Hello everyone, I have such a lot to tell you as last week I went to Cowslip Workshops for a sewing class with the lovely Irene Blanck.
But that will have to wait for another post: I have been promising my young protegees Miriam and Sophie that I would post about their first quilts, which they finished and I photographed last week, just before heading off to Cornwall.
So here they are, two fabulous first quilts, made to an amazingly high standard by two talented young women who take instruction brilliantly and have mastered so many new skills in a very short time. I have had great fun teaching then and it is rewarding to see them achieve and grow in confidence, both in their technical skills and their feeling for colour and fabric.
We started off in February, when they bought the layer cakes (photo towards the end of this post here) and they have come to me once a week, and done a bit of homework in between. Over the previous few months they had made a number of smaller projects, cushions and pouches, to get familiar with cutting and using a sewing machine. For the record here are some of the smaller items.
But this was to be their first quilt. Vital statistics then: Sophie chose to go bright and use Wing & Leaf by Wren & Friends, and Miriam was sophisticated with a classic palette of black and white with red accents: Volume II by Sweetwater, both collections from Moda. Here are their first sixteen-patch blocks:
This was a great pattern for beginners, from Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew (tutorial here). Amazingly I discovered today that Allison has recently posted here (end of April, just as we were finishing our quilts) about another version she had made of the same quilt - how spooky is that, possums? as Dame Edna would say.
The pieces are fairly large and there is variety in the four different blocks from a large one-patch to a sixteen-patch, a strippy four-patch and a square in a square, but there aren't too many seams to match. Cutting from layer cakes meant there was very little wastage, plus 10" squares are easier to manipulate for cutting than great hunks of yardage or even fat quarters.
Here's an indication of just how economically we were able to cut for the square in a square (pieces rearranged in the second picture) and the strippy block. There is no waste at all cutting the sixteen 2 1/2" squares so I haven't bothered to show that!
In addition, for beginners with not much stash and nervous of choosing fabrics, a designed collection is a good way in. Miriam and Sophie each added four other fat quarters to the mix, just so they could make the quilts slightly bigger and have more choice when it came to laying out the blocks.
The quilts measure 48" x 64", made up of 48 eight inch blocks set 6 x 8, a good size for wrapping up in but not too big to wrestle through the machine for the first attempt at quilting. Both girls chose a simple diagonal crosshatch so the experience wasn't too traumatic.
If you follow this blog you may recall that I decided to join in with Miriam and Sophie and make it a mini-QAL (see this post) - why should they have all the fun after all?
Typically, having so much more fabric to use/use up, I made my quilt larger (too big to fit it all on the washing line for a complete flat shot) but I more or less kept to schedule and finished sewing the binding on earlier this week. So I am claiming a finish for Finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts today. Amanda Jean sounds like she's been having a crazy time of it! I love her latest book, and hope to blog about it when I have a moment to tackle one of her great projects.
Meanwhile I can't tell you how glad I am to have finally used some of the pink and green fabric I have had put by for at least ten years. I had a ball making this quilt and I chose to quilt it with parallel lines in the style of Rita of Red Pepper Quilts (as in this quilt, for example).
The lines end up 2" apart and I did have to do a little bit of marking with my Hera marker to help me across the larger blocks (as I don't have a guide bar on my Juki sewing machine) but otherwise the quilting was very straightforward, just a lot of bulk to heave around.
Despite the fairly close quilting the quilt drapes and scrunches up beautifully and I am delighted with the end result. Finished quilt measures 80" x 96", a total of 120 eight inch blocks set 10 x 12. I had all the fabric in my stash including backing and binding so it feels brilliant to have converted that into something which can be used and enjoyed.
Final shot of the girls. I wish that this may be the first of many quilts along their quilt road and that patchwork and quiltmaking may be as enjoyable and interesting for them as it has been for me for twenty four years.
And I make the same wish for you, and for me too for the years ahead - I hope I have many more quilts in me, I certainly still have plenty of fabric stashed! Have a great weekend.