Monday, January 27, 2014

November 2013 - Spring Chickens

 The annual Doll Quilt swap nearly didn't happen this year. Thankfully someone suggest a stress-free option: no partners, no requests, a theme, a minimum and maximum size, a four-month time frame and a due date. If you send one in, you get one back.

The theme was 'Spring' and there was some major Pinterest action going on. My favourite pin was a quilt depicting 'springs' - of the bouncy kind - in a lovely garden setting.

As usual, I dithered, trying to make a decision about what to make. I was leaning towards a star in 30s fabrics but I had already done that. Finally I remembered a Margaret Rolfe quilt book that I had always wanted to make something from.

I flicked through and found the chook blocks and decided on a design - Spring Chickens. I wasn't too worried about the design not being everyone's cup of tea as this group of girls have an ongoing in-joke about chooks, with an ever-growing and somewhat quirky collection that circulates the country. Someone would appreciate a chook quilt.
 I drafted out the blocks during one of my quilt group meetings then traced them onto freezer paper that I picked up at the last craft fair - very handy!

The freezer paper is awesome for this type of quilt. You cut the templates apart along the lines, iron them to the fabric, draw seam allowances directly on the fabric, cut the fabric apart and then sew the templates together using the edge of the freezer paper template as your seam line.

As long as you mark everything and refer to your diagram as you go it works (almost) perfectly.

The final layout wasn't decided until I had finished all the blocks. It was originally going to be a more traditional doll quilt layout with hen and two chicks at the top and the rooster and two chicks below, but playing around I though this layout could do double duty as a table runner and wall hanging. At this point I was worried about not finishing it on time, and decided if I ended up keeping it then it would fit perfectly on the dresser inside our front door.
This was made totally from stash. The black and white fabrics were from a birthday swap years ago and that 'barcode stripe' was exactly perfect for the binding which used up most of a fat quarter. The green was a fat quarter from one of my earliest quilting fabric orders and there was just enough of it to border around the blocks with only tiny scraps left from a full fat quarter. The red, yellow and browns were from a 'scrap pack' I purchased long ago - really handy for this type of project. The backing was another fat quarter that had been floating around forever.
All up I used just under a meter of fabric for the whole quilt.
I quilted about 1/8 to 1/4 in around each of the chooks and then quilted straight diagonal lines in the background. I was planning to quilt back the other way to make a diamond pattern but got this far and thought any more would be too much.
As usual I cut it pretty fine to get it finished - I was hand stitching the binding down and tying off quilting threads at my quilt group meeting on the day it was due to be assigned to its recipient, racing against the clock as I had a plane to catch!
Thankfully it was finished with minutes to spare and was sent off to Catherine, who lives on a farm surrounded by hundreds of chooks - perfect quilt for her!

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