Sunday, 2 August 2015

Quilting Compulsions

The weirdest thing happened to me this morning. I was just quietly sat, drinking coffee, thinking about how pretty the garden looked in the sunshine with the hundreds of butterflies that have appeared; when, quite out of the blue, a sudden compulsion to do some machine quilting hit me. It was so strong I immediately got up and went to the nearest gadget to find the simplest, quickest pattern to fulfil my need to machine stitch.
I had a vague idea of what I wanted and where to look from previous pootlings on Youtube and so typed 'The Missouri Star Quilt Company' into the search bar. They have a brilliant tutorial on Youtube, called 'Jelly Roll Race A Quilt Top In Less Than An Hour', the tutorial being given by the very talented and funny Jenny Doan.

The less than a hour part seemed like a good idea, as well as the fact that it was all machine stitching the strips from the roll together with no fussy cutting or shaping or anything. This was exactly the project I needed!!! Luckily, I have collected lots of Swiss rolls which are 20 strips of pre-cut fabric (Jelly rolls are 40 strips- so two Swiss rolls and we are in business!!), usually with some kind of theme, be it colour, or pattern, or era. I used the Oriental Night collection which was bought from Fabric Land in Brighton. I believe they make these themselves and the collections change all the time.

So without further ado, I got to sewing. I didn't bother to clear the table or really think about colour placement or pinning- Jenny had said in the tutorial not to bother with pinning or stressing about neatness which sounded good to me. One thing I will say about the tutorial, which is brilliant in everything else, is that I didn't initially understand the directions in which to place the fabric on top of each other with the right sides together.

I may just not have paid enough attention to that part (keen as I was to get going), but I quickly learnt that there is quite a specific way to stitch these pieces together otherwise you have to unpick them and start again. (The photo above shows how in case any of you were mildly confused like me.)

I didn't time myself and had to break for a spot of lunch halfway through, but it can't have taken more than two hours from start to finish to get a lovely quilt top. Maybe with a bit of practice I will be up to speed with Jenny. I will definitely need more practice before I start racing people! It always amazes me how you can start with one strip of fabric or one ball of yarn and stitch/crochet/knit/knot/tie them together to end up with a huge, practical, beautiful, solid item at the end of it.

Here is my quilt top!! It's a little bit like what I imagine Kaffe Fassett's dreams look like, so much colour and pattern that your eyes don't quite know where to look first to take it all in. It's so colourful and playful- and so unlike my usual palette of colours and patterns- I absolutely LOVE it!!

The back is just as lovely as the front, with the texture of the joins and seams.

Of course, now I've made the top of the quilt, I will have to start thinking about the possibility of bordering it (maybe a plain fabric this time) and adding a backing and how to sandwich and quilt it all together. Maybe I will splash out and see if I can get someone with one of those very clever long arm quilting machines with inbuilt patterns to add texture to my quilt.
I still can't explain why I had to make this quilt top, it was simply a driving creative compulsion!

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