I was asked precisely three times if I was nuts while documenting the progress of this quilt. Afterall, who hand pieces squares unless you live in the 19th century?
To be honest, I don't even think I would have except for the crazy notion that I wanted a sample of every shape I sell in the shop. And I'd always loved the idea of patterns like this, but sewing it in rows (or sewing blocks in rows bordered by triangles to make them square), had always been the turn off for me. So when I was mulling over a quilt for my square paper pieces listing, I thought of this, or some 'Trip Around the World' variation, because it seemed like a good way to cross that long-loved quilt off my list, without the getting up and down between machine and design wall that I've come to dread so.
Interestingly, I enjoyed stitching this quilt more than many of the others I've made. Squares, as in machine sewing, are an easy shape to stitch. The absence of any Y-seams make the quilt so, enjoyably easy to wrangle while sewing the blocks into a top. Folding the seams one way, and then another, and then back again, and then back again, while stitching around each corner of a block, creates a mesmerizing rhythm that almost made me giddy. The kind of feeling you get when you discover a new magic trick, the kind you only discover by trying something a little nuts.
I settled on 1.5" squares because of the size of the prints in this stunning Les Fleurs Collection by Anna Rifle Bond for Cotton & Steel. They were the perfect in-between, where crazy 1" was at one end, and slightly to big to justify hand-stitching 2" was placed at the other. There are 625 squares in total (or two large packets, though this quilt easily lends itself to re-using templates). I used around a fat 8th of each print and a little less that 1/2 yard of Free Spirit Essential Solid in Natural. You can see all my progress shots in Instagram under the tag #LesFleursQuilt1.
I quilted through the 'sashing' in white perle, no. 8, and in diamonds in the blocks in coral embroidery thread (thanks IG followers for the idea!), and when that ran out, I used a light plum perle. The backing is a chambray (?) with sweet dobby dots that a friend picked up for me at a charity shop and I've kept in my stash for years. It feels like it was kept for this, as was the stripy navy binding, that I bought years ago especially for binding, but always felt too powerful when it came to the crunch. Not this though. I love it!
Finishing this quilt and enjoying it so makes me think it's finally time to dive into that hand-stitched Lone Star quilt I've always dreamed of but thought I was nuts for considering it. Time to dive right in and embrace the crazy.
Hello, my name is Jodi, and I'm an EPPaholic.