Before I went any further, I had to at least start thinking about the design of the quilt. I’m not planning to have every little bit of the design finalised before I start, but I do need to have some idea of where I’m going. I played about with the knit fabrics a bit, and I think that I’ll applique them onto a cotton background. This should solve the stability issues and perhaps it will increase the longevity of the quilt. Neive is two and a half, and I anticipate that this quilt is in for a tough ride! I want her to be able to drag it about and use it throughout her childhood, and still be left with something decent she will want and be able to use as a teenager and adult.
I have done some experimenting with the fabrics, and created this 5 inch square, which I made into a coaster, as a sort of maquette.
Preliminary scrappy heart.
Hearts are going to be a prominent feature of the design, and I don’t care if that sounds corny, the secret ingredient is love, got it? 🙂 At first I was going to use low volume patterned fabrics for the background, but I actually think it looks busier than I’d like. I’ve been scouring the kona solids range, auditioning background colours. Originally, I was looking for one background colour, but I got seduced by a muted palette and ended up ordering six colours. (Hurry up, Mr Postman!)
I have also decided to include some song lyrics, from tunes that she and I both like. As a family, (I’m one of seven sisters) music mattered a lot to us, and I can see this tradition carrying on in Neive. So, after a few hours of arguing with photoshop, I think I’m ready to start the first nine patch!
Fabric for Neive’s memory quilt.
I picked up the bag of Neive’s outgrown clothes before christmas, but since christmas gets in the way of everything, I didn’t get into it until the festivities were over. With a memory quilt, a bit of extra effort is required to get to the start line. The first job was, of course, to cut up the clothes into usable bits. I didn’t really go to town when cutting. Rather than saving every last scrap of material, I was ruthless, just going for decent sized areas and discarding the rest. There are cases where you might want to preserve everything which might possibly be usable, but kids go through clothes at a mile a minute, so if I need more there won’t be a problem. This took quite a while, and everything still needs to be pressed properly, but at least I was in a better position to take stock of what I actually have to work with.
That said, I have no idea what is there in terms of fabric area, but it looks like plenty. Unsurprisingly, there’s quite a lot of pink, some reds and quite a lot of blues, a bit of denim, including a lime green I’m quite partial to, and a lot of very pale or white fabrics. Most of the fabrics are cotton knit t shirt or fine jerseys. I’ve not worked with these types of fabrics before in terms of quilting, but I have modified a few t shirts, and they are awkward to work with because they lack stability. I want to take this into account when thinking about the design for this quilt, which is the next step!
I love online shopping, it’s great. You get all the excitement of buying something, without the hassle of going to the shops, and then you get to be all excited again when it arrives!
Today’s haul consisted of two packages.
The first contained my brand-new copy of Elizabeth Hartman 's Modern Patchwork. I’ve been following Elizabeth’s Blog, Oh, Fransson, for a while now, and I love her quilts, so when I was deciding what book to buy, one of hers seemed a good choice. I’ve only had the briefest flick through at the moment, but I’ll do a more in depth review once I’ve really explored it.
The second parcel, a small, unassuming jiffy bag, contained a walking foot. Quilting attempts without one on the red Scatter Squares quilt convinced me that this little piece of equipment is pretty much essential for even stitching whilst quilting on a domestic sewing machine. Although the limited instructions made me nervous, It attached itself to my mother’s commandeered Janome with a minimum of fuss, and early experimentation looks promising.
I’m waiting on my walking foot arriving before I start quilting red scatter squares. I tried without, and untidiness ensued, so this morning I pieced together this top, built around Anne Kelle’s Urban Zoologie dinosaurs print (Robert Kaufman). I matched the colours to the dinosaurs as closely as possible, selecting, from the Kona solids range, red, kumquat, peapod, bahama blue and canary yellow. I’m pretty happy with how they matched.
Since I only used a small amount of the focus fabric on the top, I decided to go all out and use it for the back as well. I’m really enjoying the current trend of patterned or pieced backs. They add that little bit extra, just finishing the job nicely.
I’ve finished basting my red scatter squares quilt, (I use Sharon Schamber’s basting method, btw) but the tips of my fingers are still protesting at the treatment I have dished out to them! I really must try and find a suitable thimble. When I did embroidery, I found that a traditional thimble didn’t work for me, but now there are a lot of alternatives available, so I’ll hopefully be able to find something to suit. If not, I’ll just have to grow mighty callouses!