I started this quilt as a stashbuster project and fell in and out of love with it as I progressed, but now it’s finished I’m delighted with it. It’s based on a Sew Hip pattern (issues 36 to 39) and it’s a really good beginner project as it introduces you to lots of different easy block patterns. I didn’t do quite the ones suggested but swapped around which patterns were done in which colours, and made some up some of the appliqued ones myself too.
If you’re not too familiar with quilt-making, the patchwork blocks (red, yellow, blue, indigo) are made from pieced bits of cut fabric (I did them all by hand but that’s just personal preference). The appliqued ones (orange, green, violet) are made by laying a cut shape on top of a backing piece, and sewing it on, either using a decorative stitch (as I did, using the machine) or by tucking the edges under and sewing invisibly, depending on the finish you want.
I was pleased with the finished project because it’s so colourful, and it also allowed me to try out some new techniques, from free machine embroidery (you need a special foot for your machine but other than that it’s like scribbling on fabric which is fun), to using lots of different shapes and fabrics. I almost managed the whole thing from my stash – thanks to Zoë for most of the orange 🙂 I just had to buy one more orange fat quarter so it was a bit of a bargain.
The main reason I had a spat of non-love for the quilt was that it got more complicated than I expected. I hadn’t intended to do much actual quilting on it (that’s the decorative stitching you do over the top, partly for effect, and partly to hold the layers together). But in my efforts to use up my stash I pieced together lots of small bits of wadding for the middle layer and so really needed to do some quilting to keep them in place. I just went round each of the squares with small running stitches by hand while watching the Olympics in my week off. You can quilt on the machine too, but again, you really need a special walking foot to hold the thick layers together.
I also got a bit more ambitious with the back, and actually made another whole quilt rather than using one single piece of fabric! This was another stash-busting effort, this time using up old clothes and pieces of more textured material like velvet and corduroy that I had left over from other projects. I started off making squares, and then filled in gaps with extra strips to make it look more interesting. You can see that I also incorporated a few fun features like the pocket from a pair of jeans and the button from a pair of trousers. I did all of the back on the machine, sewing in strips and then joining them together. I edged the whole quilt using single fold bias tape I bought in a job lot from eBay last year.
The final finishing touch was the little Olympic feature, which felt fitting because of the bright colours, and the fact that I had spent most of the first week of the Olympics making the quilt. I did that by hand because the pieces were small and fiddly.
I was very glad to have the whole thing finished as it had turned into such a mammoth project, but I love the result and it will always remind me of our home Olympics. And for the price of a fat quarter it was a bit of a bargain and cleared the decks in my sewing corner as well 🙂