By Keri Blankenship, QM Scrap Squad 2015
Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a select group of reader-sewers who make scrap quilts from the patterns in regular issues of QM. They’re a talented bunch who revel in diving into their stashes and wowing us with their creations.
Have you ever seen a piece of clothing and knew that it was truly meant to be a quilt? I found this skirt at a local thrift shop. The chambray material called to me and I knew it would be part of my next Scrap Squad assignment even before I had the pattern.
The skirt yielded about 4 yards of fabric. It paired perfectly with vintage fabrics in my stash, a white with the same brocade pattern, the butterfly print used in an early 80s quilt, and a print leftover from the 70s. Recycling and stash busting combined.
Originally, I planned one double sized quilt using the Blue Bayou pattern by Kate Colleran from Quiltmaker’s September/October ’15 issue. Two things changed my mind: all the many combinations I found with Electric Quilt 7, and the news that twins are expected to grace our family this winter. Why not make two quilts using the same basic pattern and fabric, but with different outcomes?
When I was accepted to the Scrap Squad, I determined to try as many new or different techniques as possible. I took advantage of that opportunity in these two quilts. I settled on this design from EQ7 planning to turn the blocks and change the focus of the Pinwheel for each quilt.
I started by constructing all the Four Patch and triangle sections. Thinking to err on the side of caution, I squared the sections individually as I sewed the big blocks and then put them together, each quilt individually.
Quilt #1 came together just like the original plan. Perfect! Big smile!
Quilt #2 was different story. As I trimmed the sections for the final block, my brain must have disconnected. I trimmed them 6 inches instead of 6 1/2 inches. Huge oops!
A trimming mistake can be costly when you have limited fabric. Usually miscuts can be rectified by dropping in new scraps of the same colorway, a big reason to go totally scrappy. As it was, I had to get creative. Design board to the rescue. I pondered and turned the remaining sections, finally adding a new design for the center block.
Smaller quilts also give one the opportunity to try different quilting styles. Quilt #1 is free motion quilted with a variegated thread. I traced the design on quilt paper over the fabric to audition my ideas, then sewed it first on a practice piece. It looked good; however, I forgot two important things – each batting and thread combination works differently in free motion.
My sample was 100% cotton batting quilted with cotton thread and a pre-filled bobbin. On the quilt, I used a variegated thread in the top and bobbin with an 80/20 cotton blend fusible batting. The initial results were not as smooth as I liked and there was much un-sewing involved.
Moral: Test using the same fabric, thread, and batting combination that you plan for the original quilt. Overall, I’m satisfied with the final result. It just took some tweaking to get there.
For Quilt #2, I chose straight stitching using a walking foot with a 100% cotton batting and a neutral beige thread top and bobbin combination. Quilt templates were used to plot the design marked with a washable color marker meant for kids’ coloring books. You can see the clear marking in the center block picture above. It’s the best marker that I’ve found and washes out completely with no worries of residue ink popping out in the cold. This method is for washable quilts only. Perfect for baby quilts that will be loved and washed often.
*Always test any marker before using it on your quilt.*
In keeping with the “same but different” theme, I also used two different binding applications.
I didn’t have enough of any one fabric left to bind Quilt #2 so I got scrappy. Using leftover bits and a couple of scrap fabrics, I strip-pieced a section the width of fabric by about 13″ and cut it into bias strips.
This was a fun project and will make a warm cuddly addition to the twin layettes. . . if they are girls, that is. Better get to work on a set for boys, just in case.
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