Friday, August 21, 2020

Ice Cream Soda Quilt - Finished at Last

I was NOT going to make an Ice Cream Soda Quilt! I had planned to only sew two blocks with Jodi's trial sample offer back in January 2017. This new English Paper Piecing (EPP) design would be a nice holiday diversion to hand stitch and a chance to see first hand what Jodi's recycled paper pieces (Tales of Cloth) were like.

These two blocks above were soon completed and only enticed me to make more! The creative possibilities of fabric choice and intricate fussy cutting made this design very appealing. I also had lots of fun taking photos of many individual blocks along the way. Each block was told its own story and was a satisfying mini-finish as the months passed in 2017 (several can be found in my blogposts during 2017). 

The end of 2017 saw the unexpected passing of my Mother-in-Love, which set of a cascade of events and life changes. Very little sewing occurred during the following 12 months as most of my time and energy was required to deal with life's essentials.

A few new blocks were added in 2019 and I made some further progress in adding more setting/joining pieces. In 2017 I realised my blocks looked better with more spacing than in Jodi's original pattern. I experimented with various options for setting fabric and shapes, eventually choosing a mid-grey solid and using one inch hexagons combined with a truncated triangle shape which I self-drafted and cut from copy paper (Jodi sometimes has this shape in her shop).

Being unsure how large my quilt would become, I purchased my individual shapes (2 inch Crowns, 1 inch 6 point diamonds and 1 inch Kites) from Jodi's shop as I needed them. To assist with fussy cutting I cut my own thin plastic templates. As I used a Sewline glue pen, most of these paper shapes are still usable for any future projects. I prefer to use Straw Needles, size 11, for EPP and  whatever thread I have on hand (Gutermann cotton, polyester or Extra Fine polyester) whichever is the closest match in colour to the darker fabric I am stitching.

It was fun stitching a last block this year using fabric from Sue's Dancing Waters Quilt.

In April I spread out my completed blocks to realise I now had more than enough for a decent size quilt. After fiddling with my layout and removing any blocks which didn't visually fit, it was time to start stitching. During our Easter homeschool holiday break I worked hard sewing the blocks into rows which were then stitched together with the goal of having this quilt ready for hand quilting in our cooler mid-year months. This quilt has fewer blocks than Jodi's original and I didn't sew any half blocks, instead opting to have more flexibility when arranging my blocks, trimming off the excess along the top and bottom once my stitching was complete. 

The papers were removed, the quilt panel was trimmed square before I added borders, again varying from Jodi's pattern. 

After some trial and error I settled on hand quilting using Gutermann Sulky 12 wt threads - white (1001) for outlining each of the two inner stars in every block, and a royal blue to outline the edges of each block. I found an Embroidery needle worked best for me - whichever size is finest but with an eye large enough to thread easily (I use a packet which contains sizes 5 - 10 Embroidery needles). With so many folded seams to pass through and corners to turn, I found the  stab method most effective, one half stitch at a time. I tried using a hoop early on but mostly quilted without it due to comfort and personal preference. The hand quilting took quite some time but I really like how it has highlighted each block as well as pulling the design together. Royal blue/navy is the colour of the central block, border, binding, backing and outer quilting.

The print used in the border, as well as the binding, are a favourite organic fabric, 'Sashiko Trees' or Pomegranates, from an older Cloud 9 collection named Moody Blues. The same fabric features in the very centre block. The backing fabric is also from the Moody Blues collection, one I had enough of on hand, it is nice and soft and perfectly camouflages my imperfect hand quilting on the back.

The only fabric purchased specifically for this quilt is the grey solid, which is a cheap, but hopefully durable, Prima Homespun, easily accessible from Spotlight (my only local source of solid fabrics). This quilt design has been wonderful for featuring favourite fabrics from previous quilts and sewing projects as only a small quantity of each is needed.

It was finally finished! Or was it..... As I was taking these whole-quilt photos a couple of weeks ago, I noticed the edges were a little bit wavy. I called it a finish and tucked it away for a week before I decided I really should add one last row of hand quilting, just inside the binding, which I completed last weekend. This extra line of quilting has done the trick and it now sits beautifully flat and even. 

Quilt Details
Ice Cream Soda Quilt
Block designed by Jodi Godfrey of Tales of Cloth
Setting and border design my own
Finished quilt measures 65 inches x 82 inches
165cm x 208cm
Started: January 2017
Finished: August 2020
Cotton fabrics, many are organic
Hobbs Organic cotton batting

* You can find regular updates on my sewing and every day life on Instagram: Piecesofcontentment or follow the link from the small blue camera icon in the right hand column

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