It has been a long time in the making and then even more time for me to get motivated to finally share these photos of the quilt I set about making last year! Setting the deadline of making sure I had it finished for my sister's birthday this year helped me get going...considering it did a good amount of sitting around as a half finished topper, waiting to be put together. Surprisingly, once I got sorted, it didn't take very long at all to complete!
This is my first ever *proper* quilt. I consider the lengthy amount of time it took in between creative bursts a stamp of proper quilt authenticity. I was assured by many that it was common for WIP quilts to take 3 years...well that made me feel a bit better. But as a lot of quilts other people make seem to be quite complicated, I wasn't sure I could use that as a valid excuse.
From the outset, I wanted this quilt to have a vintage feel. A scrappy, patched look. Such as a quilt of old might have, but obviously with modern colours and prints. I always loved the idea of quilts more than the thought of actually making them. Perhaps it's because I grew up swaddled in handmade quilts, from my Grandmother. There were the baby blankets we all received, picnic sized quilts that were often used as blanket cubbies, and the amazing quilts that covered our beds - mine was a fairy tale quilt, I have not yet seen anything as amazing as that quilt and no, I am not biased.
My fairy tale quilt came with a story-book that corresponded with each square. The detail was astounding. The valance on red riding hood's bed lifted up, the lace curtains on Granny's curtains ruffled in the breeze. The vine overtaking Sleeping Beauty's castle at the foot of the bed did so with three dimensional touchable leaves. Snow White's story played out in three panels on one side of the bed and Cinderella's on the other. Cinderella, who had the ball gown of my six-year-old dreams - pink satin and overlaid in lace. The Princess and the Pea had many, many mattresses and the panels were not kept to quilting cotton, resulting in textures fit for royalty. There were beads, lace and they all had touchable woollen hair. It was truly a masterpiece.
I no longer have it, when I grew out of it in my teens, we gave it to a daycare centre where it was no doubt absolutely loved. The amount of play and joy I got out of it, it wouldn't have survived just being wrapped up and kept. It needed to continue to be used and loved...there was even some texta on it in places, where my drawing had slipped off the paper.
|I wish I had noticed that piece of stray yarn when we were taking these! Gulp!|
The Making Process (for those interested!)
You probably know by now, nothing is ever straight forward here at Dolly Henry. So many thoughts about so many things tied up in one little quilt. Sigh. The finished quilt ended up being 164cm long by 102 wide. I completely made it up as I went along so random measurements are where it's at people. Someone (I'm sorry, I cannot remember who!) on Instagram asked for a pattern. So I said I would create a mud-map of a pattern if I could because a) I completely made this up and b) I am not qualified to write quilt patterns...I only just discovered the walking foot ha! (read about THAT here)
To start the quilt, I used a 10 inch pack of charm squares of Elea Lutz's Milk, Sugar & Flower collection. (This collection was the first I had ever seen of Elea's designs and I was in love. After seeing a doll quilt made using it on Nana Company, I tracked down some and decided to make a quilt for my sister's birthday. The fabric literally inspired this whole project.)
There were 21x 10 inch precut squares in my pack, one of each print in the collection. To mix them up, I cut each square into 4 smaller squares, and blended in some Essex linen - I adore natural linen mixed with prints. It adds a real down-to-earth homey feel! Arranging my smaller squares of linen and prints, I paired them into four square blocks.
Some of the squares I chose to embellish, adding trims, lace and little details. I did this before stitching the squares together to form the blocks, and on others I overlaid the trims on the seams afterwards. (This is something I learned from my Grandmother when she taught me to crazy patch. All the seams in her crazy patch designs were covered with lace, trims or delicate embroidery. It's a simple formula for adding attention to detail!) Perhaps this is why I love quilts with lots of attention to detail and little *surprises* to find as you use them...like chickens...
After I laid out the 4 square blocks, I realised I wanted the quilt to be a bit bigger, so I grabbed some fabrics I knew my sister loved and cut them into big squares, the same size as the four square blocks. It probably seems like a lazy thing to do, but when I laid them into the quilt design, I really liked how they broke up all the busyness while retaining that vintage scrappy look I wanted. Thankfully, Elea's collections are brilliant for mixing and matching! When I was happy with the layout, I stitched them together in rows.
I chose the Aqua Daisy from the Strawberry Biscuit Collection as the backing (available here in my shop!) and used some Apple Farm for the binding...as it matched all the colours and style perfectly...and I was slightly excited about having all of Elea's collections in one quilt.(excluding the Christmas line!) Bound and stitched, the finished blocks are about 8 inches. I hope this gives anyone who was interested a basic idea of how I went about this project...really, I advise just grabbing your favourite fabrics, chopping them into squares and making it up as you go along. There are no hard and fast rules here!
So there we have it! My very first *proper* quilt! Have you ever made a quilt? How many? Are you a quilting pro or have you just started? Really, I want to know! And be sure to share any quilty disaster stories...I do love a good funny disaster story!
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