Saturday, July 31, 2010

they're fraternal

I have four nieces, and they all have birthdays within a month of each other. This year, the two littlest ones both turn 4, so I set out to make twin doll quilts. Same materials + different design = fraternal.

Aren't they lovely? The finished size is 22" x 26” and I had fun experimenting a bit with two options using the same fabric.

For the quilt tops, the fabric requirements are less than 1 honey bun and about a half-yard of kona white -- combined. Here's how they came together.

I started with this one.

I picked 30 strips from a Soiree honeybun and organized them in the color flow I wanted. In this case, I made a sort of rainbow.

Next, I _folded_ the pattern fabric to the desired length (between 7 and 16 inches in this case) and messed with the whole thing some more.

When everything was set, I cut TWO pattern strips based on the folded length. I put one set of strips aside for Quilt #2, and kept the other set handy for this one.

Then, knowing that I wanted the quilt to be 22" wide, I subtracted the pattern strip length from 25 (for seam allowance and leeway to square up later), divided that number by 2, and then cut two, 1-1/2"-wide strips of white that length -- one for each side of the center stripe. For example: if my colored strip was 7", I cut two 9" white pieces, because 25-7 =18/2=9). 

Ultimately, I ended up making a little cheat sheet for the cutting so I could go a little faster.
From here, I sewed everything together, pressing all seams to the side.
Now on to the other quilt.

For this one, I arranged the strips more haphazard. The sashing and assembly technique is basically the same as the center-strip quilt, but you only need to cut one piece of white (obviously).

When it came time to do the quilting, I knew immediately that I wanted to try freeform straight lines. I'm totally Type A, so the idea of doing anything completely freeform gives me the heebies. What's a girl like me to do? Make a plan for freeform quilting, of course. Here's how I handled it:

I marked a chalk line every 6 inches and stitched over those first. Then I freelanced everything in between. The interval marks helped keep my freelancing from getting off track, but it's still got good "movement." I had a hard time with the stitches at first (kept skipping), but fixed it by adjusting my stitch length slightly bigger. I had to switch the needle twice, too, because I used basting spray instead of pins on these little guys.

The lines are 1/4 to 1/2" apart, which worked just fine on these doll quilts (24 x 30). I'd probably go a bit wider on a bigger quilt. I knocked these out in an hour each but it would take FORever on a big quilt.

All told, it took me about 6 hours to make both quilt tops. When you get to the point where you've got all of your sashing strips cut and laid out I HIGHLY recommend doing all the sewing for each quilt top in one sitting. I tried to break for lunch at one point and my brain went soggy.

The verdict? You tell me.

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