Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Quilt

How the weather vane pattern should have looked.
Jess and I have been into patchwork recently and after a couple of really nice results, we thought we would make a quilt for Mum for Mothers day.  We flipped through a pioneer patchwork book and picked a pattern called "Weather Vane".  We added a couple of tweaks (that is, we put a different center in each patch) and from there determined how big it would have to be for Mum and Dad's queen-size bed.  Initially we thought a 16-patch quilt with borders would be nice.  Optimistically, we sneaked the meter-ruler up to Mum and Dad's room and measured out how big such a quilt would be on the bed.  Grace and I just stood up, gazed at each other and couldn't stop laughing.  A 16-patch quilt with borders would cover the bed and drape the floor ten centimeters in every direction.  We decided to tone it down a little and make it a nine patch instead with borders.

My 358 squares
As we are somewhat limited in our variety of materials, Jess and I decided that the patches would be pink, light blue and tan and we would get a darker colour later for the borders and the backing.  All up we - that is a bit Grace, a bit Jess and mainly me ;) ) cut 86 tan squares, 128 blue squares and 144 pink squares.  Being me, I didn't bother much about accuracy and most of the pink squares ended up bigger than everything else, so we had to trim and cut as we went.  I swear I am so sick of triangles.  There were at least 32 of them in each patch and as Jess isn't so confident on the sewing machine, I sewed most of the horrible little things up.  Blegh!  I was so tired of them by the time we had done.  As I mentioned before, we had a different center in each patch.  From top left to bottom right running horizontally, the centers are called waterwheel, swastika, broken dishes, next door neighbour, churn dash, star of the west, four-patch, something, and pinwheel.  Some of them were so tricky to put together.  Jess wanted to put a mini weather vane in the center patch which would have been pretty cool, but by that time, we were so sick of little pieces, we abandoned the idea nearly as quickly as we downed our bowl of pop corn at afternoon tea break.  :P

The quilt - badly in need of an iron  :P
In order to make quilts at a relatively low cost, we get our material at the op-shop here in town.  we sort through the piles of sheets and doona covers until we find what we want.  Then we bring it home and chop it up.  :D  Last Saturday, we asked Dad to take us down so we could get something for the borders and backing and some flannelette sheets for the filling.  We really wanted a dark blue, but everything we found was too small to be worth getting.  Finally, we found a length of material that would work.  It was ribbed and stretchy, but we thought we could make it work.  Ha!  Never again.  Yeah, it looks nice now, but it stretched and bunched and slid while we were working it until Jess and I were both at our wit's ends.  But it was all we had so we wrestled it into place.
At last the quilt top was finished and we were rather pleased with our handy work.  Then came the backing.  We didn't have quite enough of the material to do a backing in strips like we had planned, so we had to cut and patch to make it fit.  Then we cut the flannelette to size and attempted to bring it all together.  Honestly, you would not believe how heavy the thing is.  It was a challenge to drag it along while sewing the binding (I heat a little here and use the machine).  I must say, I am less than happy with the binding.  It is rather uneven, but there was nothing I could do about it, so that's the way it is.  We then set the machine up on
And just to get an idea of the size of it, here's Rose in the center patch.  :)
the ironing board for convenience and tried to sew the final seams down and across the entire quilt to keep the layers together.  We were sadly disappointed.  Because of the weight in the quilt, the dark blue fabric stretched and bunched and made the patched bunch as well.  I was so frustrated, but there was naught else to do but spread it out on the floor and hand sew the running stitch up and down and across.  Which is what I was doing before I decided to make Anzac biscuits and write on my blog.  :P  We have probably done about 1/4 of the sewing that needs to be done, so we will need to get a move on at some point.  *sigh*  Hand sewing is not my favourite activity.  Anyway, I suppose it is not too bad - just a bit loose and bunchy looking.  I guess Mum will like it anyway.  :D  I think perhaps I might do things a bit differently next time... like a pattern suited to my level of abilities at this stage... ;P


  1. Wow that does look lovely and rather tricky... I was not going to attempt something with so many tiny pieces. Strips made it much easier... You have done really well!

    1. Thanks Clare! Yeah, it was a challenge, but then again the beauty in small pieces is that there is less room to sew a crooked line! :P

  2. Amazing! It looks lovely!
    My sewing skills are nowhere near good enough to try a quilt. XD
    Great work!

    1. Thankyou so much Rosie! It doesn't really take a whole lot to make a simple quilt... when we get together sometime, I'll show you some cheat tricks. ;)

  3. It looks really good Emily!
    I am currently hand sewing one with smallish squares (I was too scared to try triangles)

    1. Thanks Alice. :) I tried hand sewing a hexagon quilt once and gave up. It was really hard, and I don't enjoy hand sewing that much... good on you for doing it! :) I'd love to see it sometime. :)