My favourite quilt is usually either the one I'm currently working on, or the one I've most recently finished. So I think because I'm really happy with the way it turned out, my favourite quilt right now is the quilt I just completed, that I made for my Grandmother.
Tell us about your favorite quilt. When did you make it? What pattern did you use? What fabrics?
This was the third quilt top I'd attempted. I wanted to make something for my Grandmother to thank her for buying me a sewing machine and opening up a whole new world of wonder to me.
I started with the beautiful 'Poetica' collection from Art Gallery Fabrics and vague recollections of a video I'd watched on a disappearing nine-patch block (where you sew nine squares together 3x3 and then cut it into quarters to make four, more complex-looking blocks). After playing around with layouts I realised that it needed something to break up the riot of colour and pattern so I decided to constrain the disappearing nine-patch blocks to a series of four panels, with a white sashing to contain the chaos.
What memories or people does the quilt make you think of?
It always makes me think of my Grandmother. I feel like the beautiful bright colours embody her playful spirit and the balance between classic and modern also reminds me of her.
There's also some not-so-great memories, though. I originally quilted all the borders and sashings and one of the panels in a rush one night to try and be able gift it to her for Christmas but looking again at it the next morning I knew it was all wrong. The thread colours were too in your face, highlighting my inexperienced stitches, and there'd been tension problems with my machine that I hadn't even noticed in my rush to finish. I was devastated and actually couldn't even look at the quilt for a while.
It took me a year and a half but I finally managed to unpick all the original quilting stitches, ready to start again.
|The last few stitches to be removed. Pink thread?! What on earth was I thinking!|
What do you like best about the quilt?
When I'd finished the quilting and laid the quilt out on my husband's pool table waiting to be bound, I noticed that every time my 13 year old daughter walked past it she couldn't help but run her hands along it, feeling the texture. It was such a satisfying feeling watching her not be able to resist touching it. I think that's my ultimate goal in making quilts. I want people to see them and immediately want to touch them.
How did you grow as a quilter while making it?
It was my first time not completely following a specified pattern, and I learned a great deal while making it by having to kind of improvise as I went. I even made up a design wall because of this quilt, which has been so very useful ever since!
The back of the quilt had a strip of my first ever attempt at improv piecing, too which was loads of fun and made me feel like a kid making a collage.
And in the end, I'm glad I ended up quilting this top a year and a half after I'd pieced it. I was able to put everything I'd learned in that time to good use and create a beautiful quilting design that didn't distract from the beauty of the fabrics. I'd never actually tried any of the quilting designs I used before, so as usual I was learning as I go.
If you could make this quilt again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
I'm not fond of making the same thing twice, so if I made a disappearing nine-patch quilt again everything would be different, from the fabric to the placement, to the quilting.
If I could go back in time to when I originally made the quilt and do something differently though, I'd definitely not rush my first attempt at quilting it, as well as making sure my thread choices worked before using them on the quilt itself.
Where is the quilt now?
Hopefully over my Grandmother's legs keeping her warm and cozy!
Head on over to Sew Mama Sew each day this month to check out other quilters' lovely favourites, too.