The first thing I do to begin to make my Play quilt is to draw a quick sketch of what I have in mind. Very quick, I might add, probably 5 to 10 minutes. Nothing fancy, just the gleam of an idea.
I then gather together my fabric scraps and pull out a small selection of colours that I feel I would like to use. I play around with my colours and contrasts until I am happy with my choice. Nothing is set in stone. I just lay them out together until I am happy with the mix. For this quilt, I knew I wanted a red check tablecloth as my starting point and then built up colours around it.
Now I begin to sew my quilt from my centre focal point (the tablecloth) outwards and here you will see photos in stages of how I continue to build my quilt around this centre starting point.
To begin with, I have cut the shape for my tablecloth and then sewed a strip to three of the sides. Colour choices for these strips are made as I progress and purely chosen as I go, by what I feel gives a pleasing contrast. Strips are not cut any specific width, the only criteria being that they are cut straight. I press each strip with the iron before I proceed to the next strip.
For my next strip, I decided that I would piece together some colours first. You will notice that before adding this strip to the top, I have cut down my pieced block. I have trimmed it down with a nice angle. I do like to use angles! I don’t want my strips to look too uniform.
I have then sewn this pieced strip to the top of my block.
Then I have added another strip.
Now, I am happy with this so far, but then I refer to my sketch and decide I need to start some piecing on the sides. I haven’t much idea at this stage as to what colours I want to use next, so I lay out a few fabrics either side of my block and play around with them until I feel the colours work.
Once, I have a further feel for my colours and am happy with my choice I then continue to add strips to one side of the quilt block. Sometimes skinny strips, sometimes wider strips, (never measured) and after adding each strip I press and then rotary cut making sure I keep cutting some crazy angles.
Now (referring to my design sketch again), let’s add a strip to the left side and bottom. Ooohhh and here we need a curved seam on the bottom strip. I like to add a couple of curves into my quilt.
I then continue to add more strips to the block, each time referring to my sketch for guidance. I always press each pieced strip and then rotary cut the last piece to my desired angle before adding the next strip. I sometimes piece together a strip of colours first, to use as a strip. I sometimes add a gentle curve here and there. But I progress thus until I have completed my Play Quilt design.
You will notice that my final pieced strips on each side are very large (wide). This is because I want to make my Play Quilt into a picture and it will be wrapped around a canvas which is 2″ deep, so I need extra fabric on the edges.
I now appliqué the shapes – mug, chimney and hearts – to the block.
Finally I add wadding to the back and quilt through the block adding decorative stitches often with variegated threads. I also add a few buttons.
Here are some close ups of my quilting stitches.
Et voilà! You have the finished Play Quilt.