Thursday, 5 September 2013

A custom quilt for a unique young man

Hello there!
A big welcome to everyone, especially to my new followers, I hope you will enjoy the time you spend in my little corner of Blogland :-) Today I have another quilting project to share with you. This is my current Big Work In Progress which some of you will have had a sneak peak at on facebook (I know, naughty me, I should have been more restrained & waited until I'd posted here... )
The initial idea was to make a quilt for my younger son to take to uni with him, something that "was" him in the same way as the Winnie the Pooh quilt is a perfect fit for my daughter. Now I do realise they have central heating in Edinburgh, maybe it's a kind of reverse nesting instinct ? but this summer I have had a strong urge to make sure he was equipped with at least one handmade blanket & a quilt for going away! I started looking online for bold, bright designs & one thing led to another (as internet searches so often do) & I ended up here. I had never even heard of paper piecing until a few clicks before arriving on this page but once I saw this site I knew it was something I was going to have to learn! Basically paper piecing is a quilting technique which enables you to make much more intricate and accurate designs with fabric than you would otherwise be able to. It opens up a w i d e variety of possiblilities - try putting "paper piecing" into Google images & marvel at what comes up! I showed the Fandom in stitches website to my son, a big smile spread across his face, & he set to work picking the blocks he wanted for his quilt. Meanwhile I started planning how this would all go together...  
I decided on 8" blocks surrounded by 2" sashing strips (basically a border round each block like a frame). By arranging them in 5 rows by 7 rows I will need 35 blocks in total for this quilt. I started looking out fabric...
Eventually the time came when I knew I would have to stop procrastinating take a deep breath & try making one of the blocks to see if I could wrap my head around this paper piecing thing, so I printed a couple of the simpler looking patterns out & got out my damaged/ marked practise fabrics. In the end I found it really is one of those things that is easier to actually do than to explain! Two big things I learnt pretty quickly - you want to use a really short stitch length in order to make removing the paper easier (around 15-20 stitches per inch), & pins are helpful for joining sections of a design together but not for holding the small pieces of fabric in place as you build up each section - Pritt stick is your best buddy for that! After completing two practise blocks I felt ready to cut into some of the actual fabric I wanted to use for this quilt -would you like to see? OK then....
Taadah!! One Gandalf from Lord of The Rings! (The green is a brighter jade than this photo shows, I have fiddled with the camera but am still having issues with accurately capturing some of the colors...) 
So after a successful Gandalf I decided to try my hand at some of the Harry Potter blocks on my request list... 
The Hogwart's Crest (again, that green hasn't come out right)... 
One cauldron for Potions Class... 
One Sorting Hat (more camera issues with the background fabric, grrr) 
One Hogwart's Castle...
...and one Fawkes the phoenix. 
Next it was time to try a couple of video game themed blocks. These are from a game called Legend of Zelda that my son played a lot at one time. Despite being a much simpler block this one gave me more problems than any of the others up to this point, & despite unpicking & re sewing the central join (which is a nightmare when using such a tiny stitch length!) it still doesn't meet up right on the front (the back looks perfect of course!). I think this is to do with the way the pattern printed out when I had enlarged the scale from the original 5" block to an 8" block? (Although all the Harry Potter ones were similarly enlarged with the help of a handy table for adjusting the scale of the patterns here).  Anyways this is apparently called a Triforce symbol...
This is also from Legend of Zelda (although I it could equally well be a pirates treasure chest)... 
Back to the films again for the only Star Wars square my son chose...
This is the droid we were looking for (sorry, couldn't resist)...
By now I felt a lot more confident & ready to tackle the biggest block on my list - The Halls of Khazad Dum from Lord of The Rings...
This is a real whopper of a block, it's 8" high like the rest of them but 26 3/4" long! It will take the space of three blocks in one of the rows in our quilt. By this point my son & I decided that I need a longer deadline so I am now aiming to have this quilt finished for him for Christmas (I am trusting he won't freeze in his student accomodation before then ;-) ). There are a lot of helpful resources for learning all about paper piecing, but in addition to the help page on Fandom in Stitches I think this is a good place to start if you fancy giving this a go yourself? And I would heartily recommend being brave & trying it! If you do then please get in touch - I would love to see/ hear how you get on :-) I hope to be back with some cross stitching & crochet news soon - in the meantime I hope you have the opportunity to spend some creative hours in these last days of summer :-)



8 comments:

  1. We're on a theme here but I love your work on the Harry Potter design & the R2D2 :)

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    1. Thanks Mii! I'm having a lot of fun with this project now - can you tell? Have a great weekend! Helen

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  2. My mama is just the best <3 Can't be put into words.

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    1. Better than the crayons then? XOXOX Bubble

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  3. This is just stunning (and secretly I wish I had a quilt like this hehe) love all the blocks. :)

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    1. Thanks Emma! Isn't it great how easy it is to learn new techniques with the internet? Of course it does mean the "to make" list grows ever longer ;-) Have a great weekend, Helen

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  4. Ok, you already know this but I'll tell ya again ^_^ Your quilt is amaaaaazing! So much work and the blocks you have done are fantastic. i love them all but if I was tied up with a big spider hanging over me being threatened and forced to pick a fave!! I'd have to say the Halls of Khazad Dum are simply stunning!
    Love it ^_^
    XOX

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    1. Awww, thanks Steph ;-) I would never tie you up & threaten you with a spider but I'm glad you like the Halls block - that one really tried me lol! Have a lovely weekend :-)
      XOX

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