a high loft (i.e. it’s squishy).

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Another 30s scrap quilt

This quilt arose after I decided, on a whim, to sew together some scraps (left over from the faceted jewels quilt) that had been cluttering up my sewing box. Most of the scraps were less than 2″ wide and I had debated throwing them away.

Once I had sewn together the scraps, I cut 20 4″ squares from the patchwork and brought them together with calico sashing. The quilt is backed with a Kaffe Fassett print.

I like the combination of order and randomness and the way that further patterns emerge along the diagonals.