I had sent out an email at the beginning of November to ask what my family wanted for Christmas as I had not yet heard anything. My brother said he wanted a quilt. I replied that only people with weddings get bed-sized quilts, but I would consider replacing the awful baby blanket he was currently using as a couch throw. This was acceptable, and I was given a vague colour scheme of "I don't know, red and gold?"
I decided on this pattern of quarter-square triangles from Quilty magazine because it looked fast and easy, and pulled fabric from my stash that I felt would work. I had a bit of gold-ish fabric, but no red. And the majority of the fabrics I pulled happened to be on the teal/blue/green side (i like to use fabric that reflects a persons interests, and there was no way i was going to leave out the vikings and their maps for a guy who reads fantasy novels!) I found one piece of red, but it just didn't look right, so I took it off to the first meeting of the Modern Quilting group from guild, and asked for some help from the ladies there. They helped me narrow things down, and then my friend MC helped me by giving me a few pieces from her stash for the cause. In the final cut, the red was gone, and MC had given me the crucial piece of fabric, blue and gold dots, that brought the very weird colour scheme together.
This is the initial pull of fabric after we narrowed it down at modern quilt group. The red sort of works, but MC and I decided that if I used it, that would be the only colour you would see. I also left out the grey chevron because it wasn't the same scale as the other prints and would have drawn your eye as much as the red would.
Once I picked the fabric, I dove right in, cutting two 11 1/2" squares from each coloured fabric (the pattern calls for 13 1/2", but i knew i wouldn't have enough fabric for that) and matched one square with a square of the solid white (Kona Snow) and the other with a printed white fabric. This worked for awhile until it became evident that I really didn't have that much white. It was left over from another project and in my head it was almost a meter. It was more like 18 inches. I got as many squares as possible cut, then started trying to cut half and quarter square triangles out of the rest to piece things together. When I pieced things together, it became evident that my spacial reasoning is of the " believe it when I see it" variety, I really should have experimented beforehand with how to orient the directional prints. Thank goodness I always tried to pair a directional print with an allover print, or I would have had bears and Vikings on their sides! I am very pleased to say that everybody's head is the right way up!
As you can see from this layout of the blocks on my design-floor (ahem), I found a lovely grey-blue solid leftover from another project to make up the difference. I really like the result, I think I like it better than my original plan for all white. But there was still a lot of creative cutting, and I had to make sure in my final layout that there were no pieces with biased edges on the perimeter of the quilt or there may have been some stretching out of square.
Sewing the blocks together was another challenge because of all the points that needed to match up! I used a lot of pins and made sure I matched seems as much as possible. They are all matched well enough that you would have to get right up-close and personal with the quilt in order to tell if they are off, which is good enough for me!
I took the finished top with me to the Fabricland and found this great argyle flannel on sale for the backing. Even with a colour-catcher in the wash with it, it still dyed the agitator blue!
I quilted it in white thread a quarter inch in either side of each seam line. There were a few catches in the front where perpendicular quilting lines met, but they evened out with the diagonal quilting lines, and you can't even tell that there might have been an issued at all now that it is all washed and crinkled! This was the most quilting I have ever done on a quilt before, so it was nice to see it work out so well in the end.
And here it is, installed in its new home! The hand-printed pillow my mom got him goes really well with all the animal faces in Sarah Watts Menagerie fabric. I am so happy the colours in the quilt go so well with his furniture and his posters! I am glad I left out the red, it would not have been the right shade with that deep orange in the poster.
It is really obvious in this picture that I did not leave out red entirely. There is one little piece of white fabric with a red design on it in the quilt (in person it looks red, not pink). When I ran really low on bits of grey and white, I found this little scrap in my scrap box already cut in a triangle! It was fate! So I snuck in one little tiny piece! It goes really well with the sails on the Viking ships.
He really liked his quilt and the fabric choices I had made. He even remembered that I had made him some boxers out of the gecko fabric back in high school! ( yes I hang onto good fabric scraps for a long time!). So nice to have your work loved!