Monday, 29 December 2014

Baby Boats [a {lovely} finish]

My blog looks like I do nothing by finish projects at the moment - but really I'm just sharing a lot of finishes from before Christmas. But this one is a post-Christmas finish.

A friend of my husband's moved to Moldova to teach English, met a girl and fell in love, got married and back in September they had a baby boy. Moldova is landlocked, but our friend comes from the North-East of England just a couple of miles from the sea, so I decided to make a seaside quilt. I hunted about for foundation pieced boat blocks. And couldn't find anything I liked. So I decided to design my own foundation pieced patterns - my first attempt. It was all done by hand with pencil and paper (and an eraser). It took ages and there was always the chance it wouldn't work, right up until I started sewing the sections together. First a fishing boat.

And then a sailing boat.

I also tried designing a lighthouse block...but there's a limit. To make the quilt up to size I decided to alternate the boat blocks with a traditional patchwork block. I chose the Maltese Cross block for two reasons: it was foundation pieced (quite simply) so, in my mind at least, linked to the other blocks; and we have wind turbines off the coast where we live, and these blocks, with white in the middle, look a little bit like wind turbines.

But this was a quilt that I didn't plan very well. I had loads of light blue, what I thought was loads of white, and what I thought was loads of red, plus fat quarters of the other fabrics. I forgot how much fabric foundation piecing uses...white was tight (and I didn't have enough for the other projects I was making using the white, hence a splash of green in the binding on the advent calendars....). Red was a problem. The Maltese Cross block with red actually uses a different red fabric so I still had enough for the sashing!

Whilst I was over the moon with the piecing and how the quilt top looked, I almost ruined it with the quilting. I struggled with what to do. I started with using the walking foot to quilt a grid outside each block. The Brother walking foot is pretty awful, so next time I'll use the Husqvarna which gives much better results with the walking foot (but which is currently desparately in need of a service). I stippled in the blue background of the Maltese cross blocks - it looks a bit like water. I then outlined the boats and added waves and clouds - but it isn't very neat close up....

On the back I use a white sheet, and because I changed the bobbin thread to match the top thread, you can see the shapes of the boats and waves and clouds on the back too.

The finished quilt is 44"x 44". The fabrics are Kona (I think) for the two blues and grey, the red is from Kate Spain's Joy collection, the orange is Botanics from Carolyn Friedlander, the yellow and green are random fabrics from my stash! The white is a white on white spot with nothing on the selvage. I used red 40w and variegated blue 50w Aurifil. In hindsight a non-variegated blue thread would have been better as my quilting mistakes would have been less obvious. It's always the way that you make the mistakes using the bit of thread that contrasts most with the fabric!

Our friends are visiting from Moldova for Christmas, so we're looking forward to meeting baby and handing the quilt over in person!

This is another tick on my Finish Along list - finish number 19!

Finish Along 2014
This was also my goal for December in A Lovely Year of Finishes
p.s. It still needs a label, but I think I'm going to buy a fabric pen rather than embroider one


Anonymous said...

That is so cute! Such a lovely combination of blocks, I almost felt like I was at the beach. =)

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