Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tiny Tiles (Wedding) Quilt

This quilt was, quite literally, a labor of love. My dear friends Pete and Georgia got married over Memorial Day weekend, and I was so happy to make the trip back to the UK for the wedding—a truly delightful community experience that was a testament to the open, collaborative way they live their lives. These two individuals are just bursting with creative energy, and I knew that the best way for me to honor them was to make something for them.
I had been enamored of the Purl Soho Tiny Tiles Quilt for quite some time, longingly admiring the simple but sophisticated design on Pinterest and many iterations on Instagram. When my lovely friends got engaged last summer, I began planning this project (excellent procrastination from writing my dissertation!). I had the true joy to live with Georgia while I lived in London, so I sneakily documented her bedding to decide on a color palette. When I found this Cloud 9 poppy-patterned fabric, I knew it was a match made in heaven.

I waited to properly start working on it until I was back in the states in the winter, so I didn't have to squeeze a ton of fabric into my already-bulging suitcases, but dove straight into it once I was back. It seems quite fitting that this project was a bit of a lifeline when I was unemployed, bored and frustrated. It was as if my friends were taking care of me, keeping me grounded and reminding me of the excellent people and gifts in my life when things got hard.
My parents have this enormous foam board, which they purchased when we collaborated on a wedding quilt for my eldest brother and my favorite now-sister-in-law. I think they got it at a hardware store and covered it with a flannel top sheet, which allows the quilt blocks to lightly stick—though I did pin them as well once I started sewing blocks together. I highly recommend using this type of tool for planning your quilt if you're a tactile and visual person like me as it gives you a chance to see the quilt in full and move blocks around to get that random-but-not-quite look. The little purple sticky notes at the top are numbering the rows so I don't lose track of where they belong, and marked the direction that I was ironing the seams allowances since I alternated direction per Purl Soho's (detailed, super helpful!) instructions

My cutting certainly could have been more precise, and my "tiles" are often not the most square, but I think it gives the quilt character and makes it clear it was made by a real human. At least, that's what I'm telling myself to quell my inner perfectionist!
This is the second quilt that I actually did the quilting of the layers (quilters of the internet: how do you distinguish between quilting the top and quilting the layers together?), the other two I've made I've had professionally quilted with long arm machines. The first I did, a quilt for my best friend to celebrate our 10 year "friendiversary," my desk was too wobbly to withstand the weight, so I did it all on the floor and absolutely destroyed my back hunching over the machine. 0/10, do not recommend. For this one, I had to get super creative with my ironing board as a desk extension because I do not really have the space to properly lay out the quilt and I was using my regular sewing machine, but it was imperative that I could sit at a real chair. I still found this part very physically demanding, pulling the heavy quilt through the machine while trying to make sure it doesn't weigh down the other side. I could only do 45 minutes to an hour at a time before my arms became jelly. If anyone has tips or tricks for this part, I am all ears!

Again, it's far from perfect—I struggled to adjust the tension so some rows are prickly where the needle thread was a bit too tight. It was really inconsistent row to row so I'm not sure I could've prevented this, and I certainly didn't mind enough to pick out full rows of stitching. Some stitching lines are also not particularly straight, as I pulled the heavy quilt sandwich around and it wiggled a bit—again, trying to quell my inner perfectionist and remember how unique this quilt is.

It was so well received. The bride exclaimed "you made us an heirloom!" and both bride and groom really enjoyed getting to know each square, each color combination. Their wedding was basically a festival, with everyone camping out in the Yorkshire Dales, and the couple took the quilt to bed the same night they received it, over their sleeping bags—they told me they loved waking up to such a "precious," homey gift in their little tent. I think it was the perfect gift for some truly amazing people.

Quilt Back: Cloud 9 "Morning Song" in "Breezy Floral Blue"
Quilt Top: Kona Cotton "White" and:
1. Nicole Miller Solid Tencel in Grape Mist
2. Kona Cotton "Tangerine"
3. An unlabeled pale blue, cloud printed fabric from my local quilt shop
4. Cloud 9 "Coral Cirrus"
5. Keepsake Calico "Burlap Texture" in Navy
6. Kona Cotton "Smoke"

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rachel I happened to land on your site and found myself muttering "yes, yes and yes" again. I too love the tiny tiles pattern. So very versatile. I made whole collections in various colourways. Everything you did was sheer genious considering the space and machinery you had on offer. What a good job, and what excellent joice of fabric. Your friends surely were over the moon.
    Now to your question: This is the second quilt that I actually did the quilting of the layers (quilters of the internet: how do you distinguish between quilting the top and quilting the layers together? I learnt quilting 40 years ago in Ireland and we pieced the top, then sandwiched the 3 layers in order to quilt the whole thing. I hope this makes sense to you. Love Ursula


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