Saturday 25 April 2015

Free-motion Joy and Two Finished Quilts

I have been asked by a dear friend to make a couple of quilts for her newly refurnished sitting room, and when these lovely fabrics from Lewis & Irene arrived in the post I was over the moon. This range is called Honey Meadow and I just love the soft blues and browns, and the little honeybee is so sweet! I was sent varying amounts from the range as well as a jelly roll, the rest was left to my imagination! I must say, it really was a lovely compliment to be trusted to come up with something she would like, and believe me, this lady knows her quilts!!

So trying not to feel the pressure… I had a play around with the fabrics for a few days, and soon enough an idea emerged from the back of my mind where I keep my extensive “to-do, must-try, new challenge” list – a Lone Star! I have loved this quilt design ever since I discovered quilting, but way back then it involved English paper piecing and many many diamonds. However, now strip piecing is all the rage, it sooo much easier!

As you may have gathered by now, I’m not a fan of making things easy for myself by 
following someone else’s pattern, I would much rather work it out for myself. I have to admit I do like the odd bit of maths, and I love geometry… they do say its good for the brain, don’t they. Anyway, I drew out my diamond shapes, checking that the angle was correct for the second large diamond, then worked out how many smaller diamonds I would need from each 2½” strip.

Once I got my head around matching the seams by slightly offsetting the pieced rows, the large diamonds came together quite quickly, I then referred back to my drawing to work out the size of the solid triangles I needed for the corners and sides. I pieced the Star in quarters, then halves, then into one whole. For the border I chose a simple mitred strip in blue which I think frames the star very nicely.

For the second quilt, I decided to try yet another block on my to-do list, the Granny Square. I’ve seen this a lot on Pinterest lately and believe its inspired by the crochet granny squares used to make those beautiful blankets.

I separated the remaining 2½” strips into lights and darks, then decided to have four different designs, one with a brown centre cross, one with a brown outer ring, one with a blue centre cross, and the other with a blue outer ring. I then laid these out in diagonals. At first glance this quilt does look quite scrappy, but there actually is a pattern there. Once I had trimmed down my blocks into squares, I added sashing strips, then a simple border.

Now the quilting… I am quite proud of my quilting here, and it’s all down to an inspiring lady I may have mentioned before, Angela Walters from Quilting Is My Therapy. If you 
remember I attended two of her lectures on free-motion quilting at QuiltCon, and bought her book, Shape by Shape, which as you can see, came in very handy indeed.

I decided to do some parallel quilting on my Lone Star, turning direction by 45degrees in each star point. I then worked on the negative space by marking out these on-point squares in each corner, then filling in with four triangles. I then filled these shapes with swirls and figures-of-eight. 

I quilted a loose meander in the other triangles, together with a wavy design in the border. I wanted to keep this quilting quite loose as the lines on the star are quite intense make the quilt a little stiff – not very cuddly for snoozing on the sofa!

I also used this shape-by-shape technique in the Granny Squares quilt by keeping within each block and adding some orange peel shapes on point, then filling the outer space with back and forth lines, and the inner ring with dense clamshells. This again made these parts quite stiff, so I chose to quilt simple lines in the sashing and borders to loosen the quilt up.

These quilts have given my machine and my shoulders a really great workout, and I can’t wait for more… but that’s another post!

I do hope you like my quilts and this post, if you have any comments or questions, please post them below. I would love to hear from you and promise to reply as soon as I can.

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