Monday, 25 February 2013

Quilting Quandaries

I had always thought of quilting and patchwork as an old fashioned pastime - something that only older, retired people do. Who else would have the time or patience to piece together all those tiny random bits of fabric to make something that looked so obviously handmade or "country bumpkin"?

Isn't it strange the way our minds work? Most of the people I know that actually do quilt hardly fit into the retired or old category and my significant other had been given an amazing quilt for his 21st birthday, made by his Nana, that was definitely not "country bumpkin" so I really had no justification for this prejudice against quilts or quilting, but still, there it was.

During some of my recent marathon web browsing sessions (I've spent way too many hours on Pintrest and Etsy lately) looking for inspiration and patterns for handbags and other random stuff I found myself being drawn again and again to images of quilts. Not the traditional country patchwork quilts, but modern quilts - vibrant colours, clean simple lines. What's not to love about some of these pieces that could only be considered "art"? 

Strip and Flip baby quilt from CluckCluck Sew
Xylophone Quilt by Elizabeth Hartman
Mad as a Hatter - Modern Quilt Pattern by Elaine Wick Poplin
Wonky Log Cabins by Ellison Lane Quilts
Buttonholes - A pattern available for purchase from Shiny Happy World
And so the brain bubbles started - they kept growing and multiplying and floating around in my head, refusing to be popped until only last week the monster says "Mum, I want a new bedspread for my room". I don't know if she had been looking at quilts over my shoulder in previous days, whether it truly was just a random request or maybe it was just an excuse for a shopping trip - she looooves shopping.

Instead of a shopping trip I suggested that I could make something for her (at which point I expected her to drop the idea - no shopping usually = no interest) but she wouldn't be swayed and I set her loose on my computer to decide what she wanted in her new bedspread. This is the image she eventually came up with:

The image the monster found of her
preferred bedspread - I agree that it looks pretty awesome and would
suit her room  perfectly (if her room were ever clean that is!)
It turns out that image comes from a fantastic tutorial at Train to Crazy. The pictures and instructions in the tutorial make it look reasonably simple. Only straight lines to cut and sew and no tiny piecing. Even all that gathering shouldn't be too hard with the ruffler foot I got for the Brother. I can do this right??

So as of last night I have sacrificed a cream coloured single bed sheet to cut the 10.5" x 10.5" backing squares and I've raided my fabric stash and the bags of old clothes destined for the salvos for suitable pink and purple toned fabrics for the ruffled pieces.

The tutorial calls for something like 63 ruffled pieces (they start out as 21" x 10.5" rectangles) and so far I'm up to only about 20 pieces of suitable scrap and re-purposed fabric. I was hoping that I could get this project done without having to buy any more fabric, but I didn't realise that my stash consisted of so many knits and totally unsuitable (for quilts anyway) home decorator fabrics. I think a shopping trip might be in order after all if I'm ever going to get this project finished.

I do have a little bit of time up my sleeve to get this one done, the monster started bugging me to have it finished almost immediately after she had decided on the pattern - the compromise we came to was that I would put effort into making the quilt as long as she put effort into cleaning her room so she has somewhere nice to display the quilt once its finished. At this rate  I probably have until some time next century to finish this particular quilt!

More on the progress of this quilt:
Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles

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