It has been a very long time sine I have had a Friday Finish and so I am delighted to show you Fraktal - a full on gorgeous rainbow quilt designed by Paula Steel Quilts.
The finished quilt measuring 72" x 72"
I had been aware of this since the pattern launch towards the end of last year but sat on the fence for a while. Whilst I loved the Phosphor kits Modern Quilt Club were doing for the quilt, once I had a stock of Dashwood Pop Solids I kept thinking that they would work for it.
Final colour choice - Dashwood Pop Solids in Fuchsia, Crimson, Tigerlily, Yellow, Spring, Calypso, Royal and Purple with the addition of Kona Solids in Gumdrop, Coral, Limelight and Bahama
Finally I took the plunge, bought the pattern and got ready for the sew along. Obviously the timing of the sew along worked perfectly for the newly locked down UK and I have to say it has been wonderful to have the focus of this project to get me through the first hard few weeks of lockdown on January.
I have never made a quilt where all the cutting is done first - phew it took some time but made the sewing part much more enjoyable
The SAL schedule was weekly tasks and the first few weeks were hard going at the time - all that cutting, all those HSTs and then ALL of those flying geese. Paula assured us there was method in her madness and that once these tasks were done everything went together easily. She was right!
Once I had cut the colours, I began to question what I was making this quilt for! Whilst I loved the design we don't really need another quilt in the house, in fact the rest of my household might say we need to reduce the number of quilts in our house! Then I thought of making for someone, but it's a big quilt with lots of pieces so I wanted to make sure that they liked it! Luckily my niece liked the design and I was able to give her the choice of backgrounds - she settled on the dark grey which is Dashwood Pop Solid in Raven.
Auditioning the background - Carbon and White
Whilst not in the original plan for the SAL, Lisa and Paul organised some social Zooms which were wonderful. It was great to meet friends, old and new, and chat all things sewing. Both of the hosts were very generous with their knowledge and I will miss them after the last one tomorrow night.
Some progress shots - it made me smile every time I walked into my studio to see this bright flash of colour on my design wall and longarm table
Once the top was pieced and pressed it hung on my design wall until I was ready to load it onto my quilting frame. At 72" square this is one of the largest quilts I have made and I did not want to have to iron it again!
I choose another Pop Solid for the back, a paler grey called Tin, loaded that on the frame, used Warm & Natural wadding and then floated the top. I decided to use a very fine thread to quilt this and chose Superior Threads Microquilter in a mid/dark grey. Due to the fineness of the the thread it blends with the different colours of the quilt and does not detract form the piecing.
Load three layers, select thread, select needle and start quilting!
Whilst it was tempting to go all fancy with the quilting in the end I used simple straight line quilting and I am so glad I did. For one, it did not take me days to quilt but for two it looks stunning. The texture it gives is wonderful and because I used 100wt thread it is still nice a soft because it is going to be functional well used quilt, I hope!
You can see how the thread takes on the colour of the fabric it stitches over
The binding is usually the stumbling block for me so this time I even made the binding before the quilting was finished. Sadly it didn't stop me procrastinating because I still had to trim the quilt. This really is my least favourite part of the quilt making process and it holds me up every time. Yesterday I finally cleared my cutting table and got trimming.
And then straight away started to attach the binding. I machine bind both sides of the binding generally and so attach to the back of the quilt first with a 1/4" seam and then bring it forward and top stitch the edge. There was some quilt wrangling going on that's for sure and maybe some choice words too!
I love the accufeed system on my new Janome machine because it means there's no creep of the fabric and it makes stitching through numerous layers of fabric and wadding much easier.
Luckily it was dry this morning so I was able to put up my quilt frame outside and get some photos taken.
Look at that lovely texture!!
I love the quilt, I love the quilting, I loved making it as part of a group, I loved making it with someone in mind and I love that it has really reignited my love of sewing. Roll on 2021 I have got lots of things to make!