I finished this quilt just in time for the wedding shower that it is being gifted at tonight. And… with the finish of this quilt, it confirms to me that I need to rethink how I create/design/plan the quilts I make.
Before listing my lessons learned, first the details of the quilt.
I took inspiration for the quilt design from the grid fabric used in the backing. I only had a yard of the grid fabric and hoped to find more so I could use it for the entire backing, but I had no luck finding more (Three quilting/flickr friends and my husband looked in four states and 12 different Jo-Ann stores for it. The fabric was bought about a year ago and has since been discontinued, or so we learned at the last Jo-Ann store that was checked).
I couldn’t make up my mind on how to build my blocks, but with the help of flickr friends, I decided that alternating how the floral and brown fabric framed the internal square would work the best.
Each block on the front measures ~12″ square and the sashing is 3″ (both finished measurements). It measures about 48″ x 78″ (pre-washing; I’m too lazy to measure again). For the length of the quilt, I think it should have been a little wider.
I miscalculated how many block centers I would need for the front, so I used the extra centers on the back. I like how the back turned out. I wish it was more off-center, but mostly-center can work too.
I did straight line quilting with a khaki-ish thread so as to work with both the off-white sashing and mostly dark brown backing. I quilted about a quarter inch from the each edge of the sashing and also quilted inside each of the block centers.
And now, lessons learned and observations…
- The contrast between the “snow” sashing and the “chocolate” brown in the blocks and binding is really outside of my comfort zone. Not sure that I like how it works here.
- I think this quilt would have looked better sans sashing. However, I used just about all of the floral fabric that I had, so I couldn’t make any more of these blocks for the front. If I coulda, I woulda.
- I am not yet ready to tackle large swaths of solid fabric for a backing especially when using a contrasting thread for the quilting. Solids hide nothing. My current skill set needs pattern in the backing fabric to camouflage any issues that may arise. Also, I’m usually too lazy to bury my quilting threads and just snip them after pulling through to the back and tying them off. The clipped threads are very noticeable on this quilt and I think it looks sloppy. Whoops.
- My straight-line quilt is not straight in the least. Even more sloppy looking.
- I think I’ve tried straight-line quilting enough to make me realize that I much prefer free motion quilting (I’m still in meandering/stipple land; one day soon I’ll venture out into other designs). I enjoy the FMQ process more and also prefer how a FMQ’d washed quilt looks.
- I keep making quilts using my not-favorite fabric. Not that I don’t like the fabric, but I don’t love it. I think that’s part of the reason why I’m feeling so meh with my quilting results lately. I need to start using fabric that I love. How else am I going to make a quilt that I love?
- I need to make sure I buy enough fabric to make the quilt I want to make. Going on fruitless searches for a discontinued fabric is not generally how I like to spend my time. This idea really sank in when I thought about the number of fabric collections/groupings that I have in my stash. I hope to turn most of those FQ bundles, precuts and other groupings into quilts one day. What happens when “one day” is three years from now and I can no longer find any yardage of Wonderland? Since I don’t want to go the route of a mostly solid back, I imagine that I would be an unhappy camper at that point. So, what have I been doing this last week? I’ve been buying yardage of prints from the older-ish collections that I have and plan to turn into quilts. Think Wonderland, Deer Valley, Oz, Plume, 1974, Hope Valley, Hunky Dory, FreshCut, Red Letter Day. Yummy mail days, for sure.
- I don’t really mind basting my quilts (I pin baste with masking tape on our tiled master bathroom floor). I read/hear how most people hate this step. I almost enjoy it; almost. I find it a challenge trying to get the backing, batting and top nice and flat and straight. Binding is the step I enjoy the least.
Ok, I think that’s it for this one. I’m glad this quilt is going off to live with a soon-to-be married couple. Hopefully they’ll do some cuddling under it soon!