Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Lattice Quilt; why you should join your local quilt group.

I joined the Modern Quilt faction of the Canberra Quilters in the first half of last year, on the suggestion of a colleague who found out I was a quilter. I didn't even know such a group existed and I've been a keen member ever since. Each month we meet and share and learn, in the most friendly and supportive environment. These lovely people have given me so much confidence in my own quilting and I've learnt so much looking at other people's projects and listening to their stories.

During my first ever Modern Quilt meeting, one of our leaders, the amazing Jenny Bowker, demonstrated a relatively simple and effective lattice quilt block tutorial from the Moda Bake Shop. Despite the complicated appearance, the block was just a methodical 'sew-turn-cut-repeat' deal made from a jelly roll and some yardage.

I think traditionally, this type of quilt block would feature a lighter background with bright strips. In true quilt-a-holic fashion, I chose to make the quilt using only fabric form my stash which happened to be a beautiful Moda Jelly Roll called 'Weeds'. I loved the colours and always intended to use the fabric on a quilt for my best friend who was yet to receive one of my creations. I just love the way the red, black and grey work on this fabric. It's rich, but warm at the same time.

After making up an initial five or so blocks, I put the project aside with the intention of running up the odd block or two whenever I had some free sewing time. Well, lesson learnt. There is no such thing as 'free sewing time' for a working mum of two small children. So over a year after beginning the quilt, I finally got it out again a few months ago and really started to enjoy the methodical 'sew-turn-cut' process. WARNING: Do not cut in the wrong place! I had to be very creative to find enough fabric to fix a couple of errors from accidentally cutting 1/4 inch off the cutting line. I strongly recommend using some masking tape on your ruler to ensure this does not happen!

To help add a focal point to this relatively busy quilt, I put some appliquéd poppies in the corner made from three shades of red batik fabric. I think they really bring it all together and I enjoyed doing a little 'thread painting' around the centres. I just did raw edge appliqué and I find the effect really impressive. Unfortunately I didn't take any close up pictures of the poppies so you'll have to make do with the finished quilt photo.

Once I got the quilt top together, I decided to do a large spiral for the quilting. At a recent Modern Quilting meeting I'd seen someone else's spiral quilt and I thought it would be good for this project as the piecing was quite busy and any overly creative quilting would just be lost. What made the quilting of this particular project so much easier was a frame my mum recently helped me set up. It's a $10 clothing rack from IKEA with elastic ropes and clamps. All in all it probably cost no more than $30 to set up and is so great for taking the weight of the quilt whilst doing Free-Motion, binding, or really any stitching that has the quilt bulk pulling away from the machine.

Then, because I could never possibly make a plain quilted project, I quilted about 15 poppy outlines in red randomly across the quilt. A quick label on my Bernina embroidery module and I was done.

This quilt whilst occasionally frustrating when I made mistake, was really satisfying in the end. I think the appliqué really makes the whole and for a 60" square quilt, it'll be a perfect couch quilt for my friend.

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