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July 2008
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duck quilt

i wanted to make a baby quilt that wasn’t babyish – cute but not twee. i don’t think i did too bad a job.

i learned more about fabric design working with my spoonflower fabrics (i.e. it’s much easier – and more economical – to work with non-directional prints than directional ones).

i learned how to starch properly, following the method here instead of the one on the side of the pack, and found how much easier it makes piecing and applique and making binding (i.e. i didn’t use it on the binding and it was a pig to sew).

i learned that attempting to machine applique a few mm from the edge of the piece doesn’t really cut the mustard (although you can’t really tell from any distance).

i learned the tightest curve i can manage with a quilting-length stitch and a walking foot (the answer being “not as tight as these damned circles!”).

i learned (after much swearing) that a blunt needle causes skipped stitches, as does one which is too light for the fabric/layers you’re trying to sew through.

i learned that lots of stopping and starting in quilting is Bad, and that a locking stitch would be a mighty fine thing to have on a quilting machine. having said that, i’m happy enough with the quilting design to overlook the little runs of locking stitches.

i learned that when your poncey adjustable glass-shaded lamp has a note in the box warning you have to hold it when you adjust it in case it falls and the shade breaks you should take this as a sign that it’s crappily designed and will loosen and smash all over your quilt if you so much as look at it and return it immediately to the shop.

i learned that a hoover a good shake out the window and a wash gets broken glass out of quilts :(

i remembered that chopping the edges off a quilt to make it square, whilst Naughty, does indeed make it nicely square and it almost looks well made from a distance :)

i shamelessly stole malka at a stitch in dye’s idea of a curtain wire on the wall, since we had one we weren’t using, and i struggle to take pictures of big stuff on the table. it gives me somewhere to hang projects in progress as well as just making the room look pretty :D

i subconsciously took rather more inspiration than i realised from this little quilt the lovely josie at mr monkeysuit (she of owl quilt fame) made for hillary lang at wee wonderfuls. i checked back on it as i knew it had been somewhere in the back of my mind with the circles and was rather alarmed at quite how similar my duckies ended up :eek: . on the other hand, the inspiration i took for the quilting from this exquisite quilt of alex’s was entirely conscious. i don’t believe i’ve seen the full quilt – i’ve wandered through moonstitches a few times looking in case i missed it but i don’t think i did. i really really want to see it, alex is my quilting heroine.

the top was a little awkward at times, but mostly trouble-free. i set out to use as much of my 3 spoonflower FQs as possible on the top, i worked the design out by cutting up to-scale pieces of coloured paper. the big circle used the bulk of the fabrics and i just played with placing the small circles until it looked right. i would pay slightly more attention to the orientation and arrangement of the little circles if i did it over again.

all the circles are appliqued: starched, pressed around a template and bodgingly stitched a few mm from the edge w/straight stitch – i wouldn’t do this again, i’d rather hand stitch, for that little extra time the finish is miles better. after i’d pieced the large circle i wasn’t happy with the bulk at the centre and i’d read recently someone say they’d had the same and chopped out the middle, so i appliqued another circle over the top then trimmed the underneath away. similarly, i “appliqued” the large circle onto the white ground and then cut out underneath – i did have a trial run at piecing curves and decided that with my sewing skillz this was by far the better way!

the overall size was determined by the backing, which is my one yard print. the finished quilt is 40″x31″ and would have been larger had i not lopped off part of the top i thought i wouldn’t need somewhat prematurely.

i knew what i wanted to do with the basics of the quilting – i have a thing about pintucks, and what i think of as japanese parallel lines of quilting – and i knew i wanted it to be curved and irregular, to keep it from being too stiff. and i wanted to bed the smaller circles firmly in that pool of ripples, without disturbing it too much. but i kind of stalled at that point. i hadn’t realised quite how much the large circle would scream “beach ball” once i’d added the smaller circle in the centre, but i certainly didn’t want to emphasise that by stitching in (or roughly-in-the-vicinity-of :lol: ) the ditches. but when i saw this picture i thought this simple pattern would fit in the segments, echoing the double lines around the small circles. i liked that it would be rather looser to offest the potential for death by quilting elsewhere :D the finished daisy effect isn’t quite in keeping with the mood i was aiming for, but i don’t think it’s a terrible choice.
i picked a binding from my stash, it had to be polka dots really, and happily i had plenty of suitable yellows stashed. the simple joy of bias tape making aside i wouldn’t bother with a single-pass binding again. even using the walking foot i had problems with puckering and – despite my aversion to unpicking – i had to redo it several times until i got anything even vaguely satisfactory. i much prefer the finish on a turned binding, i think i might even revisit the improvised technique i used on the balloon quilt, since it made a nice neat finish without any obviously wandering stitching.

i’ve tried it for size and it’s a perfect fit for the cot, but for the moment it’s staying on the wire so i can take it in properly.

comments

comment from Melissa
time: 12/7/2008, 9:54 pm

Very cute and inspiring. I love your blog.

comment from Sarah
time: 13/7/2008, 1:15 am

That’s a great quilting design! I’m actually a little obsessed with yellow duckies (I’ve had a collection since high school) and this is just screaming my name! I can’t wait to put in an order with Spoonflower one of these days, too. Great, great work! :)

comment from Apryl
time: 13/7/2008, 6:35 am

beautiful quilt! the stitching is georgeous, I only understood about half of the tech sewing/quilting stuff, I don’t know houw to sew aside from putton a button back on something. And I do that rather badly. :)

comment from annieb
time: 13/7/2008, 8:50 pm

I think you did a rather fabulous job actually – the quilting looks amazing…I love the fabric you designed and I think the daisy works beautifully…it’s wonderful

comment from Miaou
time: 13/7/2008, 8:52 pm

Wow, that is beautiful! Your write-up is great, I love to hear how the design ideas come together.

I think it hits the right note too – as you say, cute, but not twee. Love it.

comment from jessica
time: 14/7/2008, 11:16 pm

Excellent post, amazing quilt. thanks for the inspiration.

comment from shannah
time: 18/7/2008, 1:54 am

Your quilt is amazing!!!
I loved reading the thought process/lessons learned.
Beautiful work from start to finish:) I can only imagine the time that went into this, but didn’t you just get this fabric not too long ago?! You are a whirlwind quilting genius!

comment from Cami
time: 18/7/2008, 4:36 pm

I love this! The quiliting is fantastic on this. Love the pattern. Great job

comment from Cascade Lily
time: 22/7/2008, 9:02 pm

Oh it turned out beautifully! What a bugger about your lamp though. Glad the hoover/window/wash solution worked! Well done!

comment from bec
time: 23/8/2008, 5:06 am

wow. i really love what you did with those duckies. just when i didn’t need inspiration. and when i was going to kick my duckies out of the bathroom… :)

comment from Vicki
time: 26/8/2008, 2:50 pm

The whole thing is just wonderful! From the fabric you designed right down to the quilting! I would recommend a free motion/embroidery machine foot for the quilting though. You can quilt non-stop, in any direction until your bobbin runs out! It takes practice, but it’s well worth it.

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