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08/04/2016

Elma Family Finished Handmade Photography Quilting Sewing Work in Progress

A finished fishing net {handmade}

08/04/2016

The blessing and curse of blogging is that you tend to have an exact and rather precisely dated record of things. And so it is that I know that I first started making my fishing net quilt in March. Of 2015. Yes my friends, such is the life of a mother of three with lots of other hobbies that it’s taken me a whole year and a bit to make a quilt top.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

I think I started with energy, then did the maths on just how many triangles I was going to have to cut out (600 and something, yes really) and then I stalled, and tucked it all away in my project box.

I had a little sewing flurry in the autumn and I could start to see how it was going to come together but then the Christmas making started up and I stalled again.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

But starting the Sugarblock Block of the Month club reminded me just how much I love making the big projects, and how all you need to do is break things down piece by piece. And so I picked it up again and sewed and sewed, and then spent whole evenings listening to podcasts and ironing seams, and when we went north for the Easter weekend I had a box full of little square blocks and an eye on my parents-in-law’s lounge floor, it being much bigger and less covered in Duplo than mine!

H and I sat down one morning and laid it all out completely randomly, made a few tweaks and then I stacked up each row, pinned it together and labelled everything with post-it notes, and when I got home I started to sew.

First the blocks into rows and then the rows into sections and then finally there was just one seam to go and it was finished, and I have a quilt top.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

And more importantly, a quilt top that I love. This is the first time I’ve ever really ‘designed’ a quilt rather than followed a pattern. I’m not sure how much you can really call it designing when it was mostly using the Tri-Recs ruler and sewing it all together but it was my vision and now it’s my reality.

The fabric is Dan Stiles ‘Marine’ line (from Birch Fabrics) that I first saw advertised as a ‘coming soon’ line on Fabricworm, set an alert for, and ordered the fat quarter bundle as soon as it landed. It is everything I love; the sea, whales, dolphins, mini yellow submarines and blue and gold is one of my favourite colour combinations of all time. The two shades of Kona cotton (Mediterranean and Ultramarine I think) were bought with a different plan in mind, but the more I thought about it, the clearer I was in my mind; this quilt was going to be a highly stylised version of a fishing net, with the Kona for the net and pretty triangles at the centre.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

The two blues of the triangles give it a bit more depth than a single solid would, and there’s not rhyme or reason to the placement; I matched triangles quite randomly and laid them out however the patterned triangles looked best and let the blues fall where they may.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

Not knowing exactly the dimensions I was aiming for means that I’ve got a few blocks leftover either to piece into the back or to play around with while I work out the quilting pattern. When we were laying it out I started with what I thought I could cope with as the minimum width and then just kept adding rows and columns until we ran out of enough blocks for another row and ran out of carpet to put it on.  The result is that it’s huge. Properly huge.  Usually I peg my quilts to the fence or the washing line to photograph them but with this one the only way to get the bottom of it off the ground and out of the mud was to enlist H and Elma as quilt holders.  H is 6’1″ and has nice long arms – this is going to be a quilt to snuggle the whole family.

Space for the Butterflies - The Fishing Net Quilt Top - made with the Tri-Recs tool and  Dan Stiles Marine fabric for Birch Fabrics

It’s a slightly strange feeling to have finished. This has been the work in progress sat on the back of my desk for a whole year, which means that it feels like I’ve been working on it forever, and so if I think about sewing now I find I’m automatically thinking in triangles.  But fear not; the latest instalment for the Sugar Block Club arrived in my inbox last Friday so I have a couple of blocks to build, and an increasingly solid idea about the next plan!

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On

And I promise this is the last time of asking – if you enjoy seeing what I make, or reading about the crazy adventures of our little family, I would truly love a nomination in the MADs and the BiBs blogging awards for writer, craft, or family/school days (all the details are here – short version: anyone can vote, you don’t have to blog or be in the UK and I will be eternally grateful if you do x).