Saturday, April 20, 2013

Triangle Quilt (making it hard on myself to quit)

I'm going to make Dear Boy a quilt. And I'd really like to finish it by the time he shifts out of his baby sized cot and goes into a big boy single bed (a twin for those not playing in Australia). So I'm making a full-on single bed sized quilt. And, holy-moley, that scares the hell out of me. So I'm declaring myself here to help give me that extra push to make it happen. It's a really big, long-term project and probably one I should have a sewing machine for but I'll start it without one and see how I go. Who knows - this could turn into a 'Lilybett learns to use a sewing machine' series.

I've chosen to use this set of Lizzie House 'Constellations' fabrics. I wanted something a little grown-up but still nice and playful. I'd been looking at space-themed fabric for a while but wasn't that impressed with the cartoon-y spaceships and aliens and robots. The black fabric can be a little difficult to manage but I really wanted a darker-than-average quilt for Dear Boy.

Choosing a pattern has been difficult. I played around with the plain square patchwork pattern that I used for my sampler quilt as well as a square pattern with borders but it just didn't work well. After finding My Poppet's Triangle Quilt-a-long series, I was sold. It's more complex than squares but I like how the triangles look. At first I was considering something like these two patterns below, which I found via pinterest. I particularly liked how the quilt on the left (by Strandz via Flickr) made the dark fabric work. The other (by Mrs Schmenkman Quilts) appealled to me by setting the darker blues in one direction while the lighter greens pointed in the other direction.
Photo credits in links above

My own versions of these patterns were a little too uniform: this was probably because I used plain colours for drawing in the patterns rather than emulating the fabric patterns but still wasn't so fond of it. I tried random placement rather than a pattern that looked even worse. I'm fairly sure I'd need more fabrics to make that work. My optimal pattern would have been a colour gradient with randomised rather than patterned gradation but again, with the patterned fabrics it didn't look as awesome as I'd hoped (my biggest little brother has requested one of those, though, so I may be on the lookout for some plain fabrics soon). Using the triangle grid from My Poppet, I played around with those themes before hitting on the idea of hexagons. Do admire my awesome colouring-in skills.

Lovely Husband is a fan of hexagons (most practical packing shape, don'tcha know?). With hexagons, I can quilt in triangles but still hit on the effect I was after of 'planets' in space. The free pattern using the Constellations material over at Andover Fabrics had this theme but was created using appliqued circles. And I can't applique or sew circles. Hexagons are close.

I'm not using either of these exact hexagon patterns, but a compromise between the two. Each of the coloured 'planets' will have a ring of black around around it (which forms a larger hexagon), rather than being separated by hexagons of black or just the hourglass triangles (which formed the outlined of a star). That's all confused but hopefully it'll still look good. It means I can fit in extra coloured hexagons but still have a black background; the pattern is slightly more complex in that the planets don't sit in straight rows, but I think that's going to work well if I can keep it all straight and lined up properly. There'll a picture to come in the next post.

So next up is measuring and cutting, which is daunting. I'll keep repeating the 'measure twice, cut once' mantra over and over so I don't ruin my fabric. This might take me a while.

Have you ever tried a large scale project like this? Any tips?

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