For the past few months I have been working on a quilt for my friend. She was the one who actually found the pattern and sent it to me, the quilter, lamenting about her lack of quilting skillz despite her abundance of awesome sewing skills (she makes particularly kick-ass purses). When I got the pattern I actually didn’t love it immediately. What I loved was the piecing and the neat shapes but I thought that the colors were weird. The bright red/magentas and pinks looked too contrast-y with the teal, blues and greens. But after a while of always opening up the pattern and looking at it, I really started to like it. Now I think the tea/magenta contrast is awesome and I love the bohemian/morroccan feel to the colors and shapes. It kind of makes sense since Anna Maria Horner’s previous collection had a bohemian fabric theme.
Unfortunately for me I should have bought the fabric right away because many of them proved very difficult to find a few years after they were released.
I found most of them here. They have a great selection with tons and tons of designers and it was fast and easy–nice that you can get free shipping if you buy over a certain amount. Etsy and eBay came in big time and helped me out.
I was also lucky to have found this website, which listed a glaring error in the pattern.
ERRATA: G – Cut 16 using Shadow HDAH03 Rose
Should read: G- Cut 8 RIGHT SIDE & Cut 8 WRONG SIDE using Shadow HDAH03 Rose
I made plastic templates of some of the more difficult quilt pieces. It was a huge help. The plastic was hard enough so that I felt comfortable running a rotary blade against the edge. I traced the shapes with a permanent marker, cut them out and then labeled the “right side” and “wrong side” since it makes a huge difference in this quilt. Mike D came over to help with some of the rectangle cutting (his first time using a rotary cutter–yay for new techniques). He hilariously joked “So, measure once, cut twice, right?” which made me laugh and laugh and laugh. In actuality I ended up measuring 8 times and cutting twice.
NOTE ABOUT THE PIECES AND THE TEMPLATE:
This pattern isn’t the most wonderfully written probably due to it’s FREE nature. The template says to blow up the size to 200%. I took my template to Kinko’s to blow it up in black and white (cheaper) on a huge piece of paper. Pretty painless but it does cost $$. Do not use a ruler to measure the template! It is not right. I found this out the hard way by sewing a tester block and realizing that all the sizes were completely wrong. Thank goodness for tester blocks. I then recut most of my pieces to the right size. Good thing they were all larger than necessary. It is easier to reduce than to enlarge already cut fabric.
I figured out many of the dimensions and I will post them as soon as I can find my notes sheet.
I found the most fun was fussy cutting the birds that were going to be featured in the bird cages. I tried to choose varing angles so that no two cages would be exactly alike. I found the two blue and pink bird fabrics to be the most beautiful. I have some yardage left over and I hope to make some other things from it.
Because some of the lines of fabric in the pattern weave in and around the “bird cages” I had to organize a lot before taking the pieces to the sewing machine.
After this organizational step, I chain sewed the pieces together one to one, ironed the seams open according to splityarn and put them in decending piles of dual pieced blocks. Then each dual pieces was sewn in order to make quad pieces and so on until each long quilt row was made. The pattern has 4 repeats of 3. After making all 12 rows, I sewed the rows together to make the 4 repeats.
I have to admit that I was a little annoyed trying to get all the points to line up. The pattern wants you to piece it together this way, which I understand because it’s the easiest, but I’m not a good enough quilter to understand how to ensure quilting OCD glory with such weird shapes and weird seams.
I appologize for the shit-tastic-ness of this next picture, but I took it with my camera phone b/c I left my camera charger at work. Needless to say, I have a not-smart phone. And it is ancient (6 years!).
One of the really cool things about this quilt is that all the fabric is home dec weight. So the quilt is heavy and thick and totally awesome for winter. And with the bright colors, what a great blanket to see in the dead of a New England winter, right?
After finishing the quilt top, I made the backing out of Shadow in Ivory (HDA H03). You guys, I had JUST enough. Seriously. That was so freaking lucky. I just about covered the back of the quilt. I did some stitching in the ditch for my quilting. Nothing fancy. The quilt was so heavy duty with 2 layer of home dec plus extra fluffy batting (Twin size batting: 90 x 72) that I doubt my craptastic sewing machine could handing any kind of fancy quilting anyway. I ended up not quilting cage bars on my cages because I didn’t like how it looked and I didn’t like the idea. My caged birds are free!
I was going to do double fold binding, but I didn’t have time to hand sew the entire binding so I ended up doing a machine sewn bias tape binding. I made the bias tape using my trusty bias tape maker and some Shadow in Gold (HDA H03). I think it came out pretty well. Some areas should have been taken out and redone, but I hand stitched and reinforced any weak areas.
I was really excited about how it came out. I was going to wash and dry it before giving it away but a broken washing machine prevented that. So I tried to de-fur and de-thread it as much as possible before presenting it on the day before her birthday. The fabrics are nice and clean since I always wash, dry and iron my fabrics before quilting (you should too!). Read more about it here and see more pictures.
I thought the hardest part was going to be sewing. And I thought the cutting was going to be challenging too. After the cutting was actually pretty easy and straight forward, I was dreading the sewing. But the sewing was fine once I figured out how to line up the seams, which didn’t take too long since I sewed the tester block first. I would definitely make this quilt again if I found more cool fabric. I’m DEFINITELY going to make a home dec weight quilt in the future. Heavy and warm!
Hope you’re flirty and thriving, Darcy!