Simple and Sophisticated?

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Well that was my intention…. I’m not entirely sure that has been achieved. Perhaps quilts  lend themselves to looking more homely than sophisticated? Discuss (it’s exam season!)

What I was aiming for was a modern baby quilt for a friend who has just had another grandchild. Whether the quilt stays  at Grandma’s for visits or is handed to the new parents is up to them.

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Its the grey background I’m not so sure about. It just looks a bit drab to me.  The pinks prints are all Amy Sinibaldi designs mostly from her most recent collection Doll House.

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Now these are lovely and I think these stylish prints perfect for a baby girl. This is the first girl in the family for a couple of generations so pink seemed obvious. I remember  being so thrilled to have a baby girl after two boys, one of which had only born 5 minutes earlier, and to celebrate this she wore pink exclusively for years!! Of course it’s taken until she is 15 years for her to face wearing pink again! And incidentally although she is wearing a NYC top she’s very much in the garden of a middle England house and of course is wearing surgically attached ear phones.

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But back to the grey it just maybe I’m a cream/off white sort of person but I thought I’d give leaving my comfort zone a go….

Grey seems to be hugely popular amongst my friends when they redecorate. A friend has just had to remodel their new to them house. You know, new house beautifully presented by previous owners but as you peel back that superficial outer layer you find all sorts of fundamental problems. They’ve become inured to the typical tradesmen comments of ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before…’. Anyway they’ve gone for a palette of greys and it looks fab; really modern and fresh. But colour aside this quilt was just what I needed. A simple straightforward bit of mindless chained pieced sewing…..

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My mum had recently bought got me Bonnie Hunter’s Essential Triangle Tool. I enjoy Bonnie’s daily blog and she promotes this tool regularly and from the demo she did on YouTube it did seem to be a useful time saving tool.

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And this is a woman who needs to save time! Bonnie is a very talented quilting phenomenon, she is prolific and hugely popular. She writes books, designs quilts and travels across the US running workshops with suitcases of quilts for her trunk shows. I have traveled a lot for work over the years and perfected the art of carry on luggage only but with so many checked in heavy bags it must be hard work.

Bonnie’s quilts are usually scrappy and made up of triangles/square/flying geese etc blocks with a more traditional flavour than mine. She runs a mystery quilt each year where you don’t know what the final design is but the next step of instructions are given on a weekly basis. I’ve never done one but the instructions are staggering, not in their complexity, but quantity. So for example complete 250 flying geese units or whatever. And people follow with almost religious  fervour! But now I’ve used this tool and Bonnie’s techniques I am beginning to understand their amazing productivity. This tool and technique  are very effective and saves a lot of time. I’m sure there are others that do the job just as well but it worked for me.

I think the trick is that you are cutting from strips of fabric. Cutting is not my favourite part of the process and if you are cutting from small individual scraps it takes time. But cutting from strips of fabric which have already been paired makes it sooo quick. And then because they are in pairs they are a doddle to chain piece. You iron them en bloc and then by magic you have, an hour or so later, 25 finished  blocks!  You can also do half square triangles and flying geese. Now I accept quilting isn’t a race to the finish but I do like efficiency rather than tedious processes.

The only criticism is that the ruler doesn’t have  1/2” increments so I actually wanted a finished 4.5” hourglass block but it only makes a 4” or 5” block. Obviously it’s not beyond the wit of man, or woman in this case, to use a piece of washi tape to mark off a half increment.

I also tried Bonnie’s technique of webbing when you come to assemble the entire  quilt. She explains the technique on her blog but essentially it’s where you chain piece everything and you end up with the blocks all connected by hanging threads. I’m sure she’s right that it is quicker but I just need practice.

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This quilt is not going to go down as one of my favourites and I shall be rushing back to my comfort zone of off white.  But I do love the back, another Amy Sinibaldi design, rushed to me in under 24 hours by the ever efficient Saira. That’s the benefit of a quilt – its two sided!

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Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation

8 thoughts on “Simple and Sophisticated?

  1. I think it’s very pretty. I went through a grey phase and still have a lot in my stash but you’ve selected a very light grey and I think it works very well.

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  2. I love the dollhouse fabrics and they work well with the grey ..but I’m with you the quilts that immediately make me happy when I see them are generally white background.. my swoon quilt with bright pinks, greens and lilacs .. the baby quilt is lovely though and I’m interested to know which pattern you used as triangles have generally been something I avoided and I need to conquer !!

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  3. It’s nice to hear what worked for you in this qyilt. There are many different greys and I like a blue grey but of course since pink is a warm colour you need something to complement. Do you have a colour card for solids? It can help when ordering online (or visiting fabric stores with artificial lights). I usually do less than the full quilt for Bonnie mysteries–one quarter is usually a nice baby quilt.

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  4. In some light it looks like duck egg blue which I like a lot. But I am very fussy about my greys. I think this quilt looks a bit muted and vintage and that will appeal to lots of people. Hopefully the new grandparents! I do find your posts so interesting. Thank you.

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  5. Pingback: Fold up pouch – vive la difference | The Lilac Cat

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