Monday, 11 May 2015

In Flight Quilt-Along - Learning Lessons in Layout

Last week I was really excited- I had finally finished sewing all of my blocks for the In Flight Quilt-Along and was able to start sewing them all together to make a quilt top.

The quilt that I am making is destined for my bed. As my husband is 6' 6", we have a large bed with slightly unconventional dimensions. It measures 160cm (62 inch) wide by 210cm (82.6 inch) long. The quilt needs to have a decent overhang at the foot end so that Mr Tartankiwi doesn't get cold toes and as I am lazy and didn't prewash my fabrics, I needed to allow for fabric shrinkage (I have heard that Essex linen is quite bad for shrinking). It's going to be a big quilt!

I thought that I had a plan for the layout, but as I started sewing, I realised that it had a few problems. The layout looked balanced when laid out flat, but once it was laid on my bed, the birds in the corners disappeared and the big gaps in the centre became obvious.

Its possible that the layout would work on a quilt with smaller blocks, but the big 24 inch gaps were too distracting on a large quilt.

I folded the quilt top away and had a think and a sulk. The way that I saw it, I had a couple of options:
  • The first was to move the existing blocks around, moving the blocks away from the corners and towards the centre of the quilt.
  • The second option was to design some extra blocks to fill the gaps in.
 It took me a few days to decide, but once the decision was made to design some new blocks, the first pattern came together really quickly. I am really pleased with this thrush pattern. I plan to come up with two more patterns and then my quilt top will finally be complete. In my quilt, these three new blocks will be 18 inch in size.

Now that the first of these blocks is complete, I am really excited- I am confident that the quilt layout will work and I can't wait to finish it.

I guess that this experience is just another step in my learning about design. I never claim to be all knowing about design and am more than willing to learn from my mistakes. I hope that the late arrival of these new blocks will not throw you lot off balance.

I need to remind myself that things that look good on the computer screen don't necessarily work in real life. It is always important to consider the scale of a design and the way that the finished quilt will be used.

I will release the extra blocks in the fullness of time, I hope to find some time to work on formatting patterns later this week and then will send the pattern out to testers. As usual, I have too many ideas and not enough time to sew and release them all!


  1. Oh bummer! But I love the outcome of the extra thrush - it looks great!

  2. Quilting is hardly ever a finite process, is it?! Love your new block...what a fun excuse to design some new blocks!!

  3. Hi Juliet. I love this new bird! At first I thought you were going to make a lot of smaller birds (little starlings or fantails?!) to go in the larger spaces. But I equally love the 18" size. I am looking forward to having this new pattern - will it be part of the package? (oh, and how do we get the updates to the patterns we already bought?)


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