Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The VT Quilt is Finished!

It is done. 

The Breakdown:
*100% Cotton batiks
*Combination of oranges and maroons (VT colors)
*Square blocks made from 6 strip rails
*Blocks were cut using a square ruler turned 45 degrees so that the corners line up between the 3rd and 4th strip
*Blocks were pieced to make a diamond effect
*Backing is maroon with orange and green leaves with gold outline
*Quilted with variegated orange, gold, and maroon thread on top and maroon on the bottom
*Quilting design is 4 petal flowers that echo 3 times with curved lines connecting the flowers
*Binding is the same as the backing

If you haven't been following my blog for this entire project you can check out my older posts for more information:

Making the rails and blocks
Arranging the blocks
Quilt top
Basting and quilting
Finished quilting and trimming

If you want to make make a quilt like this you will need around 60-72 strips measuring 2.5"x45" (jelly roll size). The actual width of your strip may vary a bit but you want to use the full width of the fabric from selvage to selvage, whatever that may be. Combine a random assortment of 6 strips sewn together on their longest side to create your "rail".

When I first tried this technique (sewing long strips together) with Alissa's Cuddle Nursing Cover my rails started to curve which was really frustrating. I originally planned to do a quilt of all strips but I had to scrap that plan and do a split rail fence instead. I have found the best way to avoid this happening is to alternate the direction I sew the strips together. I think the best way to explain this is a video demonstration so I will try to do that soon. If you have questions in the meantime please send me a message or leave a comment and I will try to explain better.

The number of rails you need may vary a little because you will sometimes get 4 blocks per strips and sometimes only get 3. Press all of the seams flat in 1 direction. I used a combination of a jelly roll for continuity and fabrics from my stash for variance. That may sound strange but adding a few coordinating fabrics outside of a fabric line really adds interest to the quilt.

Cut your blocks using an 8" square ruler (go back to that linked post and check out my illustration). You need 35 blocks to follow my quilt exactly but this will change depending on what size block you use and the size you want your finished quilt to be. I used a square ruler rather than trying to use a straight edge because there's less room for error. As always, be VERY careful not to get your fingers caught in your rotary cutter. I always double and triple check that my ruler hasn't moved as I am cutting.

Arrange your blocks so that they make a diamond design. Don't worry if your seams don't line up perfectly. It is inevitable but that's ok! Do try and keep as straight a 1/4" seam allowance as possible but don't stress out too much. The success of this quilt is not dependent on your ability to do this perfectly. You will sew 7 rows 5 blocks across. Make a quilt sandwich by basting the backing layer, batting, and top together (I use safety pins), quilt, bind, and you'll have yourself a quilt!

  • Honestly I think this quilt would look better if it was symmetrical but that's just me. To achieve symmetry with this pattern you would need an even number of rows and columns. I wanted to make this a lap quilt that could be draped over a chair or folded on the back of a couch for snuggling. A 4 column 6 row quilt was too small with my size block and a 6 column 8 row quilt was too big for my size block. Adjust the size of the block, add borders to the outside, or adjust the overall size of the quilt if you want symmetry. 
  • You could arrange the blocks in groupings of 4 with some sashing between each grouping
  • You could mix in some large blocks cut from one piece of fabric
  • You could use smaller strips (you will use more of them for each rail). I didn't have any problem using strips as small as 1" for Maura's Strata Blocks quilt but if you are having trouble with this, you might want to consider paper piecing. Film in the fridge has a great tutorial for using smaller scraps of fabric to achieve a similar look.
  • You could use larger strips (you will use less of them for each rail)

    Here are some pictures of the VT Quilt for your enjoyment. I put every ounce of love and friendship I feel for my friend and her family into this quilt. My hope is that the lucky silent auction bidder enjoys using it as much as I have enjoyed making it and sharing it with you. 

    You can't really tell from that first picture but I added my initials and the year to the bottom left corner (very poorly I might add). I'm still debating on whether or not to add a label to the back. What do you think?

    I'd love to see your version of what I am calling "Strata Diamonds"! Join the Flickr group and upload your own photos. 

    Happy Quilting!

    ps- My block cutting technique does leave you with a pile of scraps. For Mark's strata diamond quilt I used these scraps to create a border. I am going to use the VT Quilt scraps for something else but I haven't decided what that something is yet. Any ideas? 

    UPDATE: The VT quilt was very popular at the silent auction! The quilt sold for $150. I hope the new owners love it!

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