The fifth challenge for Project QUILTING 2015 is “My Favorite Fabric.” The same guidelines apply to this challenge as the others I participated in… it doesn’t have to be a traditional quilt, but it does have to include either patchwork, appliqué, or quilting. It also has to be conceptualized and completed entirely inside the one week time limit.
This project is supposed to feature your favorite fabric. That’s a problem for me, since I don’t have one fabric that I love more than all others. If the fabric is in my stash, it is because I loved it enough to buy it with no project in mind for it. Well, except for fat quarters… those are like candy in the checkout line at the grocery store. FQs are easy to just pick up on an impulse, fun to collect, and often have good sales. I love all my fabric! And if I really love a fabric collection, I will buy a charm pack or jelly roll so that I can have a little bit of all the fabrics.
Since friends of ours just had a baby girl, I decided a baby quilt might be a good idea. Two birds, one stone. For a while now I have been thinking I wanted to try making a little car seat quilt I saw on Moda Bakeshop, although I wasn’t sure if I wanted to sell it, gift it, or keep it for my own daughter’s stroller. This seemed like an excellent excuse to shirk my UFOs for one more week and make the little quilt that has been in the back of my mind for months. Maybe that makes it three birds.
When choosing what fabric to use for this challenge, I started by pulling out my small collection of beloved charm packs. Is it just me, or does anyone else get a happy when playing with your fabric? And charm packs are extra happy because they are all so well coordinated. I think fabric is subject to the same affect that applies when you see multiple puppies, cuteness is amplified exponentially by each. The happy came with a twinge of sadness though, because when I use a charm pack it is all gone and I can’t pull it out and play with it anymore. That is how you know you love a fabric I suppose.
I then sorted them according to which were my favorites, and narrowed the selection further by selecting the baby-girliest of them. In the end, the winner was Moda’s Modern Roses, designed by Stephanie Ryan. This was a collection that I fell in love with again and again every time I walked into a quilt shop and saw the bolts. Although, the only reason it beat out the equally lovely Miss Kate and Fancy was that I had yardage to go along with this charm pack, which meant I didn’t need to purchase additional fabric. That made my wallet happy after spending so much on my shiny new shelves over the weekend.
After the always trying process of deciding what to make, and what to make it with, it was time to choose which of the charm squares would make it into the quilt. I needed 9 pairs (18 squares) for the half square triangles (HST), and an additional 7 squares for the setting triangles. It was at this point that I decided I didn’t love Modern Roses as much as I thought I did, but I forged ahead and came up with enough combinations to make me like the fabric again.
That was the end of Day 1 (Sunday night) since it was late at that point. The charms stayed on my design wall until the next night, when I started stitching my HSTs. This was the first time I have really used my June Tailor Perfect Half Square ruler, even though I have had it for ages. I can’t even remember why I bought the thing, but I am sure glad I had it! It really did make it quick and easy to stitch up and trim all of the HSTs.
The ruler works in three stages. First, the left side has two slots used to mark stitch lines onto your square. After stitching along those lines, the right side of the ruler has markings that align with the stitches and a slot used to cut the square into two triangles. After pressing the triangles open, you then use the center markings and slots to trim the square to the desired size. The result is a nicely squared up HST!
Once all the HSTs were stitched, and the setting triangles cut, it was back to the design wall to play with the layout. I tried to distribute like-prints and colors, but it was a little difficult to do with this charm pack. When the blocks were laid out how I thought I wanted them, I stepped away from the wall and cut my sashing strips.
Stitching the sashing onto the blocks went pretty quickly. Instead of fussing with cutting and stitching a bunch of 1.5 x 4.5 inch strips, I just chain stitched the HSTs along a 1.5″x WOF strip and then roughly cut them apart with scissors. The instructions actually said to do that, so it made me feel better about my lazy short cuts.
While doing this, I made some layout changes along the way. This included rearranging a few HSTs and swapping some setting triangles for different charms I hadn’t intended to use when I first auditioned my fabric. I am still not completely happy with the distribution of prints and colors, but I don’t think it possible for me to ever be completely happy with a project… so it is good enough.
Tuesday night I didn’t make as much progress due to other obligations, but I did manage to get the sashing done and then trimmed the whole thing up. Wednesday night was more productive though, as I was able to start quilting! Once I saw the whole top put together, I fell in love with this fabric all over again. I even had some crazy momentary thoughts of ordering more charm packs so that I could make a larger quilt for myself.
For the quilting, I selected a light grey Aurifil 50wt thread, which just happened to be one of the spools I won from the second Project QUILTING challenge. I used Mono Poly in the bobbin partially to conserve thread since the spool is small, and I think the clear thread looks better on the dark pink backing fabric than the grey would have. After sitting and staring at the quilt for a few minutes, I decided to just do a simple diamond pattern. The diamond pattern was relatively quick to stitch up, and I was able to finish the quilting Thursday night. The binding I was able to wrap up Saturday afternoon, so I managed to finish this challenge with time to spare! A little anyway. (deadline is 1pm EST Sunday)
I am pretty happy with this over all, although I worry the stitching on the ties won’t hold up. The quilting also could be better. From the back the quilting looks pretty good, but it bothers me that the quilting lines don’t follow the lattice angle on the front. I will try to ignore this. Maybe this experience will help me do better next time, if I make another quilt with a lattice on point like this one (and I probably will, because I really like this one).
I have it in the wash now, it is always a little nerve wracking waiting to see how things look after they come out of the dryer the first time. This is also the first time I have ever used a poly batting, so I don’t know what to expect with shrinkage of the cottons over a batting that doesn’t shrink.
Maybe I can get some better pictures of it tomorrow. I managed to break my fancy lamp’s light bulb a couple days ago, so it is even harder than usual to take decent indoor photos right now. The car seat I have it on in the photo above is my toddler daughter’s old infant carrier, maybe I can try it out on her stroller tomorrow so I can have a cute model to show it off. 🙂