Quilting in Quarantine - piecing together a quilt top

Quilting in Quarantine - piecing together a quilt top

Right now, lots of people are staying at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Whilst I'm still out doing my job as a key worker, I am also staying at home more which means more time for crafting. I've taken advantage of Bluprint's free access to develop some new skills, one of which being Quilting. I got a taste for it whilst making memory T-Shirt quilts (guide here) and wanted to have a go at something more advanced and intricate, as a break from dressmaking (there's only so many clothes you need when everyone is staying indoors).


Finding a pattern

It's perfectly possible to make a quilt from squares and rectangles, but I wanted something with more design that would blend into our home decor a little more. I spent ages looking for patterns that used neutral colours. Pinterest is one of the platforms I use most when I'm casting about for inspiration and not really sure what I'm looking for. If you want, you can check out my board here

I was very tempted by a few patterns, and came to realise I wanted something using geometric patterns. I was also interested in ideas which used negative space. I was concerned about the size of quilt that I can get through my small home sewing machine so was also looking for patterns that aren't too big - a lot are huge! Eventually though it was a free pattern that I came across on Bluprint, which also has a free video in YouTube to go with it too, that I went for: the Feathered Arrows Quilt. It looked simple enough for me to manage whilst looking a little more advanced than squares.

There are lots of free patterns by Art Gallery Fabrics here which you should definitely check out if you are trying to find a pattern.

Quilting in Quarantine - piecing together a quilt top

Sourcing supplies

So the clever thing to do is to find a pattern, then source supplies. That's not what I did. I bought a ton of Liberty quilting fabric from Sewbox when I had a discount code from them. In total I bought 8 fat quarters from them, plus 3 metres each of the background and backing fabrics direct from Liberty in their sale. I bought all the fabrics from the same collection, limiting to two of the colourways in the fat quarters and a pale background to make sure the colours harmonised as much as possible. I'm still fairly new to quilting but tried to maintain a large proportion of similar colour value with accents in a darker value to sit against the background (light value). I had to copy and paste images onto a document and then apply a greyscale filter in order to establish this properly. 

The backing fabric I used is not an extra wide fabric. It is a regular width, so I had to cut the fabric in half and stitch it together again to double up the width.

(If you are wondering what I mean by 'value' it's a whole colour theory thing that's supposed to make sure your colours don't jar together or emphasise the wrong area. It's huge - if you google quilting value you'll see loads on it. This blog post is quite handy. Whilst Bluprint have free classes, I also watched one about colour in knitting, which talked about value and would be just as handy for quilting as knitting)

I also bought more of the same batting that I used in my previous quilts from Minerva Crafts.

I already had spray baste, a quilting foot, curved safety pins and quilting needles for my sewing machine from previous makes, so it was pretty much fabric focused.

Quilting in Quarantine - piecing together a quilt top

Construction

I enjoyed constructing this quilt top. It is a big project to get into as cutting and piecing takes a lot longer than dressmaking. It's very precise too, but on the other hand it doesn't need fitting! It's all straight line stitching, pressing and trimming. Very methodical and not at all stressful.

I adjusted the pattern to add another column of colour because I wanted a larger quilt than called for. I also added background panels for more length as well. It wasn't a good job - my maths was out so they aren't all in one piece - there is more than one seam that I am going to have to incorporate into a quilted motif along the way. I really liked the pattern and found it easy to follow, with lots of helpful diagrams.

It was helpful to have the YouTube video as well; it's short and not as thorough as a full on class but I thought it was enough to get going with alongside my existing skill set. I'm going to have to take advantage of the free access to Bluprint for free motion quilting though as this is completely new to me. There's a fair amount of straight line quilting that I can manage with my walking foot to start with though (you can see I've already made a start in one of the photos to get the quilt basted together).

Next up - machine quilting.
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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm a lifelong foodie, so you'll also find some delicious recipes and places to get that foodie fix.
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