Monday, 27 June 2011

Happy Birthday Quilt

Not too long ago my fantastic mother turned 60.

My Mum

I wanted to make something really special for her birthday that she could keep and cherish. I have been planning this quilt for about 9 months. The morning sickness and exhaustion of early pregnancy put a major hold on any creative endeavours and then a Christmas trip to the UK and a post Christmas trip to a flooded Brisbane increased my delay in actually choosing a quilt to make let alone buying fabric and actually starting. In January I browsed through my friend Melissa Fox's quilting books and magazines trying to choose a pattern. Nothing felt right and eventually I settled on a Japanese style pattern with large applique circles on it. I then spent months browsing for fabric and found some great options but I just never committed to actually buying. In the end I decided that the pattern was just wrong for Mum. So, on the spur of the moment I went to my trusty fall back fabric store Bird Textile. I was so lucky, in the remnants packs I happened to find some AMAZING large prints that were too beautiful to pass up. I walked out with three beautiful large 'blocks' in blue and a few packs of green and brown remnants to make up the rest of the quilt. Next step, design a quilt.

Two of the three main 'blocks' that I feel in love with at Bird

I browsed online quilt blogs for HOURS and stared at the fabric I had for HOURS and then I asked pretty much everyone around me for advice (even my midwife during an antenatal check up!!). I just didn't 'feel' how the quilt was supposed to look and I was unsure how to best feature and integrate the three main blocks that I had my heart set on. I started making Flying Geese from this great tutorial and the quilt started to feel a bit more focused. I then saw some great traditional Japanese blocks online and decided that they fit in the style of the bird textile prints.

These blocks were a challenge I can tell you! I had seen a picture but had no pattern or measurements so I made them up. I have a full page of scrawled maths in my notebook from trying to figure out how big to cut every strip so that, after the seam allowance was taken into consideration, they would end up being the 12" I needed to fit with my other blocks. Yeah that kinda worked... I then decided that they needed to be 'on point' to really work. This involved yet more maths, thank god for the Internet that helped me work out the formula to come up with the correct size corner triangles. whew. I am not 100% happy with these blocks. They look a bit like something else to me (even though they are not) I won't bias your opinion by telling you but see if you see it for yourselves...

The quilt came together over months of bits of sewing here and bits of sewing there and bits of sewing done by the marvellous Sarah Mac (she made a lot of Geese for me). I knew I had to finish the quilt before the baby was born or Mum would be 70 before it was ever gifted to her. After a few whole weekend sewing efforts I hand stitched the last stitch last night...4 days after my due date. My husband thinks that I haven't been able to give birth until the quilt is finished...I guess we shall see now :)

Gift wrapped at last

The full quilt

oooh draped :)

close up detail

Lovely Bird Textile binding

A happy Mum with her new quilt