Amazingly Large Commission Quilt

Today I am discussing a wonderful commission I recently received thanks to connections in Chile – a large, purple, King size bed quilt commission!

The exciting part about this venture is that I feel a bit like a cultural ambassador since quilting is not something that has existed in Chile in any form, as a national craft, or even really as an imported concept, as far as I could ever tell when I lived there. Chileans have adopted almost all of the commodities, fetishes, holidays, opinions, advances, and pathologies of the hegemonic neighbor of the north, but quilting has not as yet widely been one of them.

The only request was that regarding the size and the purpleness of the quilt – anything besides that was up to me.

Considering the size of the thing and the very real space and technologies limitations I have, I decided that using a Quilt As You Go method was my best choice.

This technique involves making, essentially, many individual mini quilts the size of a traditional quilt block – sewing the backing, batting, quilt pattern, together – and once you have the number you need, sewing them together into one big piece, with a strip of fabric on either size holding them together.



back of quilt showing joints/strips

 In my case, I made 90 mini quilts so as to be able to create this giant.

For the quilt pattern itself, I decided that going for something akin to a Foundation Piecing technique:

Foundation piecing is a traditional method that’s had a dramatic rebirth since the early 1990s. Miniature quilt enthusiasts were among the first to rediscover foundation piecing, because when the method is done correctly, blocks are perfect every time, even when they are sewn with tiny patches.” (from about.com)

This technique allows a person essentially to make a very intricate pattern with very precise edges but with little in the way of cutting. This cuts out on a lot of unnecessary mistakes and makes for a more pleasing edge.

You essentially put together your backing and batting, then lay a central square on your block. Then you place another square, with the fabric facing the central square, then you turn it over at the angle you want, sew it down. Then you do the same with a third square, and so on. A more exhaustive tutorial can be found at WikiHow and a video can be found at Fons & Porters quilting site.

This method permitted me to create the spiral, but almost rose petal like pattern .seen here. Each of these if you look carefully you can tell they have been folded over.
 
I’m overall pleased with the result, though I fear I may have actually made it too big! In any event, bigger would probably be better than too small, because a person could always fold it over, but not much can be done about ‘not enough’.
 
I do hope that my client likes the quilt! This has been my 4th commission, and the first one of this size.
 
Hope everyone is having a lovely day!

Work in Progress: Selvage Quilt

Hi friends! I wanted to share a current project of mine: a selvage quilt. For those unfamiliar with the concept, I hope to introduce fellow quilters to a fun, eclectic way to reuse waste, save on fabric, and push thriftiness to the edge.
 
The selvage is the strip that goes on the edge of the yard of fabric, and it usually contains the name of the designer and/or producer, the colors used, and other bits of information such as the date of production, batch numbers, etc. Just like in product packaging, these bits of information are used in part to demo how the colours will show up once printed.

For an ‘official’ definition of selvage, one can visit Wikipedia here. Though many quilters have encountered this piece of fabric countless times, how many have used them as a basis for constructing a quilt? Common wisdom suggests that these pieces must be discarded before starting any sewing project, but being the rebel that I am, I don’t usually. For some time I’ve been saving these pieces of usually discarded bits of fabric, because I found them interesting enough to do something with them.


I’m using a “quilt-as-you-go” method, which is something like a jigsaw puzzle approach to quilting – you finish many squares (giving you essentially a handful of mini-quilts) and, once you have a group, you join them together into a large quilt. 


One fun tutorial (there are heaps!) can be found here.This technique is fun, and so much easier when space is at a premium, or when the gymnastics of negotiating giant pieces of fabric and batting around a sewing machine is problematic. 

Here are 26 Quilt As You Go tutorials as well. As you can see, much can be done with the technique.
I haven’t finished the project yet, but folks should stay tuned for final result. I actually did make a selvage quilt a few years ago and I thought it came out nice! Other people must have thought so as well, because it sold right away.
Have a wonderful weekend!