A couple of years ago my daughter asked me if I would make her a black and white quilt to go in her newly decorated bedroom. She wanted the Charming Flowers design from Pam and Nicky Lintott’s book ‘Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts’ which I’d just made into quilt top in from batik fabrics (another UFO!) She agreed to varying shades of grey too but I was surprised how long it took me to amass enough fabric, the pattern called for a layer cake, as I couldn’t find a black and white layer cake I was buying various fat quarter collections.
I finally had sufficient fabric and cut and pieced it fairly easily, apart from my usual dilemma when faced with trying to arrange fabrics randomly!! I added a dark grey border, all I had to do was quilt it. I confess my original plan was to send it to our local long arm quilter, Christine Marriage, She quilted a king-size quilt for me before and it was stunning and was quite reasonably priced for the work involved. Unfortunately the pennies I had put on one side were spent on other things…and it sat for months in my sewing room, looking at me reproachfully.
Earlier this year I had first attempt at machine quilting a cot quilt, having been inspired by various quilts on facebook. Whilst I’m still at the bottom end of a huge learning curve, it was enough to encourage me to have a go at quilting Helen’s quilt. At first I was planning a free-motion quilting design of flowers, I was hesitating because I knew I could so easily make a complete mess of it! Then, I saw on facebook a quilt with an off-centre diamond quilting pattern, I could do that I thought, and it would tie in with the off centre stars!
Enthused again, I trotted out to the shops and bought some Warm and Natural wadding, some grey variegated Guterman quilting thread and some double width cotton for the back. After much searching I found my mother’s walking foot (I wondered what it was for!!) and even treated myself to some flower head pins!
I lay the quilt on my dining room table to tack the sandwich together. I smoothed it out as much as possible and then basted every two rows. I know a lot of people just use safety pins but I wanted to know it was secure! Then I quilted it…I started in the centre of the quilting design and worked my way out. It was very bulky for the first few diamonds, trying to turn the whole quilt in a domestic sewing machine, but it did get easier with each row. I felt I should probably be stitching in alternate directions, I’m sure I’ve read that somewhere, but I couldn’t face all the bulk that would entail! One thing I did find out is that I’m not very good at sewing in a straight line diagonally across a square, some of the lines are definitely wavy, but it will hopefully come with practice!
I spent Sunday hand stitching the binding down. I always have to get instructions out when I’m binding round a corner to make sure I get the mitre right, I have never quite followed the geometry involved to know how it works, but it does and that’s all that matters!
All I had to do now was embroider a label for the back and the quilt was finally finished. Helen is delighted with it and snuggled straight into it. I’m pleased with the quilt, both the piecing and the quilting, it’s not perfect but it’s finished and I’ve learnt a lot in the process.