The QM Scrap Squad is a select group of seven QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and create their own scrappy versions to inspire you.
This quilt is found on the cover of the Jan/Feb ’13 issue of Quiltmaker.
It’s Caribbean Vacation, designed and sewn by Denise Starck, QM’s Graphic Designer. It was quilted by Hatty Brown. The fabrics are Dear Stella.
Today’s featured quilt was made by Bonnie Stapleton from Powhatan, Virginia. Bonnie blogs here. You’ll hear from Bonnie in her own words below.
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I like “think” time when I’m going to start a new quilt. I spend a bit of time in the studio fondling stash fabric. Once I decide on colors, I pull what I can in hopes that I will have enough without purchasing more. I may change my mind about fabrics several times during my think time.
The cutting and sewing for Carribean Vacation came just around Thanksgiving. I was decorating the house for Christmas. Why not make a Christmas quilt, one where I could use short pieces rather than yardage? I pulled my box of Christmas fabric and gathered red, green and gold/beige fabrics along with some pretty prints for the center squares. I made up two sample blocks using different prints in the center.
Oops. Didn’t look so great to me. Too busy. Time to make a change. I purchased a couple of yards of a mottled red to go in the center. I tried making another sample block or two. The less busy fabric really helped. I also attempted to draw the block in EQ7 so I could print out a color copy, but I never got the colors placed in the right location. I tried hand coloring and still didn’t get it right. I made a sheet with my color substitutions but I did that wrong, too. I started on the units despite this problem.
This was a great quilt to use chain piecing. I stitched lengths of 20 units and then doubled them up twice so that I could clip between the units, several at a time. After ironing I pinned them in groups of ten – an easy way to keep track of how many I had made.
As I put the blocks together I realized I hadn’t gotten the colors correct on the last drawing attempt nor on my substitute list. The weirdest part was that I hadn’t followed my own instructions correctly either—so I had the right number of pieces in the right colors. Definitely dumb luck. I was so grateful to have the correct number and color of blocks!
Because this block needed certain colors in certain positions I posted my “recolored” drawing of the block next to my sewing machine and I checked it frequently. Luckily I didn’t have a lot of frog stitching to do: rip it, rip it!
As I was piecing, I thought about the backing. The queen size quilt needed over eight yards of fabric and two long seams. Not my idea of fun! I found a great Christmas-green wide backing to use instead.
I loaded the project on Ruthie, my longarm, and thought about how I wanted to quilt it. I knew I wanted something special in the center of the blocks, but I hate to start and stop a lot. I found the solution in a simple heart-shaped leaf pantograph. I used the leaf on the borders and then did a stipple with loops in the center of the quilt. When I came to the center squares I quilted hearts in all directions. Sometimes I echo quilted them, sometimes I used only a single heart. It worked well to soften the straight lines in the quilt.
In no time I had the binding on and was sewing it down by hand. There was a waiting period before I could get pictures of the quilt – we were having cloudy weather. One beautiful Saturday I hung it from my deck railing and got a picture of most of it. It’s hard to take a picture of a queen size quilt.
I decided to use one of the sample blocks for my label. I took the block apart and substituted muslin in center. I added my info and backed it with muslin, right sides together. I stitched the edges, cut a small slash in the center of the backing fabric and turned it. I ironed it flat and hand sewed it on the back of the quilt. I quilted around the center block making sure I didn’t catch the front of the quilt.
It’s been a great year and I’ve made more quilts this year than I have in several years. I wish the incoming Scrap Squad members a year as great as ours has been.
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This Christmas version is so much fun! Please join me in thanking Bonnie for a job well done on the 2012 Scrap Squad. Just one quilt to go from the 2012 team. Stay tuned!