I suppose I should come up with more creative names for the things I make, but it’s always just the most basic information with me: a wonky star quilt, made with Modern Vintage fabric. Anyway, it’s my first finish for 2013! The first of several, I hope… (But I shouldn’t jinx myself by saying that.)
I’ve been working on this one since November 2012, I think, which for me isn’t a very long time. It’s rare I finish things within months, rather than within years! It does help to have a deadline, though. I didn’t meet my original one – to have it done by Christmas – but I did get it done before my family comes to visit again (that’ll be end of February, most likely). My parents will be tasked with taking this quilt to give to my Grandma, who I made it for.
A very long time ago I started a different quilt for my grandma. It was an origami quilt, where all the nine-patch blocks had origami flowers made using all the ugly floral prints my mom had bought me. (She used to buy me fabric periodically and half the time it was weird floral prints that wouldn’t appeal to much of anyone, I don’t think!) It was the first big project I ever really worked on, and it had A LOT of construction issues. I mean, I didn’t really KNOW it, but I sure figured it out when I started quilting it.
This photo is from before I quilted it, but once I started… well, the borders were all out of whack, so much so that I actually had to fold-over and quilt down about an inch of fabric on one side. (It hides remarkably well – it happened to be right where there was a seam anyway, and it just sort of blends in.) I had a hell of a time figuring out how to quilt it, and I screwed things up a lot and tried mostly unsuccessfully to hide it. The more I tried to make things work, the more frustrated I got with it, and so it’s spent several years languishing in a closet while I mulled over what to do with it… at least, I mulled it over in between year long bouts of pretending it didn’t exist.
During one of my annual bouts of mulling things over a while back, I realized the single biggest problem with the quilt: it’s full of raw edges. Every single flower has a raw edge on the underside of each petal, which you can see opened up in the photo above. I’ve made a lot (A LOT) of mini-pillows using these, and it’s not such a big deal that they’ve got raw edges, because you’re not using it, you’re not likely going to have to wash it. But how can you wash a quilt with 65 flowers, each with raw edges on all four petals? So needless, I think, to say… I’ve given up on that quilt. I don’t know what to do with it – it seems ridiculous to bag it up and throw it in the garbage, but I just don’t know how to salvage it.
Anyway, I had to make a new quilt. My Grandma has made me a number of quilts – I think I’ve got four from her, which really I should take proper pictures one day and make a post about them. But I’ve never made her something big before, and I thought she’d probably like to have something I quilted, since I know she’s pretty tickled by the thought that I’ve picked up quilting. The few times she’s seen things I’ve made, she’s had a kind of funny reaction. She finds the colours and prints I use kind of bewildering, I think. I mean, why would I want a quilt with black sashing and bright colours when there are so many pretty pink fabrics out there?
Anyway, Bonnie & Camille’s Vintage Modern is a very pretty fabric line, and although it’s not quite my thing, it’s still something that hits points that appeal to me (the interesting prints, like the houndstooth and those sort of circular ones, the colours – red and aqua and grey), but is traditional and pretty enough to appeal to my Grandma.
I made this using a layer cake – a Moda layer cake will give you 21 blocks, I used 20 and the extra may, if I get around to it, get turned into a cushion – and then red and white yardage, plus a little yardage for the border and binding. Using a layer cake (the equivalent of 4 charm packs) means the blocks are a little larger than standard, about 13.5 inches finished rather than 12 inches. Which is nice, because this makes a decent sized lap quilt for an adult, about 63 x 77 inches.
When I started making the blocks, I was a little concerned that the white stars wouldn’t stand out against the grey prints, so I separated out all of the grey prints (there were 8) and made four blocks in all grey, with the red stars to contrast. The red fabric is cherry Cotton Couture from Michael Miller, and is really beautiful feeling stuff. (I mean, I like my Kona Cotton, I’ve got yards and yards of the stuff, but Cotton Couture is just GORGEOUS stuff to work with.)
I like those contrasting stars in the quilt and I’m glad I did it. (Although I think that’s one of those things that will bewilder my Grandma!) I think those four red stars are probably the wonkiest of all my wonky stars, so that appeals to me too. I was really worried that I’d run out of the white tone-on-tone I used with the multi-coloured prints, so I was being very cautious about how I cut them and how much fabric I used. I did manage to stretch the tone-on-tone over the whole quilt, but I think I was only left with maybe 2 or 3 squares or triangles that would still have been usable. (I don’t know how much I started with – it was probably about a metre, but I’m really not certain.)
I don’t have any really good shots of the quilting in this one, but that’s okay because I kind of did it all ass-backwards and would have done things a fair bit differently if I’d really thought it through before I started, rather than doing the first thing I thought of and then having to slot in everything else around it. In any case, I quilted it in a pale grey that pretty much blends right into the quilt. Before quilting, I tried something new to me with the basting, which was to baste on a table rather than the floor! I found this tutorial from My Fabric Obsession and decided that even if it didn’t work out that well, it HAD to be better than crawling around on the floor to pin baste. It was! I had no problems with wrinkles on the quilt back, and it was so so so so so easy compared to doing it on the floor. No aching back! No worries about leaving pin gouges in the kitchen floor! (I probably left some pin-scratches in my sewing table, but I’m really not worried about that.) I’m definitely going to do that again the future, although maybe I’ll finally suck it up and try thread basting.
I decided when I was working on the top, that I really wanted to have a flannel backing, so that it would be nice and cosy to wrap up in. As a lap quilt, I figure it’s more likely to be used off a bad, and thus without a sheet, so who wouldn’t want an extra fuzzy and soft feeling fabric up against them? I thought I’d probably have to use a solid grey flannel, but Vintage Modern came with several flannel prints as well, and I found someone on Etsy who was selling yardage. I really wanted a grey print (I don’t know why, it just felt right) and was very happy to find that floral that you see up above. This Moda flannel seemed to be a nicer quality flannel than a lot of the solids I’ve worked with before. I didn’t pre-wash the other fabrics, but obviously I did pre-wash the flannel because that stuff can shrink A LOT, but it shrunk much less than any other flannel I’ve worked with in the past. It also didn’t seem quite as shred-happy as a lot of flannels I’ve used.
For the binding, I used a striped print from another line of fabric by Bonnie & Camille, Marmalade, which is another line of pretty vintage-looking florals. I had planned to use the red print with white dots that you can see in the quilt, but went with the striped binding instead because who doesn’t love a striped binding? There’s a part of me that thinks my Grandma would probably have liked the dots better, so that part of me kind of wishes I hadn’t switched to the stripe, but I love the stripe too much to seriously contemplate changing anyway.
So now I need to chuck this puppy in the wash. I’m always scared of washing things – what if it completely falls apart? what if the whole thing comes out in a big ball of shredded fabric and strings? – even though I’ve never had any problems. Irrational fears, eh?