Hello all! I am writing to you from a New Place. Or rather, an old place, but one I haven’t lived in for a while. I moved up to Wellington this weekend, for more-or-less permanent, and I’m back at my parents’ house over the summer, then will go flatting in the new year. I’m apparently adjusting to it pretty quickly, because every time I run into someone I haven’t seen yet I get surprised they don’t know I’m here.
This is a thing that I made in Dunedin. It is specifically a thing that I had to make before leaving Dunedin, as it was a gift for some friends down there. This was partially because they’ve given me a lot of support over the years I’ve been down there, and I wanted to thank them for that, partially because they’re expecting a baby shortly, and partially because the last quilt I made took about ten years and I needed a deadline so I’d actually finish the thing. (This is not an exaggeration – I started it at probably about age 8 or 10, as my mum is a quilter and tried to get all of us into it, but I only finished it two years ago, at 20.)
I rather enjoyed making this! I have to say the deadline was important, and it would not be a finished project without one (there are so many steps! It’s so easy to put down a project like this between blocks, or at the point where you realise you need new fabric for the border, or the backing, or actually doing the quilting is too scary…) But I am a huge fan of saturated colours, so I loved pairing up so many of them in this, and I’ve been admiring quilts with strong colours paired with white for a while. I love the contrast there. Some of the blocks I like more than others – I took close up photos of every single one for myself, since I’m not keeping the quilt, but I’ll only post a few – I assume you don’t need to see them.
In saying that, it’s really hard to choose my favourites… here’s a couple.
Clearly, my style in quilting is scrap quilts, the kind you go nuts on as many types of fabrics as you can find, not the type where you buy four fabrics that go together perfectly and make a whole quilt out of them. I have embraced this. I do find those quilts attractive, but I think I’d get bored if I tried to make one – this is way more fun.
For the blocks, I loosely used this tutorial, choosing my own size (based entirely on the fact that my quilting ruler is two inches wide, so that was the easiest size for the squares) and only doing one size of star. I chose fabrics entirely on what I felt like at the time, and what I thought would go together, although towards the end I laid out all the blocks I had so far and called for advice from friends on which colours were missing. And then my flatmate and I spent a long evening staring at it and moving blocks around until the thing looked balanced, and even longer working out what colours I could add when I realised after sewing it up that I wanted to add another row to fix the proportions (the extra row is on the left – these are probably my two least favourite blocks, one’s kinda boring and the other’s too busy, but they work for the colours, so it’s ok).
I completely failed to take photos of the construction or the back. By the time I realised this, my camera was packed away somewhere in the midst of all my stuff, and the batteries were packed somewhere else (I think I know where the camera is, but I genuinely have no idea about the batteries) and it just wasn’t going to happen. It’s not all that exciting anyway. I didn’t do the standard quilt sandwich with batting in the middle, because my machine has neither a walking foot nor a freehand quilting foot, so I didn’t want to test it on too much thickness. Instead, I backed it with navy polar fleece, and put a white cotton fabric in between to stop the seam allowances showing up as much against the dark fabric. The quilting is just straight lines of stitching in the ditch, but I used yellow bobbin thread to give a little visual interest on the back.
One thing this quilt taught me – I need to get better at sewing precisely. This is definitely not a skill of mine. I managed to fix it somehow, but before the blocks were sewn together they were quite clearly not the same sizes – the white ones were pretty good, but the stars were all over the place. It becomes so much more obvious on small things and small seam allowances!