Sunday, 9 September 2012

And finally...

... the making of the Orla Kiely quilt. I've been working on this baby since April, and it's become such a dear project to me. It's been really tough to give the quilt away in the end! But the couple really love it so that makes it much easier.

So, time machines at the ready, let's jump back to April. I offered to make a gender-neutral quilt for a lovely mum-to-be based on this Orla Kiely wrapping paper:

The first step, of course, was picking out fabrics. I don't know about you, but I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this stage. The hate bit came first with this quilt. I started my search on the internet and got very stressed, very quickly! Unsurprisingly I didn't have much luck finding fabrics which:

- Matched the above colours
- Matched eachother well
- Weren't too girly
- All came from the same website to avoid excessive postage costs

So eventually, after much stressing, I got into work early to give myself an hour after work to explore my LQS. I was quite nervous about this. The quilts I had made before were all based on fabric collections, where someone else had done the hard work of making things match. This time I would have to do it myself. So after a few deep breaths, I stepped into the store and... it went really well!

These are the fabrics I picked out. I felt so blessed to have found them! Not only did they match the colours, but they matched eachother too - red in the green, green and blue in the red, brown in the blue etc etc. Also I'd completely fogottern about the rule of 'some large scale, some medium, some small' but by chance I ended up with one large, 2 medium and 3 small, which is pretty well balanced. I walked out of the store with a big grin on my face :D I picked up the fabrics the next day after checking the amounts I needed, and they sat on my desk next to me. Every so often I'd peek in the bag and smile stupidly. Fabric geek alert!

Anyway, lesson learnt, LQS first and then internet if necessary.

I decided farily early on with this quilt to go with a diamonds-with-sashing pattern. Here is my beautifully artistic, incredibly neat sketch:

And so, I began the cutting. With mixed success. I only had 25cm of each fabric, and so I knew it was important to get things right first time. And so, of course, I made mistakes! Lesson number 2 learned - don't put so much pressure on yourself. Anyway, the fabric amounts did work out in the end, and soon I was creating sections like this:

The sashing is in a colour called biscuit, love that. Since the design for this quilt is so big, it came together really quickly. Until I reached the edges that is. I was keen to get exact half squares at the edges of the quilt. This would mean that the edges of the quilt top needed to be 1/4" wider than the exact half of the square... if that makes sense. Now some folks might have used a bit more fabric, sewed it in, and then trimmed it down to be that size. But not me. I don't know whether it was because I was aware that I didn't have much spare fabric, or because I'm a perfectionist or what, but I decided to do the maths. That's right, it was trigonometry time! Now, it's been a long time and I don't remember the other measurements, but you see the tiny little bit in the bottom left:

That needed to be 1/(2√2) inches long. Nope, I'm not joking. Instead of trying to cut fabric the length of an irrational number, I decided to approximate this to 0.9cm.

(By the way, it turns out there's a ruler, see this post, to help with this exact situation. I discovered this not long after figuring out the above!)

So, crazy maths aside, the quilt top came together. Until, duh-duh-duuuh, fabric size problems. The brown fabric has a directional print and the piece I had wasn't tall enough for the left-edge-half-square. The choices were (a) have the fabric rotated the wrong way, (b) buy more fabric or (c) try out precision piecing. I wasn't too keen on the idea of (a) and decided that I might as well try (c) before resorting to (b). And it went really well! On my third attempt, I managed to join these two bits pretty much perfectly:

It seems (or seams, haha) that I forgot to take a photo of the finished join. D'oh! So you're just going to have to take my word for it that it went well.

Join me again soon for more progress on the quilt top, plus a little bit of:

Since this post is based on the quilt when it was a Work In Progress, I'm linking up :)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


  1. I am so, so bad at quilt-maths. Well, any maths at all really. So I really admire you for figuring your measurements out!! Are you making Orla Kiely flowers/leaves to applique onto the diamond quilt?

    Good luck with progress!! Cat.

    1. Thanks Cat :) I did a maths degree, so I ought to be able to handle it!
      The Orla design will be appearing on the back :) I'm itching to post all the stages and finished pics now but trying to hold myself back - my next projects will be secret ones too, so I need some posts to fill the gap!