‘Summer is in the air’

June 4, 2021

Which means it’s time for new quilt projects! 🙂

I was playing with some bright fat quarters and fabric scraps as this new year 2021 started (1st of January as a matter of fact!), all with the intention to make a simple, quick and colourful quilt to brighten up the season. The quilt was also going to have a very modern vibe with a light white/grey/cream background and distinctly scrappy look.

The ‘Orange Peel’ pattern was chosen as I had a lovely large ‘leaf’ paper piece that I wanted to use and so this EPP-Applique cross-over project was born. The ‘leaf’ shape originates from an 8 inch circle (overlapping 8 in circles create the shape) and it is approximately 5.5 in long from tip-to-tip. This means that the leaf will fit onto a 5 inch square of background fabric (I did in fact cut my background squares 5.5 inches – which I would advise to do! – in order to give myself some wriggle-room!).

To start with I pinned my leaf paper piece onto the fabric and cut around the outside with scissors, leaving a generous 3/8th in (1 cm) seam allowance. Then I covered the papers with the fabric (tacking it down and into place) – I like to use the thread-basting method (for tacking) and I do stitch through the paper pieces because it secures the fabric nicely for the job at hand. You could use a glue stick for this, but personally prefer the thread-tacking. The covered paper shapes were then placed diagonally onto a (5.5″) square of background, pinned into place with a couple of short applique pins (these are much shorter than your normal sewing pins, only about 1″ long) and then appliqued to the square using a blind-stitch or ladder-stitch (tucking any fabric tails neatly under at the points of the leaf shapes as I went along). Once that was done I snipped the tacking thread in couple of places and gently pulled them out. To remove the now obsolete paper piece I turned the square over, cut a long slit into the fabric behind the paper piece using little pointy scissors and removed the paper. Then the blocks were pressed (no steam!) and trimmed back to a 5″ square.

When I had a lot of blocks made up I started to play with their layouts (and there are so many options!). Eventually I settled on the leaf-pairs and then decided how big a quilt to make: 8 x 12 blocks (plus border). The next issue for me was the arrangement of the colours throughout the quilt. The first layout was totally ‘random’, which looked great! – but a bit messy to my eye (I do like ‘order’ of sorts in my quilts!!). So in the end I arranged them by colour ‘value’, dark at the bottom, going lighter toward the top of the quilt, and I loved that more calming feel emerging as the layout was worked out.

You can see that I don’t actually ‘plan’ my quilts in advance! I like to play with an idea and see where it leads me: I find that much more exciting and ‘creative’, because I do get lots and lots of ideas as I go along (and make notes of those for possible future use).

The same happened when it came to working out a border for this project: Initially I intended to use a simple, thin, single colour inner border framing the blocks, with a white or grey (single fabric) outer border.. Well, when it came down to it I just couldn’t pick a single colour!! (lol) So the next logical step was a ‘scrappy’ inner border! – I started with random length strips, but NO, I didn’t like the look of that at all .. but once the strips where shorter and coordinated by colour value, everything in the design fell into place. Naturally the outer border then also needed to be scrappy – and the rest, as they say, is history.

The ‘how to quilt it’ question raised another host of issues: To hand quilt? Or machine-quilt it? Or quilt-as-you-go? (Ops! too late for that as the top was already assembled before I had crossed that bridge). And how much effort/details should I invest in the quilting? To settle these I knocked up a little 2 x 2 block sample with some spare blocks I had and tried out different quilting options: Simple out-line quilting of the leaf, more detailed showing the veins of the leaf? Also: Do I trim away the excess fabric behind the applique or not? Should I ‘stuff’ the leaf trapunto-style to make them ‘pop’ on the surface? – Oh so many questions that needed answering!

I settled for the simplest style of quilting and decided to do it by hand in the end – so much for making a ‘quick’ quilt!! 😉

But I am so glad it did it that way as I just love to look and feel of a hand-quilted quilt!!

So here is the end of the journey: My lovely, fun ‘Spring Greens’ Quilt. – Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

(the pattern for it is to be released very soon on the website)