(post written August 2011 but languished as a draft for months)
This week’s been perfect summer weather, and we haven’t had much of that this year here in Seattle. Even so I’m calling my new quilt “Seattle Summer”. Most of the fabric is from Moda’s line Summer House – such a pretty and fresh collection of prints.
With this quilt I tried out a new pattern – Hugs and Kisses by Jaybird Quilts.I rarely buy patterns. Usually, I can pretty much figure out how to construct a block by looking at it or drafting my own design on graph paper. I’ve found that when I do have a pattern, more often than not, I don’t follow it, either because I prefer to use other construction techniques, or because I can’t figure out what the pattern writer is saying . But construction of the Hugs and Kisses quilt was really easy. While it’s intended for use with jelly rolls or 2 ½ inch strips cut from width of fabric, it worked out just fine to use my fat quarters. I think I actually preferred using shorter strips a) because there is less likelihood of experiencing the dread bowed-strip piecing and b) because I was able to get more variety in my sets of 3 fabrics, making for a more randomized dispersal of fabrics in the finished quilt. (If you are using a jelly roll, you could always cut each strip in half and get those same perks) For the background fabric, I decided to use 4 different creamy whites from my stash – I like the dimension you get in a quilt that has a slight variations in color and pattern. I also mixed in some coordinating but not completely matched solid fabrics from my stash – there’s a greeny-yellow, a pink, a green, and a solid blue that aren’t from the Summer House line. I just like to mix it up a little bit. Plus, if I make a dent in that stash, I can rationalize buying more fabrics, right?
I’d say that Hugs and Kisses is a great pattern for a confident beginner –maybe not the ideal very first quilt, but certainly something that a novice can take on without frustration. Of course accurate cutting and a consistent ¼ inch seam allowance are always important. There is also just a little fussy attention needed for aligning the background piece (white on my quilt) with the stripped piece. Not every one of my points is perfectly matched, but I’m not about to point out the booboos on my finished quilt. I’ve kind of come to the point where I don’t worry about everything being perfect. I just keep sewing, finish it up, and figure that the finished product will be great, imperfections and all.
My backing is also from my stash – I used Kona solids—I believe the blue is called Peacock, and then I have wide strips of two greens, Grass and Chartreuse, with scraps of Summer house interspersed.
I used an 80% cotton/20%poly batting – I think this one was from Hobbs. I like the blend for lighter weight quilts, and given that this is a summery quilt, I wanted it to be light yet quite crinkly textured after washing.
My quilting is all free motion, unmarked/improv, and done in a cream colored thread on both top and bottom. I did loose swirls and spirals, with the occasional paisley or feather thrown in. I always free motion stitch my name into quilts somewhere near the end of the project, so if you search, it’s in there somewhere. I used 10 bobbins for the free motion work. I have no idea how much thread is on a bobbin, but it’s kind of my personal measure of how much quilting is in a quilt. I average 30 – 40 minutes of steady quilting to a bobbin. I have a rule for myself that I have to get up and walk around and stretch with every bobbin change. – so, yeah, a lot of time and thread in the quilting on this one.
PS – Why yes, I did take my quilt on a photo shoot. Some photos are from Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island, while others are from a neighborhood park and my yard. I’ve found that photographing quilts in public is possibly the most effective way to embarrass teen sons. You might notice I use old skirt hangers, the kind with spring loaded clips, to hold the quilt—they hook well into a gutter or a tree branch.