Wedding Quilt – progress

 So, just before I went back to work after Christmas, I finished all the wedding quilt blocks.  I had made some amendments to the design, while I was sewing – I always do this.  Sometimes the design only exists in my head, so I don’t have to admit to having changed it.  This one, however, had actually been drawn out.  And I did actually change it on the drawing – by simply over-drawing in a different colour, rather than any more formal, complex, or complete method.  But still…

So the central row of blocks in this picture are the new design, where every corner is made up of four large half square triangle blocks.  At this point, I wasn’t sure if they would be arranged in a diamond, or in a pinwheel to echo the smaller, triangle blocks.  But they were done.

The white half of the corner blocks, if you look carefully, is made of a print of cream roses on a white background.  This quilt is a wedding present for my sister.  I know my sister pretty well, and I can confidently predict that, should she ever get married, she will theme her wedding around cream roses.  I bet they’ll feature on the invitations, the room decoration, her bouquet, the table favours*.  A cream rose wedding would be just her style.  So when I found a fabric featuring cream roses, it seemed ideal to use in a quilt which will, one day, be her wedding gift.  The centre of the quilt is made up of solid squares of the cream rose fabric.

Today, I laid the blocks out, and stitched them into rows.  There’s a number of ways of treating triangle blocks.  If you put them together, edge to edge, you create interesting repetitions, and new shapes in the negatives.  In my design (which is actually drawn out, remember, so I kind of have to stick to it.  Or overdraw it again – which would just look scribbly), I had decided to put a 3″ sash between each block.  Which creates more space, and makes the quilt more of a white quilt – or a shades of cream and white quilt.  In my head, anyway.

Having laid the blocks out, I’ve joined the rows of blocks.  I’ve inserted the vertical 3″ sash between the individual, triangle blocks.

Next, I need to make the horizontal sashing rows.  Each triangle block will have a 3″ sash above and below it.  Where the sashing meets, there will be a 3″ square, in as close to Everton blue as I’ve been able to find.  I predict that, should my sister ever get married, she’ll marry an Everton supporter – so that’d be a good colour to use…**

Once the sashing rows are assembled, they can be inserted between the block rows.  The Everton blue squares will act like a hearth square in a log cabin block.  I like this idea of domesticity in the busyness of the triangles.

If there’s enough of the cream fabric I’m using for sashing left, then I’ll also put a 3″ border all the way round, with a blue hearth square at each corner.

Then I need to make the back.  There is a lot of the sashing fabric, but because I bought it 9 years ago, I can’t remember *how* much there is.  I hope there might be enough of it to make the back.  The centre of the back will have a New York Beauty, which I happen to have made when I first thought of making my sister a wedding quilt.  Because I imagine she’ll probably get engaged in New York.  And so that’d be a kind of cool thing to work into the quilt somewhere, wouldn’t it??  But this is kind of bright and funky, and doesn’t tie in with the front of the quilt, particularly, so the back seems a good place to put it.

I have kind of a cool idea for the quilting, too, but it’s nice to keep a surprise element to a gift, isn’t it? So I’m not going to write about that, in advance.  I’ll show you what it is when I’ve given the quilt to Sissy.  If she ever gets married, that is…

*I’m kind of right.  She got married nine years ago.  She did have the cream roses.  The gift is a little overdue.  We don’t mention it.

** Guess what team my lovely brother in law supports??

Also… knitting.

You know how you do nothing for *months* and then all of a sudden you have a couple of weeks’ holiday and find yourself catching up on lost opportunities?  Well, that.

I went to meet a friend, last week, in Warwick.  I haven’t seen her for a while, and she’s an avid knitter and knew I needed a good local yarn shop.  There’s nothing in the town I live in, but Warwick’s where my daughter lives and there’s a rather fabulous yarn shop, Warwick Wools, which she thought I might like…

I did.  She is wise!

I wasn’t going to buy any yarn, as I’d just spent a small fortune in The Quilter’s Den (you just have to forgive the tag line).  But I am powerless to resist the urge to plunge my hands into piles of yarn.  It’s so smooth, and soft, and warm, and tactile… I could just fill boxes with it, and never make anything and be perfectly happy opening the boxes and stroking the yarn… Just me?

Anyway, I bought some lovely chunky orange yarn, which will – any moment now, in fact – knit up another cable cushion cover.  Probably to go into my office, where I’m attempting some orange integration…  It’s ok.  I know what I mean! And as I went to the till to pay for it, my eye lit upon a pattern for welly toppers, printed on a postcard at the till. 

The pattern was free if you purchased the yarn, which turned out to be from a British designer (all the clues are there, really) called Erika Knight.  So I dutifully trotted back to the racks, and chose a skein of fur yarn in mulberry and a skein of chunky maxi yarn in artisan.

And that evening, I sat in bed with my needles clickety clacking, and made these (right). 

I have to confess, I wasn’t entirely sure what welly toppers are *for*, functionally speaking.  I thought they were just a frippery.  But I wore them, today, when out walking the dogs, and they were wonderfully, wonderfully warm.  They took just a couple of hours each to make up, and if I’d read the instructions correctly, there would’ve been enough yarn for two pairs.  But I didn’t, so there isn’t (the total length of the green ribby bit should’ve been 12cm, but I made the length of each topper 12″).  But there’s enough purple furry yarn for something else.  So I’ll have to think of something to do with it…

Wedding Quilt – dimension distress

It took two days of fettling with calculations to get the triangles right.  Two long, dispiriting days.  My own fault: I know I have my own instructions for measuring and cutting triangles, up in the attic somewhere.  But I couldn’t be arsed to rummage around for them, so I tried to work it out.

First I used a triangle ruler (pictured right), overlaid over the template I drew, to work out what size to cut my triangles to.  At the bottom of the green and white sketch, you can just about make out my original calculations.

I have never found a use for that triangle ruler.  Largely because most of my quilts are based on strips, not triangles.  And when I do use geometric shapes, I free cut them to make assymetrical, rough and ready finished pieces, like the Granny Quilt, where none of the finished triangles are *quite* the same as each other, or the Eye Spy Starz quilt.  I haven’t done a mathematically precise quilt since…. Oh, the Irish Chain, I think! Back in 2003! And that was squares…

Well, I’ve used the triangle ruler now. And probably never will again.  I’m not sure what it’s *for*, but accurate cutting and measurement of triangles doesn’t seem to be it.  Overlaying that on the template, and cutting to the requisite shape provided entirely the wrong sized, mismatched block (see left).  My finished block needs to be 9 1/2″ square.  The triangle template gave me a 10 1/2″ square.  Trimming that down would have meant losing roughly quarter of my beautiful, sharp points…

 After much experimentation, I can confirm that the way to measure right angle triangles is to treat them like half square triangles (which they are) and measure the length of the side either side of the right angle.  Then add 7/8″ for seam allowance, which gives you the central, diagonal seam allowance, and your 1/4″ all round standard quilting seam allowance.  So on that basis, all the small triangles are 3 1/8″ squares.  The big triangles are 5 3/8″ squares.  And the uncut squares are 2 3/4″.

Each patterned block (24 of) is made of 22 pieces of fabric.  Then there are 12 blocks made of two pieces each.  Then 8 plain blocks.  Then 72 sashing pieces, 44 hearth squares, and 4 borders.  That’s 680 pieces of carefully measured, cut, stitched and fitted together fabric to make one layer of a quilt.  Phew! I’ve been making blocks in groups of four, and machining them on a production line basis.  This works for me, as it breaks up the measuring and cutting time (which I don’t particularly enjoy) with the sewing time (which I do, as the logistics of the production line approach are quite complex and need me to concentrate, but the rewards are far greater!)

I’ve made the majority of the blocks, now.  Here’s a selection of entirely correct ones (four in each colour way).   I have 8 more of these to make, and 4 half square triangle blocks.  That’s a mere smear 96 pieces of fabric to measure, cut, and reorder.  Easy.  That should take no more than three hours of tomorrow, then.  And then I simply have to cut my hearth squares, and put the top together.  So there *should* be a photo of the completed quilt top by the end of the week, all other things being equal!

I’m enjoying my accuracy on this project (she says, taking a huge red flag and waving it defiantly in the face of the bull of fate…).  So far, my triangles all have points, which float correctly (there’s one in the top left corner of the left-most blue block pictured which is *slightly* blunted, but that’s the only one).  My pinwheel points match correctly.  The bad news for my sister is that, if this persists, I may feel the need to enter the finished article into the Festival of Quilts, this year.  It’s not as non-traditional a piece as I might have liked to enter (but I may also put in the Japanese Geek Quilt) but it’s a modern setting of a traditional block… or combination of blocks.  I don’t know.  Will consult with my friends at Rats as Big as Cats and nbnq to see what they think.   But if I do submit it, it will mean poor Sissy has to wait an extra month or two for her wedding present.  Still, I’m on track to deliver it within the first 10 years, so I can’t see she has *much* to complain about!!