Monday, January 20, 2014

My First Batik Quilt

This Bali Pop precut has been in my stash for two years or more, just waiting to become a quilt...  I was scared to do anything with it because I'd never worked with batiks and I didn't know where to begin to select fabrics for borders, sashing and backing.  But finally I just dove in!

My initial plan was to do a jelly roll race quilt, but I chickened out, afraid it would be too "blah."  So then I started sewing strip sets of four, and then cut the strip sets into squares.  I got really brave with end pieces of the strip sets and made 16-patches.  (That's probably a little misleading; the blocks had 16 pieces in each, but they were far from square!)

Through lots of trial and error, I ended up with 8 blocks (each with 3 strip squares and one 16 patch), about 17" square.  You'll see that I set 5 of them on point and cut two more diagonally.  To finish out the center of square top, I cut the last block into four sections, again on the diagonal.  I used a green batik for sashing.  (Thank you, Linda at Sew Much Fun in Columbus, GA for your help selecting the fabrics!) Next came a border of gold batik.

There were still LOTS of very small scraps I couldn't bear to discard, so I paper-pieced them onto 2" wide adding machine tape to make another border.  That was really fun, and didn't take nearly as long as I imagined.  And I LOVE what it added to the quilt!  I finished off the top with an outer border of the green batik from the sashing.

This quilt has been quilted TWICE.  That's right; twice!   The first time I quilted it, I just wasn't happy with it; stitches were irregular in length and I had "eyelashes" where I took curves too quickly.  Of course, I didn't figure this out until it was finished...  I was so disappointed that I put it away, only to drag it back out this week.  I spent two days picking out the initial quilting. 

I'm happy to say that I'm quite pleased with my second attempt at quilting it, this time with a loose meander of Aurifil quilting thread in a lovely rust color.  Both solid borders have a "swirl" design quilted; I left the pieced border unquilted.  The binding is the same gold batik of the inner border.

In this photo you get a glimpse of the batik back, a beautiful multicolor of golds and greens and rusts.  I LOVE this fabric!  In fact, I have enough left to make myself a little unlined jacket!

So what did I learn from making this quilt???   LOTS!  First, if I'd ever actually use a pattern, I wouldn't spend so much time with trial and error.  Second, I have lots of work to do to come closer to a consistent 1/4" seam allowance.  This became quite evident in the so-called 16-patches.  Third, I LOVE batiks!!!  It was so crisp to sew on, and pressed just beautifully.  Best of all, there's no "wrong" side to batik, which was a blessing and ONE way I couldn't mess up!  The only downside to the batik is that the fabric is pretty pricey.  Counting the Bali Pop precut and the fabrics for borders, sashing, binding a backing, I have about $150 in fabric for this 66" square lap quilt.  And this one is actually MINE!!!