When I got Sarah Fielke's book Hand Quilted with Love, I immediately fell in love with her Bangles quilt. After the Made to Measure medallion quilt on the cover, it's probably my favourite quilt in there. You know the way a quilt you love just kind of pulls you in and hooks you and you keep having to look at it?
But it wasn't a project I saw myself making, for a number of reasons. It is pretty complex in its construction. Firstly, its all cut with templates and that's not my favourite thing to do. Secondly - probably most importantly - it is entirely sewn with inset seams. Just a tad intimidating! And requiring the type of time and patience that I am in short supply of at the moment. And thirdly, it doesn't have a traditional block type construction but is pieced together bit by bit - kind of growing organically. For this, you need to do the entire layout beforehand and you need to be able to leave it laid out and replace pieces as you sew them together in the layout and I just didn't have the space for this - nor would the suggestion of pinning to a sheet and rolling up to store have worked for little old disorganised me! But despite the complexities I saw with the pattern, I absolutely adored the quilt and returned to look at the pattern over and over, wondering if there was a way I could psyche myself up to try to make it. When I saw the Modern Mini challenge, I knew immediately it was a perfect opportunity to try it on a small scale.
Actually, it was surprisingly achieveable to make and that's because the pattern and instructions are so well written. I used freezer paper to cut the template pieces, not being in possessions of the special rulers, or template plastic. I decided to go for my favourite scrappy type look, and its made almost entirely from my scrap basket. Then I laid it out on my tiny design board and started to sew. I haven't done a whole pile of inset seams - maybe a handful since I started sewing. I can do them, but before, they've generally been a single inset seam among lots of normal seams, rather than a whole quilt of them, with lots of potential for mistakes. I have to admit I found them quite tricky at times. Some of them went great - and I really got the hang of the technique by the end, but when it came to piecing multiple points meeting - e.g. inserting the hexagons - I found it very challenging to get all my points right and not squished, or pulled, or in completely the wrong place. A milimetre or two out in one place had a knock on impact throughout the line if I wasn't super careful. Honestly, it's by no means perfect, and I think the seams on the back in some places might make the quilt police cry just a little, but I'm pretty happy with it for a first attempt. I don't doubt, after sewing the mini, that I could make this at the size in the book - but I would need to be prepared to commit a lot of time to it, and to really really concentrate on my precision. If you are the sort of sewist who likes intricate projects and has the time, I would definitely recommend this pattern, as it is just such a gorgeous quilt with lots of impact, and well worth the effort.
By the time I trimmed down the quilt top, I realised that I lost some of my colours and others featured more prominently that I intended. But overall I love the scrappy bright quality to this quilt, and I really like how it features some small scraps of my favourite fabrics - some of them from a few years back. (Does anyone else find that reaching the bottom of their scrap basket is a bit like a trip in a time machine?) I quilted it in straight(ish) lines, half an inch apart on the diagonal using (as always) Aurifil 50wt thread (in white this time), and bound it in a dotty black Poplin.The finished quilt measures 18.5" x 16".
In the end, I am really happy with my little mini. One of my aims for this year is to challenge myself and tackle more complex projects because I stuck to such straightforward projects last year with all the pregnancy problems I was having, which became just a bit boring from a sewing persepective. This really fit the bill and made me feel like I expanded my skills a bit. It's also reminded me I don't need to be "afraid" of complex patterns. But most importantly, I just love the end result and now its hanging with the other minis over my sewing desk to inspire me to keep pushing myself.
I'm linking up with the Modern Mini Challenge over at Jennifer's - hope to see you there :-)