Way back in February, I got an email from the Modern Quilt Guild about their latest fabric challenge, and for the first time since becoming a member, I decided to jump in and sign up (I had previously watched 4 other fabric challenges from the sidelines). I have to admit that I decided to join because I really liked the fabric, but I was also pretty inspired by the rules for the challenge:
- Make something fantastic that is quilted.
- Make something you’ve never done before.
- Challenge yourself to learn something new.
- Use only Riley Blake Cottage Garden fabrics and coordinating Riley Blake basics and solids.
Check out the beautiful fabric I get to play with (The Cottage Garden by Amanda Herring):
I was lucky enough to get a bundle of fat eighths from Riley Blake, but before I received them I thought more about the competition rules and designed a quilt that was going to require much more fabric than the sample bundle.
Making something fantastic that is quilted should be right up my alley, but I needed to make something I had never made before. AND I needed to challenge myself to learn something new. Well, another trend in the quilting world that I had not yet taken part in is the beautiful swoon block. I decided to make a large, graphic swoon block as a quilt to feature the large scale prints (the swoon block will finish at 72-inches square and the quilt top will finish at 80-inches square!). And I decided that my challenge would be to keep each cut of the Cottage Garden print fabrics as a whole piece of fabric, meaning I get to sew Y Seams for the first time!
I spent quite a while playing around with the right distribution of fabric in the pattern, and I finally settled on the layout shown above. My design hinged on the use of a coordinating Riley Blake solid (clean white), and this is where I hit my first hurdle in the process. I plan to back the quilt in the solid, and in all I knew I was going to need 8 yards. I could not find Riley Blake solid yardage of any color online when I went looking (let alone the clean white). After much internet scouring, I finally found a small quilt shop in Oregon, The Rustic Rooster, that had barely enough yardage. Whew. Unfortunately, the shop owner had just run a sale and had sold the clean white down below the 8 yards I ordered. No sweat. I placed my order on March 23rd, and the fabric challenge ran until July 15th, so I figured I had plenty of time for the shop to get in a new order.
2 months later, I figured it was time to check in. The shop owner was beside herself and wanted to refund my money: Riley Blake had the clean white she ordered on back-order and she had no idea when it might come in. I asked her to hold on to my order, and I went back to looking on the internet for anywhere that might have yardage. It seemed like perhaps the MQG members had really cleaned things out, and so I kept waiting. Almost 3 months after I placed my order, I did receive the 8 yards in the mail, and I couldn’t be happier to finally get started making this quilt top!
Starting to make the quilt top meant taking my time and meticulously cutting out fabric for piecing. I wanted to try to make sure to feature each fabric to its best potential. I also wanted the text to all be right side up when pieced, the lines in the “wallpaper” prints to be running vertically, the flowers to be right side up, the birds to be right side up, etc., etc., etc. Also, I must note that my friend Kitty @Night Quilter has influenced me to say meticulous cutting instead of fussy cutting, and if you follow the link to her blog you can read her thoughts on why.
Things were going along great until I got to cutting the grey cottage wallpaper print. At that point I realized that my original order of fabric was not going to be sufficient. I quickly checked to make sure Hawthorne Threads still had plenty in stock, and placed an updated order to get me the additional 5/8 yards that I am going to need and I ordered some coordinating Aurifil 50wt thread for quilting at the same time. I decided to use 2021 (white), 1148 (light jade), and 2620 (stainless steel).
I kept working with what I had, though, and I was able to tackle my first Y Seam. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out, and I am excited about how the quilt top looks with all the progress I can make before I receive more fabric.
I now have 4 Y Seams complete and 4 more to go! Hopefully things will go smoothly as I work to finish the quilt… I’m crossing my fingers that there isn’t some 3rd fabric blunder that will occur!
Linking up with Let’s Bee Social.