Saturday, 15 March 2014

Purple Quilt

When I finished this quilt, I was so proud of myself. I'd decided I wanted to do something a bit harder than just joining squares and rectangles together so I chose Half Square Triangles. After a lot of Googling to find a pattern I liked I came across the "Walkabout Quilt" and thought it was perfect! It looked reasonably simple and I went about drawing out my pattern. As I wanted it to be about the size of a double duvet I added an extra row of pieces all around the original design.

I then went down to the local fabric shop and bought up most of their purple and white fat quarters. The whites are all different white on white prints. I believe I ended up using 6 white fat quarters and 6 purple ones.

I then spent quite a while looking up how to make half square triangles and discovered there were many ways to do it. I couldn't work out how to make sure they would be the right size so ended up just guessing really! I used the method that makes 8 half square triangles out of each square of fabric shown here and as I only needed 16 of each fabric I only had to cut out 2 big squares from each colour of fabric. Pretty simple so far!

I had randomly purchased 2 metres of a beautiful purpley batik fabric from Doughtys (they have an awesome selection of batiks!) in a previous order and thought it would be perfect for the other squares. As I was kind of making it up as I went along I realised I needed to sew together all the HST squares to make them into arrows before I knew what size the plain squares needed to be. So pretty soon I had 24 lovely purple and white arrows piled up waiting for their batik squares. So I cut out 25 squares from the batik fabric (I can't actually remember what size they ended up being!).

I then used my special sticky fabric thingy to lay them all out and had pretty soon sewed it all together. I realised at this point that it would definitely need a border to make it a useable size. I got back online and ordered two different purples as I thought I wanted to do a lighter border and then a darker one round the edge of that. I also ordered the backing fabric at the same time in the darker purple (but they had it in extra wide so I didn't have to sew the backing together).

Once it all arrived I realised that the quilt would look far too busy with the two tone border so I plumped for just using the darker fabric. Unfortunately I had ordered the fabric based on using both, so when it came down to it I ended up with another quilt that isn't quite big enough even though I made the border a big as I could with the fabric that I had! I didn't realise about the size until I was finished quilting it though and thought I had just about managed to get it right!

As the hand quilting had gone so well the time before I decided to have another crack at it with this one. I decided to quilt 1/4" from the seams in the arrow squares with purple thread on the white sections and white thread on the purple sections. I wasn't really sure what to do with the batik squares until I stumbled across this template and thought it would be perfect! The template is great, the only slight problem I have now is storing it because the pieces don't like to stay together and ended up spread all over my box of quilting supplies!

I played around with different ways to mark the quilt top for quilting. For the arrow squares I used quilter's tape which worked out really well (although I did end up using more than one roll of it and I'd only purchased one in the first place so had to wait for delivery on another one!) and I liked that it didn't actually mark the quilt. For the wavy squares on the batik section I realised I would have to mark the quilt as I had no other way of doing it! I ended up using one of those blue water erasable quilt markers which did work out but I would definitely recommend testing that they do erase from your fabric before use.

For the border I thought I wanted to continue the wavy lines theme and had seen people online using a wavy line template for their border. I searched and searched online to try and find somewhere that sold the template in the UK. But it was all in vain, there was no template for me! So I ended up making my own template. It worked out a lot better than I expected to, although I did have several attempts at making the template! I started out trying to use a laminating pouch by putting it through the laminater and then cutting it out with a craft knife. This sort of worked but the plastic was very flimsy and floppy and I had basically printed out a picture of the template available in the USA and copied it. It ended up with very small waves that were too close together. I tried again doing it this way but just wasn't happy with the results. 

Whilst in the local fabric shop I noticed they were selling template plastic sheets with a grid printed on. I thought this could work so I bought a pack (I believe you get 2 in a pack) and headed home to fashion myself a template. Rather than using the print out I had already tried I decided to use the edge of the largest of the wavy squares templates. This worked really well and because the plastic had a grid on it I could make sure I had them evenly spaced. So I ended up with some lovely wavy lines all along the length of the border and wavy squares in the batik corner sections.

The quilting took maybe 3 - 4 weeks on this one as it was a bit more intense than my previous one but I love the way it turned out! I used Hobbs Heirloom 100% wool batting for this one as I wanted to try out something different (I had previously used 50% cotton 50% bamboo and 100% cotton). I actually really like the wool batting. I was really worried when I first opened the package as it looked like it would fall to pieces if I as much as blew on it, but I gave a soak in the tub before I used it and hung it out in the sun to dry and it survived that so I felt a bit better about it after I did that! I love the way the quilting stands out with this wadding. It makes it look almost puffy compared to the cotton and cotton/bamboo ones as they are so flat in comparison.

Lessons learned in the making of this quilt:
  •  Wool batting is actually rather nice and not at all scary!
  • Patterns can easily be adapted for whatever your needs
  • Hand quilting gets better and easier with time 
  • Template plastic is a pretty handy thing to have around

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