Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Doll Quilt Swap 10

I am struggling to catch up at the moment. Not only have I not had any time to post here, but I also haven't had time to make anything to write about! I am doing a full 5 day week in the shop on my own where I am very busy with deliveries of new stock. Consequently I have been too tired even to crochet in the evenings. I had a lovely day out with some old friends on Saturday, so that left just Sunday for sewing.

I really needed to get on with the Doll Quilt Swap (quilts need to be posted by the end of March), so I spent most of Sunday and also last night getting the top pieced, above. It is 19" square and took me 9 hours to piece!! How can it have taken so long?! I really picked a labourious method to use!
Here is a quick run-down of the method I used to make this. I used to use this method a lot when I made my first Art Quilts years ago, and at the time I am pretty sure I made it up (this was before the internet when everyone worked much more in isolation), though I'm sure other people are using very similar methods now. Though, after what I just said about how time consuming it is, I am not sure I would recommend it!
I used a light weight inter-facing as a foundation, the sort of thing dressmakers use for waist bands. I drew the whole design on to it with pencils and numbered the quarter blocks.
Then I cut them all up into 16 squares.
Machine piece segments, folding back, pressing and trimming as you go, until all the foundation on inner 'ring' is covered. Make sure your fabric overlaps the edge of the foundation by at least a quarter inch.
Cut the interfacing along the first 'ring' line, but trim fabric leaving a quarter inch seam.
Then piece your next 'outer ring', trim with quarter inch seams and piece using what I have always called a 'drunkards path' method, both to the inner quarter and then to a plain fabric background. Basically just very gently 'massage sew' these 2 curved pieces together. They look like they are going in opposite directions when they are laid on top of each other, but if you sew them carefully together, a little at a time, you will piece your curve. I am sure you will find a better explanation of this on the web somewhere!
Trim quarters before sewing together to make one block. Don't worry if it is wonky, it is hard to be 'point perfect' using this method!
I hope that is some help to you all, but if you try this, don't say I didn't warn you!
The weekend before I had managed to make a small start and had pieced this first block.
But even though I got lots of positive comments when I put this photo in the group pool, when I came back to it the following week I just wasn't sure it was going the way I wanted. My initial impulse is always to 'mix it up' but I felt like I should rein myself in a bit for this quilt (or rather, I think my partner would prefer that!), so I used one combintation of purple and green for each 'whirlygig'. I used the same maroon colour throughout though it looks slightly different from having a lighter or darker purple next to it. The photo at the top is the finished result.
I think I am pleased with it (well I'm certainly not starting again after all that work!). I plan to use embroidery and hand quilting and that will emphasis the design more. The original design (which you can see here) had 5 whirlygigs (with one in the middle), but this was just too much for my little brain, so instead I may quilt a subtle fifth in to the middle.
Next is the border, I am planning a spiky, sawtooth one which will include the brighter raspberry colour that is in the initial block but got left out of the new ones.

Right, back to opening boxes!


  1. Those are really cute blocks!!!! I had a former student of mine use the examining paper from doctor's offices when making her foundation blocks.... She worked in a clinic and could get huge rolls of the paper!!

    Quiltingly Yours

  2. I love the blocks! It is going to be wonderful!