Raised Beds

I wanted to design a low contrast baby quilt using the Beatrix Potter fat quarter set I bought recently. Going with the Peter Rabbit theme, I wanted the quilt to look like a garden design with raised beds for the different vegetables.

This was very quick and simple to piece, though it took a bit of math to get the blocks right so that they would be the right width for the strip of 5 blocks as well as for the strips of 4 blocks.  In the end I chose to use 4 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch pieces as well as 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch pieces. The raised bed borders are 1 1/2 inches, the paths lengthwise between the beds are 2 1/2 inches, and the other border and path strips are 3 1/2 inches. The finished quilt measures 35 by 43 inches.

I had fun choosing the different quilting motifs for each raised bed, then filled in the rest of the quilt with feathers and stripes. This part took much longer than the piecing. I wanted to keep the quilt low contrast, but add a bit of zing, so decided to use a scrappy binding.

One great thing about this design is that it used very little of the fat quarter collection, only a 6 1/2 inch strip from each fat quarter. That means I can go back and design another baby quilt using the same fabric. Just for fun I want to make this design again in bright, high contrast fabrics. I have just the fat quarter collection in my stash.

Windmills

While I was playing with 6 x 3 inch rectangles, I got out a fat quarter collection I had bought a couple of years ago from the Fat Quarter Shop online. My thinking was that 6 x 3 inch rectangles would be very fat quarter friendly, and they are; I got 21 rectangles from each fat quarter. This collection had twelve prints, and I set out to design a block that would use each print once.

I call the resulting block “Windmills”. The rectangles are organized in groups of 3 around a central 3 inch square, in this case a light yellow. I laid out the rectangles randomly, with the only rule being each block should contain all twelve fabrics. Once the block is pieced and trimmed, it is 13 inches square, which makes a nice size to create a baby quilt, like this one, with 9 blocks.

I quilted it with my walking foot using an echoing random zigzag pattern.

I have another fat quarter collection that I am eyeing, but I may be ready to move on from 6 x 3 inch rectangles. Only time will tell.

Hit and Miss

I know I was planning to do something with triangles, but as I paged through my quilt books for inspiration I decided to work with rectangles instead. This design is a random placement of blue rectangles 6 x 3 inches, with an occasional yellow for contrast and interest.

Once again I used Melissa Marginet’s book to choose a walking foot quilting design (Hallways). I have the feeling that if I work my way through that book I will be a better quilter by the end of it.

I thought a scrappy binding would be suitable, and I lazily chose to sew the whole thing on by machine.

The quilt is destined for my newest nephew, but I liked it so much I couldn’t bear to part with it, so I made a second, identical quilt for later use.

Sometimes I like to think about what it is about quilting that I actually enjoy, and as I worked on this quilt I tried to track it. I noticed that I enjoyed each step: collecting, planning, cutting, laying out, piecing, quilting, making the binding and attaching it. But the overarching enjoyment is working with the beautiful fabric, because that’s what each step involves – touching and looking at the fabric. Secondly, I like the sense of order that piecing a pattern gives me. And thirdly, I like bringing into reality something beautiful from my imagination.

Design Challenge

A couple of summers ago I came across this magnificent canola field near the Lake Huron shore. The photograph doesn’t do the scene justice, because what you can’t see is the thunderstorm brewing overhead, and of course you can’t feel the heat and humidity of the summer day.

The scene I saw that day has been inspiring me ever since, and I’ve decided to do a design challenge: to translate the canola field experience into all forms of fibre art that I can.

Over the coming weeks I’m looking forward to showing you canola inspired embroidery, rug hooking, quilting, weaving, and possibly knitting.

If you’re interested, why not join me in this challenge?