A Commission: Blue Diamonds

When I heard my cousin was getting married, I offered to make the happy couple a quilt as a wedding present, but they decided that it wasn’t something they were really looking for and declined the offer.  I’m completely fine with this – I would have welcomed the challenge of creating something to fit their minimalist, modern style but a quilt is such a big investment of materials and effort that I don’t really want to make one for someone who isn’t all that into the concept – certainly not a big bed-sized one!  However, my aunt happened to mention my offer to her mum, who announced that she would rather like to commission a quilt, please and thank you!

After a phone chat with her, I had a firm grasp of her desired colour scheme (royal blue, emerald green, aqua) and her general inspiration (a checked silk in that colour scheme from Malaysia), so I went away and doodled up a few possible options for layouts and took a whole mess of fabric photos so that she could have a look at what was available to me locally and pick out the ones that appealed to her.

She selected the diamonds as her preferred layout and several fabrics from Artisan Spirit’s Shimmer range, which I was super-happy about because I adore those prints!  A bunch of maths and a surprisingly lengthy amount of humming and hawing in the local quilt shop later, and I was all set to start making the quilt top.  Because the palette ended up being fairly constrained, I decided to make the design more regular rather than random:

Blue_diamonds_layout

The colours are terribly approximate (that’s what you get when you don’t use EQ and you don’t have the time to import swatches into Inkscape), but you get the idea!  It took me a little while to gather the confidence to start cutting (I’m always more nervous about that when it’s on someone else’s tab), but thankfully my maths was on point and the construction went really swiftly once I got my teeth into it – it’s a repeated shape, after all.

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Thankfully, it was possible to do some strip- and chain-piecing, which made life a lot easier.  Because of the way I handled the sashing, I ended up needing to do partial seams on two sides, but some careful thought and measuring made it a pretty painless experience.  In fact, I found the hardest part to be assembling strips on a diagonal – it was difficult to keep track of where I was, especially when I was working from an image on my laptop screen!  Eventually, I did the sensible thing and printed out a layout that I could scribble on with impunity, and that made life a lot easier.

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It grew quickly!  To pin it, I took it to the village hall and sneakily borrowed an unused kitchen floor while the Wednesday Toddler group was using the main hall – I really am going to have to make something nice for the lady that runs that group, I’d never be able to pin really big quilts without her help!

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Like a numpty, I forgot to take my camera along when I did the pinning, so I didn’t get a pic of the whole thing when it was all spread out nicely – only a pic of half or it, which is all that would fit on my craft room floor!  While I was piecing, I cut whole diamonds for the set-in edges, and when the whole quilt was done I realised that I really liked the look of the points along the sides so I decided to keep them!  Initially I considered rounding them off to make scallop shapes, but was then persuaded that the diamond points were more in keeping with the rest of the quilt, so they stayed untouched.

I kept the initial quilting very simple, just running in the ditches along the sashing, with the idea that this would stabilise the layers nicely and allow more complex quilting if desired.  Once this “core quilting” was done, I decided to do a little extra straight-line quilting on the set-in triangles and diamonds around the edges to secure them where I wanted them to stay, then attached the binding.  I knew that I would be seeing my aunt’s mum at the wedding and decided to take the quilt along so that she could see it and tell me whether she wanted any more done to it.  To my delight, she was thrilled with it and didn’t feel that it needed any more quilting.  (Not that I would have minded the FMQ practice!)  I’ve since been busy burying all the thread ends (I think I’ve found them all now – I did my best to keep them in predictable places) and hand-finishing the binding, which is almost half-way done now.  I love the look of hand-finished binding, to my eyes it really completes a quilt (also, I kind of suck at machine binding, lol!).

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Thank goodness my other cousin and my brother-in-law are very tall chaps!  😀  The lady on the left is the recipient; I brought the quilt with me on dog-sitting duty so that I can finish off the binding and add a label, then I’ll deliver it to her on my way back to Wales.  🙂

I also really want to revisit some of the also-ran layouts I came up with, especially the one with the curves and the modified log cabins.  Possibly in different colourways, though!  😉

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