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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How Not to Make This Quilt

My daughter, Bre, moved to Australia in October for a new job and could really only take about 5 suitcases with her, so things like quilts and couch pillows didn't make the cut.  She has always been interested in Japanese culture and geishas so when I found some Kimono fabric from Australia (talk about the long way around) I thought it would make the perfect quilt for her bed.  I sent her this picture of the pattern that came with the fabric from Kimo Yes.

She thought this pattern didn't have much movement so she sent me a picture of this quilt called Cascade by Christine Cameli of the blog "A Few Scraps".  I must really like this quilt too as I had it pinned no less than 3 times on Pinterest.
I looked around for a tutorial or a pattern and couldn't find one so I contacted Christine to see if it would be okay if I wrote a blog on my attempt to recreate her quilt.  She graciously granted me permission.  So I was off to the races.  After about two weeks of working on this quilt I found out that Christine had written up her process on her blog in April 2011.  Check out her blog to find out the easiest way to make this quilt.  I'm documenting the way I made the quilt based on the picture and my way is definitely the hardest most time consuming way to put this together.  Do not attempt this method unless you are into tediousness.

What is really cool about my daughter having chosen this quilt is I had just shy of 5 yards of navy blue solid in my stash as well as 1 yard of blue ombre fabric so basically I had enough fabric for the top.  That never happens.  When I looked at the photo, I thought the quilt looked a little organic so I thought it was appliqued.  That was a wrong assumption but by this time I was going down the applique road.  So I chopped the 5 yards of fabric in half and sewed the two halves together.  Now I was working with about 88" square quilt top.  That should be okay for Bre's queen size bed but it is one of the biggest quilts I've made.

Next I numbered each column of rectangles to try and keep them straight in my process to recreate this quilt.  There were 30 columns.

Then I created a spreadsheet with my best guess at the size of the rectangles in each column.  I also counted the individual rectangles in a column.
Next I spent a few days cutting out the rectangles from the ombre fabric trying to maximize the cuts so I could get everything I needed from the 1 yard that I had.  I used my wonder clips to keep them all together along with their column number.  All 30 of them.

After they were cut out only then did it occur to me it would have been much easier to put the Wonder Under on the whole yard of fabric rather than on each individual rectangle.  Geez, what a dunderhead.  Thus I had to iron the fusible to each tiny little rectangle.  Can you hear me banging my head on the table?    While I was ironing on the fusible, I figured I would do raw edge applique with a blanket stitch but then I thought with my daughter's cat this quilt might get quite a few washings so I decided to turn over the edges.  You can already see where this is going.right?  I had to iron all four sides on each individual rectangle.  ARGGGGGGG.  There was no way this quilt was getting shipped as the Christmas present it was meant to be.

I wasn't concerned that the rectangles weren't ironed perfectly straight as I was going for a little more organic look. The organic look was the excuse for all the choices I made on this quilt.   If I hadn't been going for the organic look I would have pieced the thing and the math might have been a little harder but the execution would have been 10 times easier.  Organic was also the reason I didn't bother to ensure the columns were perfectly straight.  I figured water didn't flow in perfectly straight lines so if the columns were off a little that was okay.

 After sewing on the first few columns I noticed that some of the corners needed to be trimmed so they didn't peek out.  So I had to clip every corner of each rectangle.  (Shaking head).

I repinned the rectangles on the top AGAIN.  This time I ironed about 3 columns down to the fabric to secure them better.  I didn't want to do more than 3 columns at a time because smooshing them through the machine made it difficult to keep the pieces in place.

After days and days and more days of stitching on endless little rectangles.  I finally finished.  Whew, it was not fun but I was pretty happy with the result.

The easiest part of the whole process was quilting this quilt.  It appeared to me that Christine had done straight line quilting so I put the quilt on the long arm sideways and locked the machine in the vertical position.  It worked great!!!!

I used bamboo batting because it doesn't get really cold in Melbourne so this light weight batting should be sufficient.  The batting and backing were the only things I had buy so I was pretty happy about that.  I used some of the excess backing for the binding and sewed it by machine both front and back.

I used one of the built in alphabets from my Janome to make the label and the "love" stitch around the edge.  So now I've used 14 of the 250 stitches on my Janome.  Can you tell I'm keeping track of that?

I'm pleased with how the quilt turned out and I'm pretty sure my daughter is going to be pleased with it but no matter what I'm never making this quilt again.


  1. i am dying.. you are amazing... yes... ask the designer for the pattern.. it's quicker!