Thursday, 2 October 2014

Out of the Box Quilt

Sometimes, in a way, a quilt makes itself, as much as I make it. Sometimes I just feel like the the hands, and my quilt has a mind of its own, leading me step by step.
About a year ago, I started making these log cabins for my bed. And then when I laid them out on my bed, I felt completely overwhelmed with noise, and used only 4 big blocks with massive sashing to quieten it a bit. One day I will finish hand-quilting that quilt (It's already bound and on my bed) and show it here. One day. 

It was February when I put that quilt on my bed. I was hot. And eight months pregnant. I put the remaining 20 quarter-square blocks in the WIP box, promising myself that one day, when it was cooler, I would make up a smaller version of my original idea.
This week, going through that box again, feeling a bit lost and between projects, I was struck by a motivational idea. I could use 'quilt-as-you-go'! I could use this quilt as a way to eat into some of my leftover wadding that was starting to flood my sewing room.
I quilted them in diagonal lines, patting myself on the back, because getting the overall quilting design I wanted proved much easier quilting by eye on small(ish) blocks than marking it out on a full size quilt.

I chose Anna Maria Horner's Aloe Vera print for the back. I had a few yards of it because I really liked her "Hot House Flowers" quilt and bought it on a whim. And then I lost inspiration. But I love it with this. It seems to bring out all the light Spring colours. And in a way, it's like crossing two projects off the list because we all know how much those 'to do' quilts feel just as much like works in progress sometimes.
After attaching the backing, I realised I was perfectly situated to use the overhanging backing as the binding, because the rest of the quilt was already trimmed. Saving that much fabric and ironing and sewing, and finishing up the quilt before the light fades? Any resistance I may have had about colour matching was futile. And thankfully! The light citrusy colours of the aloe make me feel like the whole quilt sparkles and dances. I've been smiling about it all afternoon. 

I can't tell you how much I love the way quilts seem to do that. Do I sound like a 30something, stay-at-home mum when I say the adventure of it keeps me coming back? The ideas, the risk of pushing through, or changing mid-way, when it's not looking like what you had in mind, or when you simply want to finish it by 4pm. The delight when you pull it off. I love that it's not quite in my control. Which I think is why I couldn't make the Hot House Flowers quilt. I already knew how it would turn out. And where's the fun in that?

I was thinking just today that I've been sewing seriously for over three years now, and I've entirely abandoned garment sewing. I still get inspired by some of the prints out there, but they stay in my shopping cart, because I know, when they arrive, I just won't feel like pulling out those patterns again. For all the developing quilt ideas, and refining what I like, going back to sewing pinafores would feel like a bit of a sacrifice. Even making quilts to sell comes at a cost. For now, this place where I am, where I can take risks, play, cut corners, or take my time, I've found a sense of identity here. I am a quilter.

Stats and Credit:
I got the idea for the blocks from the book Sunday Morning Quilts.
I use Maureen Cracknell's Quilt as you go tutorial whenever I have an abundance of scrap wadding!
I used Cluck Cluck Sew's Backing as Binding tutorial to finish it off. 


  1. This is such a beautiful QAYG, Jodi! The diagonal quilting is so perfect for this one! It's been just about a year and half since I had my own revelation, that I am a quilter. First came two very fun years of creating one small project after the next, that's how I learned to sew and was able to connect with other sewers through my blog, and I'm so grateful I took my time. Knowing now that I am a quilter is so comforting and is giving me the courage I need to try out this new adventure in designing. If it doesn't work out I'll still know, I am a quilter, and that's perfectly fine with me!

  2. I love so many things about this quilt! I love the vibrant colors and the wonky pattern and how you laid it out in a way that's not "perfect", which makes it so much more perfect. Yet another inspiration for my "someday" list!

  3. so much inspiration! My favourite quilts are the ones where I have just started, with only a vague plan and then seen what happens. It really is an adventure!

  4. how do you connect your GAYG blocks? i've seen so many different ways on so many different GAYG tutorials but haven't yet tried...

  5. This just the style of quilt that I adore! Mix of strips and colours and block sizes. Beautiful.

  6. Bright and beautiful with your signature all over it!

  7. I can't tell you how much I love this. The saturated colour! I love it.

  8. beautiful quilt and beautiful blog post! x

  9. This is a gorgeous quilt. I love the colors. I have one just like it in shades of purple waiting to be basted and quilted. It's big and I'm intimidated by it!

  10. Love this post, Jodi! It's so true that the thrill and adventure of not knowing how it will end up is something that keeps me going. This turned out beautiful!

  11. Thank you - your comment 'I already knew how it would turn out and where's the fun in that' instantly clarified for me why I was no longer feeling the love for using a certain pattern I had purchased fabric for. I am going to follow gut and try something else with it.


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx