I call this quilt “South Pacific”. I made it for my mother as a Christmas present. She was away for two months over the holidays (in the South Pacific, coincidentally) so I haven’t had a chance to give it to her yet.
This is the second bed-sized quilt I’ve made since I learned to quilt. My first quilt was made from a simple block pattern I got online, with the squares arranged neatly in rows. This second quilt was based on a pattern too, but involved more modifications and creative input.
I started with a jelly roll of batik fabrics. My mother spent much of her life in the South Pacific (New Zealand) and Southeast Asia (Hong Kong and Singapore) so I knew when I bought them that my project would go to her. I stated with a Stacked Coin quilt design and modified it by using both horizontal and vertical sashing. I spent quite some time putting together blocks of four or five strips, testing out various colour combinations, and working on the finished dimensions. Then when the blocks were made I spent a lot of time moving them around on a white sheet until I was happy with the layout and colour placement. Finally, I had to audition the quilting designs.
The quilting for the blocks was easy. I chose a pattern of free flowing, roughly parallel lines to create the idea of ocean waves. But I got stuck on the sashing. I auditioned many different designs by making test “quilt sandwiches” using scraps leftover from piecing the top. Finally one day I was hit with inspiration. Leah Day, whose Free Motion Quilting Project blog was what got me into quilting in the first place, posted a new design she called Spiral Ornaments. I thought it looked perfect for sashing, then was hit with the idea to use seashells instead of spirals. I tested it out and loved it.
I chose a wine-coloured batik for the quilt trim, which went well with the fabrics (Note: the sashing and border is a pale sea green colour but it doesn’t show up well in these photos). I also chose a lovely batik fabric for the backing. It was quite expensive but by the time I realized that I had chosen it and had it cut. It did teach me a lesson about quilting though – budget is an important consideration! Making a quilt with scraps sounds very frugal, but a bed-size quilt can use up a lot of fabric for the backing. I’ve become much more careful with fabric purchases now.
Finally, when the quilt was done, I played around with making labels. For the title I used free motion quilting to “write” the words in fabric. Inspired by other labels I’ve seen, I also sewed an element from the quilt design onto the label (a seashell). When writing my name and the date I found it hard to stay even and within the margins so instead I used my machine, which has an alphabet stitch.
There were definitely mistakes made in this quilt, but they are likely only going to be noticed by me. I’m really proud of this quilt. It’s far from perfect, but it was made with lots of love and creativity, and I can’t wait to give it to my mum.